Calling Down Fire from Heaven Reflections on 2 Chronicles I vividly remember an evening I spent worshiping with persecuted Christians. It was loud and full of words of truth and visions that were clearly from God. But it was also peaceful. For this group of Christians, I thought, worshiping God is the ultimate experience and desire. They went to God to find refuge, while back home, I often went to worship services out of obligation. They saw fire where I simply saw routine. Their experience looked like the Bible, while mine was mundane. “When Solomon finished praying, then fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of Yahweh filled [the temple]” (2 Chr 7:1). What if our worship experiences looked like this? What if we are the ones choosing boring worship services while God is trying to provide us with a beautiful experience? In the early church, we see that worship was phenomenal: When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in the same place. And suddenly a sound like a violent rushing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. And divided tongues like fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them ability to speak out (Acts 2:1–4). It’s easy to excuse the early church’s experience as a one-time occurrence, but this doesn’t line up biblically. The temple dedication and Pentecost aren’t just moments that happened; they’re moments that happen. All of 1 Corinthians is about Paul trying to make the church orderly because worship is a bit too exciting. And Paul doesn’t tell them to stop; instead, he tells them that their focus should be love (1 Cor 13). Love naturally leads to God’s ways of doing things—it leads to him being glorified. And this is exactly what we see at Solomon’s temple dedication: And the priests were not able to go into the house of Yahweh, for the glory of Yahweh had filled the house. When all the Israelites saw the fire come down and the glory of Yahweh upon the house, they knelt down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to Yahweh, for he is good, for his loyal love is everlasting (2 Chr 7:2–3). Once love has led us to worship Yahweh—and to glorify him—we find that we are more grateful. We see ourselves giving thanks and proclaiming that “he is good” and that “his loyal love is everlasting.” My persecuted friends have found the true meaning of worship—finding refuge in a loving God. And when they do, out of love and thankfulness, they see spiritual fire come down from heaven, just like the early church did. They find power in God’s work and strength in him. They see a way forward, no matter what comes their way. May we do the same. John D. Barry Biblical References from LEB