“Fire continually burning”
The fire of the altar shall be burning in it. —Leviticus 6:9
Read Leviticus 6:8-13
After relating the most important offerings, the book of Leviticus follows with some general directions about them. One of the most central themes is the significance of the fire upon the altar of burnt offerings. The Lord Himself had ignited this fire, and that is why it was to burn continually night and day. The offerings brought there had to be consumed constantly, and only the ashes could be removed. This placed quite a demand upon the priests since the fire had to burn throughout the night. Not only did the priests have to attend to the offerings themselves, but the grate had to be cleaned and the ashes removed.
There is also a lesson in these directives for us: if you wish to live your life in the service of the Lord you must not think too highly of yourself. That life will require denying oneself the inclination to sin. Cleaning the grate was a thankless, un-glamorous job, but many seemingly small things are important in God’s kingdom. The emphasis in these verses, however, is not on humility, but on the fire that had to burn continually. Israel would be unfaithful to their calling if the fire were not being fed, for forgiveness was continually necessary. Our life’s path can be found by the “fire” of the Gospel, for it illuminates forgiveness and redemption. God’s Word is a light on our path.
Why did the fire on the burnt offering altar have to burn continually?