Why the Fire Picture?
Since I have had a few queries about why the book has the image of a fire on the front cover, I thought I would try to answer in a short post:
Firstly I love the image that the publisher, Instant Apostle, has chosen. With the white-hot centre of the fire, the red-orange flames, and the yellow-orange sparks flying upward, this could almost be representing the Trinity, the three in one, as a burning flame of fire. This is a thoroughly biblical image, as per Hebrews 12:29, “for our God is a consuming fire”. In fact the idea of using a fire image came from a good friend of mine who suggested some great fire pictures he had taken.
True praise is heart work. Like smoking incense, it rises from the glowing coals of devout affection. Essentially, it is not a thing of sound: sound is associated with it very properly for most weighty reasons, but still the essence and life of praise lie not in the voice, but in the soul. Your business in the congregation is to give to spiritual praise a suitable embodiment in harmonious notes.Charles H Spurgeon
I love this Spurgeon quote, which I have also used in the book. It is natural to us to think of praise in terms of singing and songs, but Spurgeon gets right to the heart of the matter – the human heart. The Lord is looking for worshippers, with true hearts expressing genuine adoration, burning with real wholehearted thanks and praise. This must be first and foremost at the level of the heart, and only then expressed – quite rightly – in songs and prayers, shouts, dances and so on. But if we were unable to make a sound, we could still worship.
Then there is a lovely picture in Revelation 8 verse 3 and 4:
Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.Revelation 8: 3,4
Here it seems that the prayers of God’s people have arisen to God like the smoke of burning incense. We can assume that the praises of the saints are included in the prayers, and there is the beautiful sense that all our prayers and praises are there before the Lord. The sparks, caught so beautifully by the photographer in the image, speak to me in the same way of our worship ascending to our God.
We might also mention that God appeared to Moses in flames of fire (Exodus 3:2), the Israelites heard God from out of the fire (Deuteronomy 4:36), and tongues of fire appeared when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3). I’ll finish with one final Bible quote, the disciples on the road to Emmaus:
They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?Luke 24:32