And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.
I recently heard the old song, Eternal Flame by The Bangles. It asks the question, “Is this burning an eternal flame?” It got me to thinking about this eternal flame. She wants to know if the feeling she has, something she apparently equates with love, will last forever.
I realized there is no such thing as a flame that continues to last. If you light a house on fire, will it not stop burning when the house is gone? There must be fuel for the fire in order for a fire to burn. No flame will last unless fuel is constantly provided.
In Leviticus chapter 6, the priests are commanded to place wood on the altar every morning and to keep the fire burning continually. Also, each morning, a sacrifice must be made.
This teaches us several things.
First, it requires a giving of resources. Wood must be provided for the fire. How would we obtain the wood today? We either purchase it or we invest our time to go out and chop down a tree and cut it into logs for the fire. Either way, it can be a serious investment of our resources.
Secondly, it requires work. Obtaining the resources (wood) requires work, whether you worked to earn the money to buy it or worked to cut it yourself. It also requires work to carry the wood to the altar, arrange it on the altar, and stoke the fire. If anyone has ever cut and/or carried firewood, you know that it requires work.
Third, you have to take responsibility for your own messes. When you burn a fire, it’s going to produce ash and soot. You have to scoop that out, clean up the area, and dispose of it properly, making sure the fire keeps going in the process.
If you want your love for your spouse or for God to continue to last, it takes work every day. Every morning, we must start fresh with a fresh batch of wood on the altar. In addition to saying, “I love you” to your spouse, you need to DO something to show your love. It’s a work that must be done.
We must also place a sacrifice upon the fire. Love is not love without making sacrifices in our lives for the one we love.
Throughout the day, we need to make sure we are continually working to provide resources for the next day’s fire of love. We must also work throughout the day to keep the area cleaned up. We don’t want the fire of love to be suffocated by a large pile of ash.
So many of us want the eternal flame in our lives, but how many of us while dating only ask, “Is this an eternal flame,” when we should be asking, “am I willing to do the work to keep this flame going eternally?”