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 He who walks righteously
and speaks what is right,
who rejects gain from extortion
and keeps his hand from accepting bribes,
who stops his ears against plots of murder
and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil-
16 this is the man who will dwell on the heights,
whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.
His bread will be supplied,
and water will not fail him.
And yet, we have an advocate who stands before the Father and not only represents us but pays the price for our sin, Jesus Christ the Righteous One (1 John 2:1-2). "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments," (1 John 2:3).
To those who know Him and obey Him, turning from evil, the promise is prosperity (will dwell on the heights), protection (refuge will be the mountain fortress) and provision (bread and water endlessly supplied). To those who know Him, the Consuming Fire, He becomes a Refiners Fire, purifying His people and preparing them for His service (Malachi 3:2-4).
The key to eternal life is to know the refining fire before one must experience the consuming fire.
Lord, teach me to remember Your fire. "Be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap....Sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; ... purify (me) like gold and silver. Let me "bring offerings in righteousness," that they may "be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years." (Mal. 3:2-4)