Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah, and more specifically, is found in verses nine through forty of the twenty-third chapter. THE LORD’S CONTROVERSY WITH THE PROPHETS! THE LORD’S CONTROVERSY WITH THE PRIESTS! THE LORD’S CONTROVERSY WITH THE PASTORS! THE LORD’S CONTROVERSY WITH THE PRINCES! If you take the time to both read and study the prophetic writings found within Scripture, it will be only a matter of time before you begin noticing the Lord places a great deal of emphasis on those who are responsible for leading His people in righteousness. If you study the composite of Israel and Judah, you will undoubtedly discover that the Lord had raised up both priests and prophets as the religious system in the midst of His people, and princes and pastors as the governmental authority which was over His people. When you read this particular passage of Scripture you will find the Lord’s controversy with the prophets which prophesied in the land of Judah, and within the city of Jerusalem. If you journey to the final book of the Old Testament—the prophetic book of Malachi—you will find the Lord’s controversy with the priests which were instructed to keep His righteousness in the midst of the land. “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: If then I be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? IN that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? Saith the Lord of hosts. And now, I pray you, beseech God that He will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will He regard your persons? Saith the Lord of hosts. Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? Neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. Forfrom the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it? And ye have snuffed at it saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? Saith the Lord. But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and cometh, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I amen a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen” (Malachi 1:6-14). This particular passage found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Malachi deals specifically with the priests of Israel, which the Lord declared that they had despised His name and polluted His altar. If you journey to the thirty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel, you will uncover the Lord’s controversy with the pastors [shepherds] of the children of Israel. “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to you shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beats of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search of seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; As I. Live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock: therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them” (Ezekiel 34:1-10). These words enhance and increase the meaning of the words which the Lord prophesied through Jeremiah at the beginning of this twenty-third chapter—“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! Saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:1-4).
Within these few passages we find the Lord not only confronting the priests which were responsible for the house of the Lord, as well as the altar of the Lord, but we also find the Lord confronting the pastors [the shepherds] over His people. In the thirty-fourth chapter of Ezekiel we find the Lord’s controversy with the pastors [and shepherds], in the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Malachi, we find the Lord’s controversy with the priests of the land, and in this particular chapter found within the prophetic book of Jeremiah, we find the Lord’s controversy with the priests. In fact, through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord declared “For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:11). These words are as plain and as clear as one would expect to find them, for the Lord held no punches and shot straight from the hip when speaking through His prophets. What’s so incredibly interesting about these words is that we find the Lord declaring through the prophet Jeremiah that He Himself had a controversy with both prophets and priests within the land. Jeremiah—this one who was taken from among the priests of Anathoth and ordained and appointed to stand before the Lord as prophet—would voice the controversy of the Lord with the religious establishment in the land. What’s more, is that through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord declared that the wickedness of these prophets and priests was found within His own house. What an incredible tragedy it is when both prophets and priests corrupt and pollute the house of the Lord with their wickedness. It was the priests who were responsible for the ministry of and the ministry in the house, while it was the prophets who were responsible for the ministry of the words of the Lord. It was the priests who were responsible for bringing man to God at the altar of burnt offering, at the altar of incense, and even at in the Holy of. Holies before the Ark of the Covenant. It was the prophets who were responsible for proclaiming and declaring the holy words of the Lord in the hearing and in the presence of His people. The prophet Jeremiah, however, saw a picture that was completely different—a picture where both prophet and priest were profane, and where their wickedness had even found its way into the house of the Lord. Oh please don’t miss the significance of the words of Jeremiah, for with and through these words we encounter a tremendous tragedy within the land of Judah—a controversy within the house of the Lord among prophets and priests.
