Leviticus 6:13 – “A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.”
Our verse today comes from a very long description about the proper procedures for sacrifices under the Old Law. In chapters 1-7 of Leviticus, you will find detailed instruction on certain animals that are to be sacrificed, when they are to be sacrificed, how they are to be sacrificed, the certain parts that need to be burned, eaten or thrown away. God is very specific on what he wants from His sacrifices, all of which were to be burned on the altar. But in the middle of all these instructions, He mentions that “a fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.”
Today we have “eternal flames” around the country. There’s one at Arlington Cemetery for John F. Kennedy, Gettysburg Battlefield in memory of the fallen soldiers during the Civil War, Shanksville, Pennsylvania in honor of United Airlines Flight 93 form the September 11th attacks, along with 29 other “eternal” flames throughout this country. We establish those as memorials for great men and woman who have served our country or given their lives fighting for our freedom.
But God told the priests to never let the fire go out on His altar. That makes me wonder how many animals were being sacrificed every day, every week, every month, and every year. How much blood would flow off the altar every day? What did the people think about every time they saw smoke rise in the air from the altar in front of the tabernacle? I think it would serve as a reminder about who they are supposed to be serving every day. About how it was God who brought ten plagues on the people of Egypt. It was God who delivered His people after so many years of captivity. It was God who parted the Red Sea and delivered them from Pharaoh. It was God that led them by cloud and by fire through the wilderness. I can’t help but think, every time they came to sacrifice an animal, they would think about all those things. About how that flame would never go out, just like their God would never leave them.
What about us today? We all have a fire burning inside of us. A fire that is supposed to be burning hot with passion for our God. I wonder if we ever let that fire go out. Do we remember everything God has done for us? Do we take time out of everyday to think about what God has given us? I think sometimes we get so caught up in our everyday lives that we lose focus on what wonderful blessings God has given us. I pray that your fire never goes out for the Lord. I pray that it stays a raging inferno of passion for praising God. God wants and deserves the absolute best from His people. He has provided for His people since the beginning of time! It’s time that we showing our love and appreciation.
It’s easy to let our fires start to dwindle. It’s easy to get distracted. But we should catch it before it’s too late. If you notice your fire for the Lord is not what it should be, throw some logs on the fire! Pray for help. Devote yourself to His word. Practice the ways of the Lord. You can tell when someone is passionate for the Lord. You can see it in their actions, their attitude, and their words. I wonder if people can see the fire in you. Let us all try to keep our fires burning. You never know who might be flammable!
—Kevin Harrington, Minister, Queens Way church of Christ