Judges 6:21, “Then the angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.”
Forget any heartwarming stories or humerous anecdotes. No metaphors or analogies. Not today. Not for this note. I’m just going to go straight for the jugular on this one. I’m going to speak right to the heart of the matter. No, I’m not in a “bad mood.” No, I don’t have a “chip on my shoulder.” No, I don’t have a “bone to pick.” I’m just very passionate when it comes to this whole area as it relates to modern Christianity. It’s a theme that I see written all over the pages of the books from previous eras. But unfortunately, it is tragically absent from much of today’s more contemporary works. Sadly, the thought of being consumed by and for God has all but vanished from modern language and ideology.
Consumed. All in. Everything. Completely abandoned. 110%. Holding nothing back. No reservations. No exceptions. Fully surrendered. Totally yielded. Lord, do with me as You desire. I am here to serve You, to bring pleasure to You. Just You. Only You. Every thought. Every word. Every action. Every part of my life. Every minute of my life. All for you. Cost counted. Self denied. Sold out for the Christ and His cross. No turning back. No looking to the left or right. Following Him wherever He may lead. Lord, I am Yours. Yeah. That’s the way it plays out in my mind. God gave His all for me and I should give my all to Him. I want to be consumed by Him. I want to be consumed with passion for Him.
Gideon watched as the meat and the bread were consumed before his very eyes. Want a more literal translation? Okay. They were devoured. They fire quickly and completely swallowed it up. To use the Miami vernacular, the meat and bread “got ate up.” God took it all. ALL!!! He didn’t nibble on it. He didn’t eat some now and save some for later. No leftovers. No à la carte. No carry out boxes or doggy bags. The fire consumed the offering. Took every last bit and left nothing behind. If you have small children, think “happy plate.” God took it all. Every vestige of the offering became His. All of it.
So, I have to ask the painful question now… how about you? How about me? Have I given God my all? Have I allowed myself to be consumed by Him? Or am I holding parts of my life aside from Him? I know. Some of you are thinking, “What’s the big deal? That was a story from the OT. We live under grace. We live in the light of the NT.” True. But last time I checked God has not changed. If anything, the writer of Hebrews reminds us of God’s all-consuming nature. “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” Nope. God hasn’t changed. He is still that same consuming fire that appeared to Gideon.
If anything, those of us who live in the light of the NT have a higher standard. Gideon’s offering was some meat and bread. Our offering? God wants us. He calls us to lay down our lives upon the altar. Jesus became the offering for our sin and now we in gratitude offer Him our lives to do with as He desires. Let’s be honest. Most of the disillusionment in modern Christianity comes from people who were never “all in” to begin with. They told God that they wanted to be consumed but as soon as the heat of His holiness began to do it’s work they ran from the altar. They never allowed themselves to be consumed. When I have Him, when I have been consumed by Him, all of the side issues become lost in the light of fellowship. But as long as I continue to hold tightly to areas that I refuse to surrender I will never know true peace or contentment. Think about it. If the meat had not been completely consumed, any portion left behind would have simply rotted in the sun. So many have only experienced the rottenness of compromise because they never allowed themselves to be fully consumed by Him.
I know that today’s message has been hard. But I also hope it will prove to be helpful. Too many have settled. They have settled for compromise. They have settled for comfort and convenience. They have settled for apathy and indifference. And in the final analysis they have settled for less than God’s best. I know. Because after 20 years of “full-time” ministry I still struggle with the very same weaknesses and tendencies. I am tired of my almost blasé approach to God at times. You know, the “whole-been-there-done-that” mentality. I want the fire of His presence to burn out all the dross and impurities in my life. I am tired of the duplicity. I want to be His. Entirely His. I want to be consumed. By Him. And for Him. “Lord, I place my life upon the altar once again. Here am I. I am Yours. Do in me what needs to be done. And then do through me all that You desire. My life is Yours. Purchased with Your blood. Father, consume me.”