The Angel in the Flame

Jonathan Brownson

READ : Judges 13:15-25

And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up

in the flame of the altar. (v. 20)

When Samson’s parents offer their gifts of grain and goat to the Lord something strange
happens. The angel of the Lord steps into and up through the flame. The one who asks them
to burn the offering in a sense becomes the offering.

There is a mystery to this messenger. The parents never see him again. He doesn’t tell
them his name and leaves without them fully understanding his mission.

The angel of the Lord’s action suggests something more here, that there is one who
is willing and able to step into the fire with us. I think of what Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego discovered in their trial in the fiery furnace. In our “burnt offerings” and
“fiery trials” we are not alone.

Gold takes a lot of heat to refine (3,000 degrees of it). People do too. Next time we
wonder whether we can stand the heat, let’s remember these messengers.

God doesn’t leave us alone in the fire, staying safely outside and waiting for us to
burn. In this Old Testament encounter he sends an angel. In the New Testament he sends the
Savior. Jesus when lifted up on the cross becomes that messenger in the flame ascending
toward heaven for us.

PRAYER

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you not only walk into the flame, you rise above

it. In the strangeness of these Old Testament encounters show us afresh the mystery and

mercy of your sacrifice for us.