The kept fire

“Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall not go out.” Leviticus 6:13

Throughout all the generations of the Mosaic priesthood, the altar was lit. Day and night it never ceased. A perpetual fire was maintained upon its bronze structure; living flame ever flickered before the living God.

The fire of this altar was never extinguished because there was always another sacrifice to make. We have detailed accounts— exhausting accounts—of sacrifices and offerings of many kinds on divine record. If you find the reading of Leviticus a weary task, imagine living it. Men must devote their lives to the business, because the business of sacrifice never stopped. Lebanon itself was not enough to burn.

All this changed when Jesus was nailed to the tree. When the true spotless Lamb carried our sins through the fires of God’s wrath against us, the flame of divine fury went out. No animal sacrifice ever atoned for a single sin; they prefigured the real sin sacrifice to come. All who trust in Jesus have passed out of judgment.

Because we are free, our lives are now living sacrifices to God. Do not our hearts burn within us when we consider the sweeping majesty of the sufferings and subsequent glories of our Lord Jesus Christ? Fire of a different sort, of thanksgiving and zeal, is now maintained before him. This fire of God is to be kept burning on the altars of our hearts continually; it shall not go out. We will enliven the farthest reaches of eternity with its stirring influence.