14 “The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” 15 Those who walk righteously and speak what is right, who reject gain from extortion and keep their hands from accepting bribes, who stop their ears against plots of murder and shut their eyes against contemplating evil—“ Isaiah 33:14-15 NIV
The question is who can dwell with consuming fire? There are lots of references to fire in the Bible. The bush that was on fire but not burning caught the curiousity of Moses. King Nebuchadnezzar trembled when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not burn in the furnace. Proverbs compares the way the Lord tests our heart to the way that gold is refined by fire. And Peter says that our faith will be proven in our praise.
It’s hard to withstand the pressure of a hard place in a graceful way. We are to walk righteously, speak what is right, reject ill-gotten gain and bribes, and not listen to scheming and conniving. So how do we do that?
Graciously, we’ve been given instructions on how to do that too! We are to fill our minds with beauty and truth. Think about honorable things; what is right and pure and lovely and good. Think about things of virtue. Praise stays on our lips.
When I am in a hard place I try to remember these things. It can shift my outlook from grim and dismal to filling me with joy and trust and faith. It removes the burden I was carrying. It helps me recognize that God has me. He has my heart and He loves me and cares for me always. There is nothing else in this world that He loves more than you and me. Praise God for Your everlasting love!
Exodus 3:1-3, Daniel 3:25-27, Proverbs 17:3, Philippians 4:8, John 3:16