When you come to the thirteenth verse of this chapter, you will find the prophet Jeremiah directing his attention directly to the prophets of Samaria—those who stood in the sight and presence of the people and claimed to speak for, before and on behalf of the Lord. “And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evil doers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah” (Jeremiah 23:13-14). As you read these words, you will notice that the Lord’s controversy was not only in that which the prophets committed before Him in His sight, but what the prophets caused in the sight of the Lord. THE PROPHETS COMMITTED ADULTERY BEFORE THE LORD! THE PROPHETS CAUSED THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL TO ERR! Please don’t miss the significance and importance of these words, for within and among those who claimed to speak on behalf of the Lord there was found little if any faithfulness, loyalty, fidelity and commitment. When the Lord declared that the prophets commit adultery, He was declaring that they were walking in unfaithfulness and in the lusts of their own hearts. For prophets to commit adultery meant that they had given themselves to the lust of their hearts, and had given themselves over to immorality. In declaring that the prophets committed adultery, the Lord declared that faithfulness and commitment was a commodity rather than a necessity within and among them. How can one dare stand and declare that they speak for and before the Lord when there is no faithfulness or loyalty within their hearts? The prophets could not keep themselves committed and faithful before the Lord, and allowed themselves to become inflamed in their lusts and passions. If I am being completely honest, I would dare say that one of the single greatest traps and snares the adversary will seek to lay for those who claim to speak for the Lord is the sin of immorality and the sin of adultery. I am convinced that there were undoubtedly some among the prophets during Jeremiah’s generation who may have been called to stand before the Lord and prophesy according to His word and in His name. These prophets, however, allowed themselves to become inflamed in their own lusts, and as a result, gave themselves over to adultery and fornication. I would dare say that if you are called to stand before the Lord and proclaim His words to a generation, the adversary can and will come against you with great force, fury and might with the sin(s) of adultery, fornication, promiscuity, sexual immorality, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the like.
As you proceed within this passage of Scripture, you will notice the Lord’s accounting of these prophets which dared proclaim that they spoke for and in the name of the Lord. “Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you fain: THEY SPEAK A VISION OF THEIR OWN HEART, AND NOT OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE LORD” (Jeremiah 23:16). In the twenty-first verse of this chapter the Lord declares—“ I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied” (Jeremiah 23:21). In the twenty-fifth verse, the Lord declares of the prophets that they “prophesy lies in His name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed” (Jeremiah 23:25). In the very next verse, the Lord declares of the prophets that they “prophesy lies” and are “prophets of the deceit of their own heart” (Jeremiah 23:26). The prophet Jeremiah declares of these prophets that they think “to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour” (Jeremiah 23:27). Now, I fully recognize that I write a lot, and that I send my writings out to various individuals. I realize that what I write is what I believe the Lord is speaking to my heart. With that being said, I must pause for a moment and encourage you to be very careful with those individuals who are always speaking of and proclaiming “visions,” “dreams” and “words” they continually and repeatedly have. Be very careful around those individuals who always seem to promote themselves, and promote that which they believe the Lord has spoken unto them. Beware of those men and women who always seem to have “a word,” and who look for every opportunity to proclaim that word to any who will listen. Beware of those who always seem to go around speaking of the dreams, the visions, and the words they have received from the Lord. You who will read these words know exactly what I am speaking of, and what this is in reference to. There is a vast difference between “self-proclaimed” prophets, and “sent” prophets. I would dare say that there is an over-abundance of “self-proclaimed” prophets in the land today, yet there are very few “sent” prophets—those men and women who have been sent by the Lord of hosts. There are men and women among us who will do absolutely anything and everything they can to cause men and women to listen to the words which they have received, the dreams they have had, and the visions they proclaim to have received.
