“A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.” (Leviticus 6:13 NKJV).
One of the primary responsibilities of the priests under the Old Covenant is to keep the fire burning on God’s altar perpetually.
God expressly commanded them, saying, “A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.” (Lev. 6:13 NKJV).
God sent the fire, but it is the responsibility of the priests to sustain the fire on the altar (Lev. 9:23-24). However, God gave them specific instructions to follow so that they could keep the fire burning on the altar.
These divine instructions are still very relevant and useful to us today to sustain God’s fire in our souls.
At the new birth, the Holy Spirit kindles the fire of God’s love in the hearts of the believers.
The Scripture testifies that: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.” (Rom. 5:5 RSV).
However, like the priests of old, it is the responsibility of the believers today to keep the fire of God’s love burning and glowing not only in their hearts, but also in their souls (mind, will and emotions).
Above anything else, you must see to it that the fire of God’s love you received at the new birth never go out of your soul. The church in Ephesus was reprimanded severely by the Lord Jesus for failing to keep or sustain their first love (Rev. 2:4).
We should expect the same if we allow the cares, the anxieties, the lusts, the pleasures or pressures of this life to put out the fire of God’s love in our souls.
The love of God cannot co-inhabit with the love of this world in any soul.
This is why the Scripture warns in 1 John 2:
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. (NKJV).
The priests of old were able to keep God’s fire burning on the altar all through their journey in the wilderness by following the specific instructions God gave them. These instructions are still relevant today to keeping the fire of God’s love hot, burning and glowing in our hearts and souls in this evil world.
Therefore, it is wisdom for us to carefully examine and follow these divine instructions.
First, God instructed the priests to ensure that there is always a sacrifice on the altar (Exo. 29:38-42).
As long as there is a sacrifice on the altar, the fire will keep burning. But when the sacrifice leaves the altar, the fire also leaves the altar. Therefore, the priests were commanded to leave the burnt offering on the altar all night until morning, and then continue a succession of offerings in the morning until night.
God commanded, “The burnt offering shall be on the hearth upon the altar all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it.” (Lev. 6:9 NKJV).
Like the priests of old, we shall not fail to keep God’s love burning and glowing in our souls if we continually present, yield or offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice (Rom. 6:13, 12:1). It takes a constant or continual submission to the Holy Spirit to keep His fire burning in your soul.
This is why the Scripture admonishes: “That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.” (2 Tim. 1:14 NKJV).
The fire of God’s love ignited in your heart by the Holy Spirit at the new birth will wane as you continually yield yourself to the flesh to gratify its lusts, desires and passions. It takes walking in the Spirit to sustain, keep safe, or guard the fire of God’s love in your heart and soul.
Second, God instructed the priests to ensure that the ashes never cover the altar (Lev. 6:10).
After every offering, the priest must always “put on his linen garment, and his linen trousers he shall put on his body, and take up the ashes of the burnt offering which the fire has consumed on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. ‘Then he shall take off his garments, put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place.” (Lev. 6:10-11 NKJV).
The ashes must not cleave to the priest’s body!
What a wisdom and warning for God’s servants today!
The ashes are the trails of fire and the evidence that fire has thoroughly burnt. Ashes can no longer burn and they do not support burning. They are nothing but a fire-extinguisher.
Therefore, when the ashes from the past burnt sacrifices are left to accumulate on the altar, they will put out the fire on the altar. So, God instructed the priests to carefully handle them and properly dispose of them. They must be put aside after each offering and later be carried to a clean place outside the camp.
Today, “the ashes” implies the outcomes of God’s fire burning in your life, the proofs of God’s Spirit at work in your life, and the praises, encomiums or glories that people showers or heaps on you after being used of God to minister to them. When you allow these ashes to cleave to you or to accumulate in your soul, it will put out the fire of God in your soul.
This is the undoing of many servants of God today!
Beloved Man of God, you don’t deserve the glory, praise and honour for whatever God accomplishes through you. Therefore, don’t let the ashes settle on you or cleave to you. The right place they belong to is God’s throne, so you must never forget to always carry and leave them there.
A wise Psalmist said, “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth.” (Psa. 115:1 NKJV).
Lastly, God instructed the priests to burn wood on the altar every morning.
God commanded, “…The priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.” (Lev. 6:12-13 NKJV).
Adding the wood to the fire on the altar increases and strengthens the fire!
The Scripture states: “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” (Prov. 26:20-21 NKJV).
Today, burning wood every morning implies spending quality time every morning in a loving and intimate fellowship or communion with God in prayer and in the Word. This will keep the fire of God’s love burning and glowing increasingly in your heart and soul.
Treasuring God’s Word in your heart and focusing on God’s love for you will ignite and inflame your soul for God!
Beloved, every morning you turn to meditate in God’s Word, you are adding wood to the fire in your soul; it will burn with greater intensity. Every act of prayerful meditation on God’s love and Word is simply adding wood to God’s fire in your heart and soul.
The Psalmist said, “My heart was hot within me; while I was musing, the fire burned. Then I spoke with my tongue: (Psa. 39:3 NKJV).
Therefore, spend quality time everyday to meditate in God’s Word and Love for you.
Friend, have you lost God’s fire in your heart or soul and have become spiritually lukewarm? You can get God’s fire back today by simply turning to the Lord Jesus Christ in humility, repentance and faith.
Jesus said to the church in Ephesus when they lost their first love for Him, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent.” (Rev. 2:5 NKJV).
Therefore, arise today to begin to spend quality time daily in a deep or intimate fellowship with God in prayer and in the Word of God. When you begin to focus on God and begin to meditate deeply and constantly in God’s love and Word, your soul will be filled, overwhelmed, or submerged in God’s love.
This is the major way to rekindle, ignite and sustain God’s fire or love in your soul!
Friend, keep your mind set, fixed or focused on God, and you will never become spiritually lukewarm, cold, or dead.
The Scripture warns: “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Lord Jesus, forgive me for allowing the cares of this life and the love of this world to drown and quench the fire of your love in my soul. Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me to diligently guard my heart and firmly and continually set or fix my mind on God, in Jesus’ name. Amen.