Who will stoke the fire?
Scripture Reading for March 9th: Judges 1-5
When I was younger, we heated our home on the farm with wood. When it was extremely cold, we had a small bin of coal to help with the heat through the long Iowa winter. One of the jobs right before bed was to go down and stoke the fire. More wood would be added and ashes removed so a good flow of air would cause the fire to heat up and blaze. A scoop of coal would be tossed in too. A short time later the damper was shut so all the coals and logs would glow with a steady fire all night. If no one stoked the fire, it would go out.
Godly leaders stoke the fires with the wood of prayer and pour on the coals of God’s Word to keep zeal burning through the long night. But when the leader is gone, complacency sets in. Joshua left some elders who stoked the fire for a time, but hey passed from the nation. The next generation arose without a personal experience of God’s mighty miracles and deliverance. This generation began to drift into idolatry and the bondage of sin.
The cycle is recorded in Judges. God got angry and sold them into slavery to an oppressing nation. The people cried out to the Lord and he heard them and raised up another leader who would deliver them. Then there would be a time of peace during the life of that leader (Judge). After the leader’s death, the cycle would begin again. (Judges 2:10-19) This is repeated seven times in the Book of Judges!
I see this kind of cycle also present in our culture today. A godly leader teaches and preaches and lives out God’s Word and a revival springs up in a home or church or city. (That leader can be a father or mother, pastor or Sunday School teacher, or a janitor who loves the Lord.) The fires of the Spirit are stoked with prayer and faithful, anointed preaching of the whole counsel of God. The land enjoys peace until another generation arises who did not experience God moving. They fall into bondage as they drift away from the Lord. Will you stoke the fires of the Spirit today by praying and reading God’s holy Word? God will anoint you afresh with the Holy Spirit and Fire from on high! (Matthew 3:11)