Our God is a consuming fire. In the book of Exodus, we find detailed instructions about how the animal sacrifice was to be quartered and completely consumed by fire on the brazen alter. In today's Gospel, we are the sacrifice that must be completely consumed by fire. The brazen alter is now our hearts, and the consuming fire is the Holy Spirit. It is our old man, our old, sinful selves, that must be completely consumed. Is there a part of your old self that you're keeping from the consuming fire?
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Christianity is about so much more than "a relationship with Jesus." It is about a deep, holy union with the triune God. It's about sacrifice, submission, redemption, and propitiation. Unless you understand how much you need God, you'll never really understand how much He loves you. That's why describing the faith as a "friendship with God" falls far short of truly articulating what our Heavenly Father did for you when he sent Jesus Christ to earth and to the cross. Watch to learn more from this homily on Hebrews 9.
(A homily on Job 42. The video resolution is poor, but the audio is good.)
Are you in the midst of difficulty? Have you ever shaken your fist at the sky and exclaimed "why God, why?!" Has your heart hardened toward the Lord because of the unfairness of your circumstances? You are not alone.
That's why the church gave us the book of Job. In this old testament wisdom literature, we are given a glimpse into heaven. We watch disaster fall upon a good man, not because he was wicked, but because he was righteous. Did you catch that? Job experienced disaster because he was righteous.
Job's friends try to advise him in the midst of his sorrow. His wife grows bitter and tells him "curse God and die!" (vs. 2:9) But Job maintains his innocence and his faith, relentlessly demanding justice from the Lord God. Finally God answers Job in chapter 38 saying, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof . . ."
Over the course of four chapters, God outlines his sovereignty over all the earth, and Job is stunned into silence. Finally, in awe, Job responds by saying "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Oh that we too would remember the sovereignty of God and repent as he did, accepting our lot in life with gratitude.