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A Consuming Fire

Deuteronomy 4:24 (ESV) — For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.


One time at a family gathering when I was a child, I caught my sweater on fire. I was leaning over a candle to grab something and did not realize my sweater went up in flames. Within a few seconds I felt the intense pain of the burn on my arm and looked at the sleeve engulfed in flames. I quickly started swatting at the sleeve with my other hand. It took a few seconds, but I was able to extinguish the fire. My sleeve had a hole. The fire consumed the material until it was gone, then burned into my arm.


I was not seriously injured in the incident. It hurt, but we put some ointment on it and moved on. But I’ve never forgotten the event and I’m cautious around candles now. 

This passage today tells us something about the nature and character of God. He is like the flame of that candle. He consumes anything in His path. And particularly, this passage tells us that His consuming nature is a picture of His jealousy. We don’t recommend that our children be jealous. It is not a character trait we want to pervade their lives. But there is a healthy jealousy. There is a jealousy a husband has for his wife. There is a jealousy a wife has for her husband. Neither wants the other flirting with another person. Both are right to be protective. 


God is jealous. This is not a fault in God or a defect in His character. His jealousy is righteous. He does not have any desire or willingness to share us with anyone else or anything. He abhors our idolatry and prostitution of our heart to things that are not Him. He loathes our quickness to trust in people and power instead of Him. His jealousy is grounded in His love for us as our Father. We belong to Him. 


Turn from your sins today. God does not endorse them, nor does He wink at them in indifference. He is jealous for our obedience and affections. He is jealous for your time. Spend some time in Scripture reading and prayer, seeking His face. He is jealous for your heart.

Reflection & Journal:

- Why do we struggle with the idea of God being jealous? 

- How is jealousy in God a righteous attribute and not sinful?

- What are ways the jealousy of God informs how we live?

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