This is part of a new series we’re calling, “Hello, My Name Is… A Series on the Names of God.” Look for the next installments to come throughout February. You can find the latest when you follow Tara’s author archive. We’ll add links to the whole Bible study once it’s complete.
Lesson Six: Consuming Fire/Jealous God
Main Idea: The Consuming Fire/Jealous God judges and punishes the wicked while, in his deep passion and jealousy for us, created a way for everyone to be saved.
Memory Verse: “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O LORD, do not abandon those who search for you.” Psalm 9:10
- Read lesson, Scripture references, and Deuteronomy 5:8-10, Deuteronomy 6:13-19, Isaiah 33:14-15 and Song of Solomon 8:6-7
- Gather: Bible, lesson plan, dry erase markers or chart paper and markers, red and blue scarves, crayons or markers and paper plates.
- To help keep track of the names of God learned over this series, write each lesson’s name of God on the board along with the main idea. Tape a strip of paper over the name, and one over the main idea. Use this to review the lesson as you go. Alternatively, use large flash cards with the name of God on the front and the main idea on the back. Create one of these every week and review with the class as you go.
- Take time to meditate on this lesson and apply it to your own life. We are a grace-soaked culture. In so many ways, this is a glorious thing. Abounding grace makes it easier for us to love our neighbors, both in the church pew and in the prison cell. But I think it can be easy to let our own hearts drown in grace. We love to hear that God is jealous for us and loves us, but this fruits of this love are diminished when we fail to recall that from which we have been saved. Take time to contemplate your own walk with God. Thank him for being the Consuming Fire that devours wickedness, as well being as the God that yearns jealously over you and takes away your sin. Repent of your sins and recommit to give him your whole heart and love, which he rightly deserves.
- Deuteronomy 4:23-24
- Deuteronomy 9:1-4
- Matthew 3:12
- Romans 3:23
- Romans 3:24-26
- Hebrews 12:28-29
- Exodus 20:3, 17
- Exodus 34:14
- Zechariah 8:2
Game: Fire/Freeze Tag
Clear a large space for this running game. In this version of tag, two students are “it.” The freezer wants to tag everyone so they cannot move, and the fire tagger wants to get everybody to hop up and down, as if they were standing hot coals. To tell the taggers apart, have the freeze tagger wear a blue headband (out of paper, a scarf, whatever you have,) and the fire tagger where red. When you say go, all the players scurry about the play area. If a player is tagged by the freeze tagger, the must stop moving and stand perfectly still. If a player is tagged by the fire tagger, they must stand in place and hop from one foot to the other. Play continues until everyone has been tagged. If there are more children tagged by the freeze tagger, the freeze tagger wins. If more people are tagged by the fire tagger, the fire tagger wins. Play a few rounds to give several children a chance to be “it.”
Message: Open in prayer, then say, Today we are going to learn about not one, but TWO names of God! Before we get started, let’s look back at the names we have learned so far. We have learned that God is our Strong Creator, who has big plans for us. His special, holy name is Yahweh, and he saves us from our sins through Jesus Christ. Then we learned that God is our good Master and we are his humble slaves. He blesses us when we follow his commands. Last week we learned that God is our loving father when we choose to follow him. As we studied these names, we saw in all of them that God loves us. We saw that God loves us so much that he sent his son Jesus to die for our sins. The Bible is all about God’s love for us. The two names we will study today are no exception. Today’s names of God are Consuming Fire, and Jealous God. Let’s start by finding these names in the Bible with a sword drill. Take all bookmarks and fingers out of your Bibles and hold them above your heads. When I say go, turn to Deuteronomy 4:23-24. Go! (Read, or have a student read Deuteronomy 4:23-24.) “So be careful not to break the covenant the Lord your God has made with you. Do not make idols of any shape or form, for the Lord your God has forbidden this. The Lord your God is a devouring fire; he is a jealous God.”
We are looking at two names of God today because they are often seen together in Scripture and are like two sides of the same coin. One side of the coin is God: the devouring, consuming fire, and the other side is the jealous, passionate for us God. (On the board, write “consuming/devouring fire” and “Jealous God” next to each other.) Let’s look at the first name. The passage we just read says God is a devouring fire. What does it mean to devour something? (Allow students to answer.) To devour means to eat something up until there is nothing left. It’s like when you’re really hungry at dinner and you gobble up everything on your plate before anyone else can finish their food. So a devouring fire destroys everything in its path. So the translation I just read, the New Living Translation, uses the word “devouring.” Most English translations say “consuming.” Consuming and devouring both mean the same thing. So usually when you hear this name of God, you will hear it as “Consuming Fire.” When we hear that God is a Consuming Fire, we are reminded that he is perfectly perfect. He is holy and set apart. In his perfectness, he will judge the whole world and those who don’t believe in him will be devoured by his Consuming Fire. (On the board under “Consuming/Devouring Fire,” write “holy,” “perfect,” and “judge.”)
