That Inextinguishable Blaze
“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.”
When, as a small boy, I sang on a church choir, one hymn that we sang that has stuck in my mind more than most was Charles Wesley’s hymn “O Thou who Camest from above”. This is the only hymn that I know with a six-syllable word. The first verse refers to Jesus imparting “fire celestial”, and then the second verse prays: “There let it for thy glory burn with inextinguishable blaze”.
This refers to the fire of sacrifice for the burnt offerings recorded in Leviticus 6. “The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not go out. The priest shall burn wood on it every morning.” Wesley reminds us that the only sacrifice that we perform today is a sacrifice of praise because Jesus has completely filled the sacrifice for sin.
The first sacrifice mentioned in the Bible is that carried out by Abel, who delivered the firstborn of his flock and fat portions to God. But the very fuel used for such sacrifice – wood – has come from God Himself.
It is no accident that the fire mentioned in Leviticus for sacrifice is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, whom the Father has given us as counselor. Genesis seems to suggest an origin of energy from the Spirit, as He hovers over the deep. Within us, He leads us to worship with that inextinguishable blaze.
Prayer: We pray that You will accept our sacrifice of worship unto You, Lord God, Heavenly King. Amen.
Author: Paul F. Taylor
Ref: Wesley, C., O Thou who Camest from above, < https://hymnary.org/text/o_thou_who_camest_from_above >, accessed 3/11/2020. Image: Illustration from the 1890 Holman Bible, Public Domain image.
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