Giver Blessing 4: Fire From the Prophet
Beloved, I call your spirit to attention, and I invite the Giver portion to come explore God’s gifts to you.
We began this series of blessings celebrating the Giver’s individuality. While this is still an extraordinary gift from God to you, there is the accompanying truth that you are made to operate in community.
Some of the gifts you receive come directly from the hand of God. This is certainly your preference. You have a strong distaste for being dependent on anyone. However, in order to weave you into the tapestry of the human community, God gives others of His gifts to you through community.
While the messenger delivering them is a human being, these treasures are no less gifts from God than those which He implants in you at conception.
Come with me to the Temple to see a profound truth which God pictured there for you. The altar of incense is His picture of your role in the corporate relationship with God. It occupied a very narrow niche. No meat, grain or drink offerings were to be offered on it.
This altar was to be set aside exclusively for incense as a symbol of worship.
What is most significant though, in terms of synergy, is that the fire for this altar could ONLY come from the brazen altar where the blood sacrifices were offered. The brazen altar symbolizes the cleansing work of the Prophet.
This is one of the most profound gifts that God gives you through community – the fire that comes from a Prophet.
Note the contrast. Fire is generally tightly contained. If it is not contained, it can become very damaging. The incense, however, was allowed to float free through the whole Temple.
Fire has to be kept away from the body or it will damage. The incense can wash over your whole body and even be inhaled, bringing deep pleasure.
Fire consumes that which is impure. The incense adds beauty to that which has been cleansed.
Fire is primarily a visual experience. Incense releases a fragrance. As opposite as they are, there is a synergy, and as much as God has blessed the individuality of the Giver, He never intended you to be independent. So the magnificent cloud of fragrance you represent can only be released by the Prophet’s fire.
This is seen in real life through the relationship of Elijah and Elisha. Elisha the Giver was one of those 7,000 righteous men in Israel who had never corrupted themselves with Baal worship. He carried in himself a fragrance that was from God and for God. However, he was limited to a career in farming until the Prophet Elijah came along.
It was Elijah with his white hot fire who cleansed the land, ridding it of the priests and practices of Baal and Ashtoreth. It was the Prophet who broke the stranglehold that prevented freedom of faith thereby allowing the schools of Prophets to be established.
It was the Prophet who identified the explosive call on Elisha’s life and converted the wealthy farmer’s son from a small town in Galilee into a prolific life giver with international influence.
Elijah was fire – feared by many, dangerous at all times. Elisha was incense – wide ranging, sought after, loved, life giving even after his death. While it is true that the compelling fragrance of Elisha the Giver reached as far as the palace of foreign potentates, it is also true that it was the Prophet’s smoldering coal that released the fragrance of the Giver’s incense.
God does this not only for individual Givers but also for communities. When it was time to release the fragrance of Christ in the global explosion we call the Great Century of Missions, God again used the fire of the Prophet to light the incense of the Giver.
The Prophet nation of Germany produced the world’s most celebrated prayer movement in the Moravians at Herrnhut. They had 24 people at a time praying around the clock for over 100 years. This is a mighty flame of fire which burned hot but could not produce the cloud of incense God needed.
So He brought their great bowls of prayer to the Church of England, that glorious Giver stream of the Body of Christ founded by the Giver, Joseph of Arimathea. When the accumulated prayers of the Prophet met the accumulated potential of the Giver’s incense in the heavenlies, the Church of England sent out an unprecedented wave of missionaries to the far corners of the earth.
The Giver did it. But the Prophet gave the gift of fire.
The Prophet’s fire is one of God’s finest gifts to you, Giver. Without his fire, your extraordinary potential to express the fragrance of Christ will remain locked up within you.
So we welcome you in our midst, Giver. We pray that in our community, you will receive the Prophet’s fire to release your sweet incense, so as to enrich every one of us with a knowledge of the fragrance of Christ that we can get nowhere else. You are most welcome among us. We bless you in the name of our King, Jesus Christ.
University of Leiden
Art section of the History Library
October 20, 2008
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