Notice in this passage that the Lord speaks of “the prophet that hath a dream,” and “he that hath my word.” It is absolutely imperative that we recognize and pay close attention to these words, for the prophet clearly draws a line in the sand between those who merely have dreams, and those who actually have the word of the Lord. The Lord declared of those who had a dream to tell and reveal the dream, and the Lord declared of those who hath His word to speak His word faithfully. I can’t help but be gripped by what the Lord declared in this passage, for the Lord didn’t merely declared of those who had His word to speak His word, but to speak His word faithfully. Please don’t miss that final word, for it is a word that carries with it a tremendous amount of significance in this generation. There are those who may have the Lord’s word, and they may indeed be speaking the Lord’s word, but are they doing so faithfully? Is there a difference between speaking the Lord’s word, and speaking the Lord’s word faithfully? There are those who preach from the Word of God each and every week—perhaps even multiple times in a given week—yet the real question that must be asked is whether or not they are speaking it faithfully. I am convinced that anyone can speak the Word of God in any context and in any circumstance, but the true test is whether or not those individuals do so faithfully before the Lord. When it comes to standing before the Lord and speaking His word, the Lord is looking for one thing above everything else—faithfulness. We dare not seek to have the word of God without and apart from faithfulness, for more often than not it is our faithfulness that speaks the loudest. I am convinced that there are times when the Lord would rather have certain individuals cease from speaking His word altogether because they are doing so without and apart from faithfulness before and faithfulness in the presence of the Lord. The Lord specifically called those who had His word to speak it faithfully, for unless you are willing to speak His word faithfully, I would strongly caution you to cease speaking unto you can do so. The Lord may very well require of you concerning your proclamation of His words, but I am convinced that even more than this, the Lord will require of you concerning your faithfulness in doing so. Please note that faithfulness in speaking the word of the Lord means that we speak the full and complete word the Lord has given us without omitting any piece or part of it. Faithfulness in speaking the word of the Lord means that we proclaim the word of the Lord at the exact time specified for the Lord. There are many who are speaking the Word of God in this generation, yet the underlying question that must be asked is whether or not they are doing so faithfully.
In the twenty-ninth verse of this chapter we encounter something absolutely astounding, for the Lord of hosts asks something very specific concerning His word. “Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breakers the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29). Beloved, do you know the word of God is not designed to [always] make you feel good? Do you know there are [several]times when the Word of God cannot and will not coddle and cajole you? Do you. Know there are times when the Word of God will be received as bitter to you as you attempt to partake of it, and even digest it. The prophet Jeremiah declared of the word of the Lord that it was like a fire—a fire which both devours and consumes. The prophet Jeremiah declare of the word of the Lord that it was like a hammer that breakers the rock in pieces? The word of God as a fire is not only meant to consume and devour, but it also meant to spread and break forth without anything hindering or restraining it. [If the Word of God is like as a fire, I can’t help but wonder why it isn’t spreading as it should within our hearts, or within our lives, or within our homes, or even within our churches. Are you aware of the fact that in order for a fire to continue burning it needs oxygen, for where there is no oxygen a fire cannot survive? When I did a quick search concerning fire and oxygen, this is the first description that appears on the screen. “Fire needs oxygen because when we burn a material we actually include a reaction of the material with oxygen. The energy that is released during this by this chemical reaction produces what we call fire. So the fire is the side product of the reaction with oxygen.” I also find these words when I continued searching—“Fire is a chemical reaction that creates light and heat from oxygen and fuel. A lit candle needs to draw oxygen from the air in order to continue burning. If you limit the amount of air available, the candle’s flame eventually goes out once it uses up all the oxygen.” “It is worth understanding that the available oxygen usually limits the process of combustion. Adding oxygen will often cause a fire to burn hotter and faster—the process that makes blacksmiths bellows work. This must be tempered with understanding that you can blow the fuel away. In blowing out a candle, the gas (vapourized wax) is removed from the heat source, and the candle goes out. Blowing hard on glowing charcoal will make it burn faster since the charcoal is unlikely to blow away. Blowing too hard when fuel is flaming (burning vaporized hydrocarbons) may extinguish it, blowing on glowing coals probably wont.”
