Water washes things. Fire changes things.
"...you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance." - Psalm 66:12 ESV
"...when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning." - Isaiah 4:4 ESV
We have a gas stove. I like cooking with gas. The heat seems easier to control. Perhaps there is better technology out there but I and fond of gas stoves.
When the knob is turned the gas in released and something ignites it. It might be a pilot light that is always burning or it might be a sparker of some kind that makes a clicking noise when the knob is in a certain place.
Fire, water and abundance. That is the order. Fire cooks changing raw ingredients into food but intense fire purges. Water washes the grime away. Then God gives abundance.
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.' This phrase, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of things that are shaken - that is, things that have been made - in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." - Hebrews 12:22-29 ESV
It makes me think of holiness. The Spirit of Grace is also the Spirit of burning. Grace changes us and purges us.
"Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw - each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done." - 1 Corinthians 3:12-13 ESV
Holiness is what I want. Heat is required and a spark is required to turn that gas into flame so that the change can happen. If the materials are right the change is a melting change. Gold, silver and precious stones are not consumed... they are molded and set into place.
I look around and I see flammable culture and when people talk about wanting to exit a potential bonfire before it explodes into flame I understand that feeling.
When we know God's character and nature we have great respect for His power and we don't live in fear of His fire. It is controlled and His timing is always perfect. He is for us and never against us even if He turns something we were once fond of into ashes that need to be washed away.
Let's build on a foundation that can't be moved with materials that melt but don't burst into flame and if the fire touches our life then let the water of the word come in to wash away the ashes and cool us down again so that blessing can be abundant in our life.