Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him. (Nahum 1:6, ESV)
What a defender! What an enemy! Which would you choose to have him as, defender or enemy? It seems obvious which position would be the most desirable.
But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. (Jeremiah 10:10, ESV) His fury is poured out like fire, like molten metal, like lava. There is no resisting it.
In the King James we see “rocks thrown down”. Like projectiles, is my first thought. However Janison, Faust, Brown translate it more closely to “rocks burnt asunder” , The usual effect of volcanic fire. Even the rocks cannot withstand the fire of God. What chance do humans have? These commentators also report, I did not know this, that Hannibal demolished otherwise impassable and immovable rocks from his Alpine path to make a passage for his troops by use of what I call “fire-fire.”
I recently watched a television series that followed a small group of men who were gemstone hunters. Each episode these men traveled to a different remote area of the world where different gemstones were found. They helped the locals, usually very small poor communities or families, develop their mining process in return for receiving first opportunity to buy the gems produced.
In one episode, I do not remember where or which gym they were searching for, the locals had dug out by hand a pit approximately 50 feet deep. At the bottom of the pit they had uncovered a solid vein of quartz which contained the sought after gems. Their next problem was how to break open these solid seams of quartz with rudimentary handed tools.
The procedure they have used for years they called fire-fire. After excavating the soil and rocks above the vein they built a huge bonfire which they kept going for most of a day. This was somewhat effective at times in cracking the quartz a bit. Then, while the pit and quartz vein was still very hot they poured huge amounts of water into the pit.
The fire caused the crystals to expand. Then the water caused this vein of nearly impervious quartz to suddenly contract and fracture.
The procedure did work. However, it worked so well that not only were they able to get to the gemstones, the gemstones themselves also cracked, in many cases, so small as to be nearly unusable. Fire-fire worked. It worked too well. Fire-fire reduced even quartz and gemstones to gravel.
This gives me a whole new appreciation for the verse that says our God is a consuming fire!
“Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain (a way his enemies described themselves) declares the LORD, which destroys the whole earth; I will stretch out my hand against you, and roll you down from the crags, and make you a burnt mountain. No stone shall be taken from you for a corner and no stone for a foundation, but you shall be a perpetual waste, declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 51:25, ESV)