I absolutely love that the Lord speaks of His word as a fire, for it brings us face to face with the reality that in order for the fire of His word to burn, it needs the right substance, and more importantly, the right environment and atmosphere. In order for fire to continue burning, it needs to be an environment saturated and consumed with oxygen, for where there is no oxygen the fire cannot burn. One of the greatest hindrances to the spreading and burning of fire is the removal of oxygen, and where there is no oxygen, the fire will ultimately and inevitably die. When the Lord spoke of His word being like a fire, I am convinced that what He was suggesting and speaking was that it needed the right environment and atmosphere to burn. In order for the word of God to spread like a fire it needs to continue consuming materials which will add more fuel to it. Is it possible that we ask for the Word of God to spread like a fire within our midst, yet we aren’t willing to provide the materials necessary for it to either spread or burn? I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Moses was instructed to write in the Old Testament book of Leviticus concerning the fire upon the altar. “And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out” (Leviticus 6:12-13). Please don’t miss the awesome significance and importance of what is written in here, for when speaking of the fire which burned upon the altar, the Lord made it perfectly and abundantly clear that that fire was never to go out. In fact, the Lord specifically instructed the priests to put wood on the altar every morning in order to keep the fire burning throughout the day. I can’t help but wonder how many of us wake up every morning with the specific goal and intention of burning wood upon the altar. We may ask, and even desire the fire of the word of God to burn and spread within our hearts and lives, yet we aren’t willing to do the work of preparation for the fire to keep burning. Is it possible that the reason why the word of God isn’t spreading and doesn’t spread within our churches is because we aren’t providing the necessary materials for the fire to burn. How many fires have gone out in churches and congregations all across this country because there is nothing left for the fire to burn? How many fires have gone out in churches and congregations all across this country because it no longer has an atmosphere or environment conducive for it to burn? The Lord and His word are both consuming fires, yet in order for them to consume, they need something—someone—to consume. Oh, what are we offering the word of God to consume within our lives? What are we offering the word of God to spread within our lives?
I can’t help but be reminded of something the prophet Jeremiah spoke earlier in this prophetic book which lends even more credence to the concept of the word of God as a fire. “For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. BUT HIS WORD WAS IN MINE HEART AS A BURNING FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES, and I was weary with forebearing, and I could not stay” (Jeremiah 20:8-9). I’m also reminded of the words which the two who were on the road to Emmaus spoke after they recognized that it was Jesus who came alongside them on their journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus—“And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32). Jeremiah spoke of the word of God as a burning fire which was shut up within his bones, while the two who encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus spoke of their hearts burning within us while Jesus talked to them by the way. Oh, what are you doing to allow the word of God to burn like a raging fire within your life? What are you doing to allow the Word of God to spread rapidly and quickly within your heart and life? What are you offering to the fire of the word of God that it might consume and devour? How many of us have allowed the fire of the Word of God go out and cease burning within our lives? How many of us have deprived the fire of the Word of God of the atmosphere and environment it needs to be sustained—the environment of the prayer closet and personal devotion? What’s more, is that the Lord declared of those in Israel that they must never come before Him empty-handed, but must always come with a gift in their hand. In other words, the fire upon the altar was not only kept burning by the wood that was placed on it, but by the continual offering of sacrifices upon it. Notice that it was both the wood and the sacrifices which kept the fire burning. MORNING SACRIFICES. NOONDAY SACRIFICES. AFTERNOON SACRIFICES. TWILIGHT SACRIFICES. EVENING SACRIFICES! MIDNIGHT SACRIFICES! Please pay close attention to this, for we must allow ourselves to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and each time we are instructed, we are to bring more wood and put it on the altar. I can’t help but wonder if the priests of the altar of the Lord ministered before the altar both day and night. In other words—while it is true that each morning they were supposed to add wood to the altar to keep the fire burning—were they continually offering and presenting sacrifices unto the Lord throughout the day and even into the evening?
IT WAS NOT THE PRIESTS’ RESPONSIBILITY ALONE TO KEEP THE FIRE BURNING! The priests were responsible for adding wood to the altar each morning to keep the fire burning, and the priests were to offer every sacrifice and offering that was brought unto them, yet they could not offer upon the altar what was not brought unto them. In other words, it was both the combination of the wood upon the altar and the substance of the sacrifices that caused the fire to continue burning upon the altar. THE FIRE DOESN’T JUST NEED WOOD; IT NEEDS SACRIFICE! In order for the Word of God which is like a fire to continue burning, it not only needs that which gives it substance, but that which is consumes. THE FIRE OF THE WORD OF GOD NEEDS BOTH SUBSTANCE AND SACRIFICE! It was the wood which provided the fire to initially burn upon the altar, but it was the ongoing and continuing sacrifices of the people of God which caused the fire to continue burning. If you read the first nine chapters of the Old Testament book of Leviticus, you will find instructions given regarding the offerings and sacrifices offered upon the altar, as well as the ordination of Aaron and his sons. When you come to the twenty-second verse of the ninth chapter you will find the Lord Himself sending fire from heaven upon the altar. “And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces” (Leviticus 9:23-24). In the Old Testament book of First Kings we find another account of the fire of God coming down out of heaven and consuming that which was presented before Him—“Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench” (1 Kings 19:38). IN the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles, we find another account of fire coming down from heaven—“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good;l for His mercy endureth forever” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).
