“And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched.”Number 11:2
I remember as a kid playing a game called “Mercy”. You would typically match up with another person and they would twist the skin on your forearm until you cried “mercy!”. You would try to hold out as long as possible, and in some cases, you would determine not to say it all. I was always careful who I chose to play the game with, and I tried hard to not pick someone who was bigger than me even though I was pretty a small kid back in those days. I would certainly avoid the kids who were held back a grade as they were always bigger than everyone else. We would return from recess with our forearms beet-red and a burning sensation that would radiate long into the afternoon. I don’t know why we played this game, but we were not the brightest bunch in the school.
You might have also played the same game as a kid, and I’m not sure why anyone would think that game was fun. We tried to be tough, but there were times when my heart screamed “mercy!” but my mouth would not say the words. I would always try not to wimp out, and I foolishly paid for my so-called toughness. It is one thing to play mercy with kids, but it is quite another to play this game with God. Hebrews 10:31 states, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” God is not someone you play games with, but rather someone we must fear as we live out our lives. The children of Israel cried out to Moses and, in essence, cried out “mercy!” as many of them succumbed to the fire that came down from heaven.
There are times in our lives when we cry out for mercy. When the trials of life seem so great and too much to bear. When the unexpected catches us off guard and has devastating effects. When relationships you thought would last forever end unexpectedly, and you are in position you never thought you would be in. It could be the consequences you face after unwise or sinful decisions, and the aftermath of dealing with the situation can be discouraging and defeating.
The children of Israel had complained and displeased the Lord. The consequence of their complaining led to fire being brought from heaven, which is a frightening thing. I have seen large hail come from the sky, but I would be pleading for mercy along with the Israelites if I saw fire come from the sky.
Is there fire coming from the sky in your life? Do you need the mercy of God? Are you too proud to ask for it? Are you trying to live under the fire of life on your own? God does allow things in our lives for His honor and glory, and He is sovereign in all things. Will you trust Him amidst the fire? Will you draw closer to Him? God is only a prayer away, and may we never lose sight of the access we have to God through His Son.