Wildfires are just that—wild. They often seem to be born of rebellion and rage, in rebellion. The fires of God’s glory are just the opposite. They are contained fire. They defy chemistry. They don’t rage; they sit! The fire of the burning bush had no interest in leaping anywhere. It was a fire of specificity—of definition.
The fires of Elijah’s horse and chariot framed the horse and chariot with luster brighter than gold—bent on arriving and departing with it—flying on its edges.
As described in the Book of Revelation, God Himself is back-lit with fire. He uses the most brilliant physical agent He can muster to express Himself. He grabs from the spectrum of light what He so chooses and then furls that light around Himself in a contained but alive fire.
The tongues of fire that took up momentary positions on the apostles’ heads at Pentecost scorched nothing.
The mission of Hanukkah’s menorah fire was to just keep burning, without enlargement. Contained. Satisfied.
And then we have bolts of fire that God uses to zap His altars. For centuries, men built altars to God, hoping that He would ignite them with the fire of His approval. Man built, and waited. Not only Elijah, but also Cain and Abel, Job, Noah, Manoah (Gideon’s father) and Abraham looked for the fire of God. They prepared wood for the fire, yes, but God was its spark. Fire, its benediction.
And then we have the glorious pillar of fire that marches as a well-heeled soldier through the camp for 40 years, never once causing any fear. The ever near lamp post of God: “He is a light unto my feet and a lamp unto my way.”
Contained fire. Most of His saints have only seen it through the eyes of Scripture. The Almighty God, on the other hand, thinks nothing of habitually living in it, even on ordinary days. Throughout history He baptizes His greatest acts with an obedient fire. What unbridled joy He must have at those moments, when He wields a blaze of “glory-fire” for technological effect for the surprise of man. Once more we see that God speaks using everything, stops at nothing, to love and delight His mankind.