I am convinced that in the case of the Tabernacle in the book of Leviticus, and the Temple in the book of 2 Chronicles, it was the Lord who lit the fire which would burn upon the altar. In other words, it was the Lord who lit the altar with His fire, and His instruction was not simply to keep the fire from going out, but to keep His fire from going out. Lest you think this is far fetched, I would draw your attention to the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts concerning the Day of Pentecost. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). It was there on the Day of Pentecost when the Lord of Hosts Himself sent the fire that would become the fire that would burn within and upon the Church. What’s more, is that within this particular experience we not only see the fire, but we also see the wind (the atmosphere in which the fire could burn). I’ve never noticed this before, but have you ever noticed that it wasn’t just the fire which the Lord had sent, but also the sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind? Concerning the wind, we never see the wind, but we can certainly feel it, and even hear it. I am convinced that on the day of Pentecost there wasn’t simply the sound of a mighty rushing wind, but there was actually a wind that blew in that upper room—a wind which provided the oxygen needed for the fire to burn. There in the Upper Room we not only see the fire, but we also see the wind, for notice the sound of the wind came first, and then the cloven tongues as of fire came next. It was John the Baptist who not only declared that the One who would come after Him would baptize with the Holy Spirit, but also with fire. The wind was the first to appear in the Upper Room, for it was the wind which charged the atmosphere for the fire to burn—not only in the house, but also in the hearts and lives of those present. The fire was able to be released because the altar was in place—“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). It was their unity and prayer which created the altar for the fire to fall, and it was the wind that filled the upper room that charged the atmosphere with the “oxygen” needed for the fire to burn.
I feel the need to conclude this passage—one that was originally intended to speak concerning the prophets of Samaria, and the need to stand in the counsel and presence of the Lord—with the declaration that it is the Lord who lights the altar by sending the fire at the very onset, yet it is not the Lord’s responsibility or duty to keep the fire burning. The Lord charged the priests to keep the fire burning by placing wood continually upon the altar, and the Lord charged the people to continually bring their offerings and sacrifices unto the Lord. So long as the priests continued to put wood on the altar, and so long as the people continued to bring their offerings and sacrifices, the fire upon the altar would continue to burn, and would continue to consume. Note that the fire upon the altar was not only to continue burning in order to be a sight and spectacle for the priests, or even for the children of Israel. There are many among us who perceive the fire which burns upon the altar as nothing more than a sight and spectacle which we can observe throughout the course of our lives. THE FIRE UPON THE ALTAR WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE A SPECTACLE! THE FIRE UPON THE ALTAR BECKONED MEN AND WOMEN TO COME UNTO THE LORD, AND TO BRING THEIR SACRIFICES BEFORE AND UNTO HIM. I am convinced this same reality holds true of the fire of the Word of God, for there are many who treat the Word of God as a spectacle and something to observe rather than something which they must bring their sacrifices and offerings to. BRINGING YOUR SACRIFICES BEFORE THE FIRE OF THE WORD OF GOD! BRINGING YOUR SACRIFICES BEFORE THE FIRE UPON THE ALTAR OF GOD! Fire cannot burn when there is no oxygen; fire cannot burn when there is no fuel; fire cannot consume when there is nothing to consume. Oh that we would understand our responsibility to not only keep the fire burning by continually bringing wood to put upon the altar—and even upon the Word of God—but also to continually bring our offerings and sacrifices before both the Word and the altar. BRINGING WOOD AND SACRIFICES BEFORE THE WORD AND THE ALTAR! The time has come for us to stop being spectators, and become active participants who willingly and voluntarily bring both the wood to arrange upon the altar, and the sacrifices to burn in the midst of the fire. On the day of Pentecost, we not only find the altar—the Upper Room—but we find the wood and sacrifices—the one-hundred and twenty in one accord—and the atmosphere and environment conducive for the fire to fall, to spread and consume—the mighty rushing wind!