Now I need to pause here for a moment and discuss something important. I thought about skipping over this name of God. There are a LOT of names of God in the Bible, and we’re only looking at the most used, most well-known names of God throughout this study. But this name, God the Devouring Fire, seems different from the rest. I wanted to skip it because this name represents God’s judgement on people, and that is a difficult topic that no one wants to hear about. But I love you all. I love you all enough to tell you the truth. You have to know that God is full of grace and mercy and love. You know that he sent his son Jesus to die for us. It would be easy to leave it there. But as we are learning through studying the names of God, God, Yahweh, Elohim, Adonai, Abba, is very, very big. Keep this in mind: everything God does, he does out of love for us. This includes when we see God as a Consuming Fire. When we see God as the Consuming Fire, we see him judging and punishing the wicked. Let’s take a look at Deuteronomy 9:1-4. “Listen, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky! The people are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You’ve heard the saying, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’ But recognize today that the Lord your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the Lord has promised. After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say in your hearts, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way.” So in this passage, we see that the Israelites are getting ready to cross over into the Promised Land after wondering around in the desert for forty years. This says that God will go ahead of the Israelites and destroy the people who live in the Promised Land. He will destroy them not because the Israelites, who are God’s chosen people, are so good, but because the people who live in the Promised Land are so wicked. We see that God, the Devouring Fire, destroys the wicked.
So many people hate to hear that. We hate to hear verses like Matthew 3:12: “He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” Verses like this remind us that God will judge the wicked, the people who choose not to follow him. We don’t like it because it feels like it goes against God’s love. But really, God the Consuming Fire is a great reminder of his love.
God will punish the wicked. We are all wicked! Let’s have a sword drill to show us where the Bible tells us this. Take all bookmarks and fingers out of your Bibles and hold them above your heads. When I say go, turn to Romans 3:23. Go! (Read, or have a student read, Romans 3:23.) “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Does this mean that we will all be subject to the Devouring Fire? Are we all doomed?
No. God will consume the wicked. But he has made a way for everyone to be saved from his wrath. How can we be saved from God’s punishment? (Allow children to answer. This will give you an idea of your class’s understanding of the gospel. Try not to correct, just get an idea of what they think, and then present the gospel.) God has made a way for every single person in the world to be saved from the punishment of their sins. Romans 3:24-26 tells us exactly what this way is. Follow along as I read. “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”
God is perfect and holy and loves us so much that he does not want us to be punished for our sins. But if we choose to ignore God and do wrong things, then we will face the Consuming Fire. We can worship God with joy and respect because he is the Devouring Fire! (See Hebrews 12:28-29.)
This brings us to our next name. What is it? (Allow students to answer.) Our God is a Jealous God. What do you think of when you hear the word jealous? (Allow students to answer.) When we think of jealousy, we usually think of it as a bad thing. We think of how we get jealous when a friend gets a new video game we’ve been wanting. We call jealous people green-eyed monsters. When we think of jealousy, we think of the tenth commandment, which tells us not to covet. (Exodus 20:17) To covet is to really, really want what someone else has. But the jealousy of God is not like covetousness. It is not at all like human jealousy. God is perfectly pure, and his jealousy is perfectly pure too. So I’ve just reminded you about the tenth commandment. What is the first commandment? (Allow students to answer.) The first commandment is “You must not have any other god but me.” (Exodus 20:3.) Exodus 34:14 gives one reason why this is the first commandment. It says, “You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.” God is jealous about his relationship with you. He loves you and wants you to love him more than you love anyone or anything else in the whole world. This word for jealous isn’t like human jealousy. It isn’t like when you get jealous because your best friend sits with someone else at lunch. The word jealous, when it is talking about how God is a Jealous God, means passionate. God is crazy about you. He is right to be jealous for you, because as we have learned, God, Elohim, created you. God, Abba, is your heavenly Father. When you believe in Jesus and do your best to follow God, you belong to God. You are his humble servant and he is your Master, your Adonai. You belong to God. (On the board under “Jealous God,” write, “loves you like crazy,” “jealous for you,” and “you belong to God.”) Zechariah 8:2 says, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem!” God loves you so, so much, my dears. He loves you so much that he wants to save you from the punishment that you deserve for sinning. He sent his son Jesus to die for our sins so we don’t have to. Praise God, that he is Jealous for us, and that the Consuming Fire has made a way for us to be saved from our sins and to spend all of forever in Heaven with him!
Close in prayer.
Craft: Paper Plate Coins
Early in the lesson, I mentioned that today’s names of God are often seen together and are like two sides of the same coin. So for today’s craft, pass out white paper plates or large circles of paper. On one side, have the students write “Consuming Fire” and have them illustrate what this name of God means. On the other side, have them write “Jealous God” and illustrate this name.