Abide the Fire

Here is a commandment given by Eleazar.  The Midianites wanted to destroy the children of Israel.  The Lord told them they would fight meeting the challenge pushed on them by Midian.  We too were once adversaries of Christians and the church.  I remember carrying on as a teenager.  There would be a carload of us boys and we’d turn the radio from the music to a preacher and then argue with the preacher.  He was telling the truth but we made fools of ourselves in the car.  All of us but one is now serving the Lord.

The children of Israel had to meet the challenge.  To get to the Promised Land they had to go through Midian.  We have to abide the fire as we go through life on our way to heaven.

Numbers 31: 21 And Eleazar the priest said unto the men of war which went to the battle, This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord commanded Moses;22 Only the gold, and the silver, the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead,23 Everything that may abide the fire, ye shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of separation: and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make go through the water.24 And ye shall wash your clothes on the seventh day, and ye shall be clean, and afterward ye shall come into the camp.

These instructions aren’t understandable in an average way.  If we place ourselves in the camp we see the battle had to go on.  Midian declared the war and Israel had to meet it but on God’s terms.  We must live that way.  We find ourselves tested and tried by people as well as issues of life.  We have to know how to lean on and access the Lord.  It must be done on an individual basis.  That’s when the battle gets the toughest.  We’re not at church when they come but in our daily lives.  We wonder how we’ll get by.  There isn’t enough money for the bills.  It seems like the doctor always finds something else wrong.  We’re not in heaven yet.  This is the devil’s battleground.  We have to face the challenge.

Israel met the challenge and took captives of the women and children.  They also took other items including the metals.  They were all valuable in their own way, but the Lord only wanted certain types of it.  While they were still outside the camp Eleazar told them they had to do through it all.  They wanted to parade it around the camp but God wouldn’t accept it all.  They were told to separate it.  The Lord wanted only the best taken inside the camp.  The Lord deserves our best each day.  God knew the contents of each of the objects they had taken from Midian.  Some were barely covered with gold having a lesser metal underneath.  We need to be genuine through and through.  The troubles of life can get to us and weaken our faith if we let it blend into our life.  Tin serves a purpose on a roof but I don’t want it as the foundation of my house.

Eleazar said to put all the items in the fire and it would separate the metals.  This is why God allows trials and challenges.  Being a Christian is almost a crime now days.  We’ve yet to be persecuted like people in other countries.  We’ve yet to suffer physically—to the blood—as some have, but we experience the trials.  When it gets really bad, it will get bad fast.  Look at the down turn the world has taken just since the year 2,000.  We’ve seen a decline in attendance in most fundamental churches.  The screws will get turned tighter.  The fire will get hotter.  The water will get deeper.

We must be solid through and through, gold all the way through, silver all the way through.  Only when we’re totally Gods—inside and out—will we pass through the fire.  How much can you stand before you melt down?  You can withstand if you get the tin out.  Isaiah 1:25 says and I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.  I had read that before and was saying sin instead of tin.  I saw that the other day and thought TIN—what does that mean?  This is it.  Only through trials will the weak stuff be melted away.  Tin gives.  It should be our daily prayer for the Lord to take the tin away.  It eventually rusts.  Things of this world wax old and rust.  We must be solid.  The only way to abide the fire is to have the dross taken away.  Sometimes it takes the challenges.  It all works for our spiritual good.  Other metals evaporate in the fire but gold and silver melt and reform.  I can’t remold myself; only God can do that.

Welcome the challenge.  It will make us more genuine and closer to the Lord.  When it’s all done we’ll get to go inside the camp.  Let it go.  Don’t hold onto the iron temper or the brassiness.  Let go of the tin.  God wants us to be gold and silver.

We serve a genuine God worthy of a genuine Christian life on our part.  We can stand.  When the devil is in the fire, we will abide the fire and be all right.  Isaiah 43:2 says when thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.  How?  Be solid through and through.  Other metals ignite under intense heat but not gold and silver.  Put on the whole armor of God and abide the fire.

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