God had just brought His people out of Egypt and made a covenant with them at Mount Sinai. Among His commands, He gave instructions to make the Tabernacle, a portable Temple in which His people could draw near to Him, receive forgiveness, offer thanks, and strengthen their relationship with Him.
In the court of the Tabernacle was the altar. There, the sacrifices where offered, and only from there could the priests bring fire into the Holy Place for the incense. The fire of this altar could not be quenched or permitted to burn out. Yet, this was a portable temple. How did they transport this altar without putting out the flame? According to tradition, an overturned copper pot was placed over the coals in transit. Though not in full flame, the coals still burned hot until the Tabernacle reached its new location. Thus, the Levites were able to obey both commands by following His lead in the wilderness while keeping the fire of His altar alive.
In Christianity, we tend to think that if we aren’t “on fire for God” at all times, there must be something wrong with us. If we don’t feel it, then there must be something missing, right? We search for sermons that “speak” to us, and attend events so we can feel that spiritual “high.” If God does not speak earth-shattering and profound messages to us on a regular basis, we wonder if He is speaking at all.
My brothers, my sisters, don’t you know that we, His people, are His bride? Our relationship with our Savior is like a marriage. If a couple bases their marriage on “feeling it”, they tend to divorce. My husband and I based our marriage on covenant, a commitment. This means that we have our seasons of joy, grief, fun, mundane routine, illness, moods, and then those blossoms of romance. Through it all, we have our covenant. No matter how we feel, we have a promise to keep. (We wanted to make this promise for forever, but we settle for “’till death do we part.”) When the days don’t seem as great, we keep attending to our promise, serving each other and remaining faithful. The good days will come. The passion will rekindle in its time.
There is a season to be fully aflame for God, like an altar full of sacrifices on a feast day; there is a season to let the coals burn low as we follow His lead through the wilderness. There are times when He will reveal His amazing glory to us, and there are times when He will whisper to us softly. Sometimes we will find it easy to obey out of zeal, and sometimes we will obey only because we have to. We have an eternity of seasons to work through, and He remains faithful in His covenant to us through them all. If we believe on Him, we will be saved. If we look for Him, He will be found. If we obey Him, we will be blessed. Our feelings change, but our God remains constant. His promises stand. We only need remain faithful.