And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
The glorious appearing of God before the people doesn’t manifest to us through the biblical words the same way it manifested to these witnesses’ eyes. Moses could’ve added a string of adjectives before the word ‘fire’ here to bolster the prose. He could’ve described the form and color of the flames, how they were like the appearance of jasper or sapphire or all gemstones together; or how the flames danced across the altar not in raging, wild fashion, like hungry wolves devouring a stag, but in calm, fluid fashion, like the tide gently rolling up and down a Caribbean shoreline; or perhaps how the consuming fire cooled the atmosphere rather than warmed it, how it cleansed the witnesses’ garments rather than singed them; or how the over-arching thrust of this holy fire wasn’t in the heat it produced but in the blinding purity of light that emanated from within; or how the holiness of these embers immediately thrust the people to their knees like Moses before the Burning Bush or Paul on the road to Damascus. But even though we readers aren’t able to see with our own eyes what these pilgrims witnessed, embers from that holy fire shine through the pages even still.
I see it in the opening phrase, “And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meting, and when they came out they blessed the people.” What resplendent glory! That after all this time, Moses and Aaron are still together, still standing as shepherds for the people, still actively fulfilling their age-old commission to deliverer these pilgrims to the Promised Land.
Friend, never let the devil deceive you into thinking that your faithfulness to God is a small thing. Oh no—it’s a candle in the hand of our mighty God! And we can’t even begin to fathom the holy fire He might kindle through it.