by Ivor Powell

The Men...Who Had Heartburn
Ivor Powell
Leviticus 9:24; 6:12-13

Some of the most important commandments given by God to Israel concerned the fire that burned upon the great altar. When the tabernacle was dedicated, the Lord sent special fire from heaven, and thereafter the priests were expected to keep it burning. Fires need fuel, and God's instruction gave birth to a special industry in Israel. There were "hewers of timber" in the mountains and appointed carriers to transport the wood to the tabernacle. It was never necessary for the priests to go looking for wood; it was available at any time of the day or night. The fire upon the altar never went out until the nation was subdued by Babylonian invaders.

These facts are suggestive, for every Christian is said to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. The ancient tabernacle was beautiful, clean, and acceptable, but without the fire it was an empty shell. Christian ministers may be graduate students, polished and educated; their appearance may be excellent, their grammar faultless; but unless the fire of God burns within them their ministry is ineffective. No one can overestimate the value of study-fresh bread from God's oven is always to be desired-but there cannot be an effective substitute for the power of the Holy Spirit. The fire of God is not necessarily shouting; sometimes empty barrels make the most sound! Congregations know when their preacher is charged with the power of God; they are aware of the fact the moment they enter his presence. Similarly, they do not have to be informed when their preacher is cold, placid, and boring. It therefore behooves every preacher to be aware of this fact. God may light a fire within his soul, but he must keep it burning. The Bible supplies striking examples of that fact.

Jeremiah . . . Who Complained

"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 w ...

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