I blame it on the Rockford files although my fascination with fire started much earlier. But on the promo for that show a malataf cocktail was thrown and exploded in the back of some old car. It was exciting. Fringe exciting. My young mind thought, “I can do that. I can be in control of the damage!”
Fire never works that way. Just listen to the stories about campfires, discarded cigerattes, careless matches. They seem to always end with, “I thought it was out.” Never is.
Fire and Embers. The hot coals left after the fire has used all the fuel it can to produce a raging flame. Raw heat just looking for something else to consume.
There is a sentence I used to really like for the wrong reasons. “Pray for your enemies and by doing so you will heap burning coals on their head.” That is the image I like to see when my enemies are winning. You can count on me to pray if hot coals will be the result!
I’d missed the point I think of this way of living. Just before that it talks about “vengeance belonging only to the Lord.” So how do these things work together?
I love the Old Testament. Lots of stories. And lots of Fire and Embers. Problem is the Fire usually represents the presence of God and the Embers represent something being offered to God for Him to take care of, however He chooses. Jonah waited for fire to consume Ninevah…Didn’t happen. But repentance did. I am afraid I might have been like Jonah. Angry that God’s fire didn’t reduce his enemies to embers and ashes.
So what to do about enemies?
First, do like we are told. Pray for them. Offer them up to God as a “burnt offering,” symbolic of course, and by doing so the whole “burning coals” imagery can really take place. A great thing about a real burnt offering in the Old Testament world was it could never be taken back! If I’m really offering up my enemies to God, then I need to leave them with Him to do as he pleases. Perhaps they will repent. I hope I handle it better than Jonah. Perhaps they won’t repent. It is up to God to deal with either situation. (Plus, what if they are praying for me (think burning coals on your own head!)
Second, the Fire of God is uncontrollable. Watch it consume someone and repentance happen. Then watch that fire touch all those around that person when they see what God has done! Sounds a little like the Love of God we see in the New Testament. “Love endures” Paul wrote. Love also consumes.
People try to put out the Fire of God all the time. But watch it spark up when it’s the least expected. That is exciting and powerful, and a little scary. But it’s bigger than me. And that is a good thing. Dare to let God’s Fire consume you, and those around you!
What do you find is the hardest thing about praying for your enemies?