2 CHRON.7:1-3 – As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
This passage is intended to be a glimpse into the holiness and power of the New Testament church. Several things beg for our attention; first, fire consumed the offering. We are that offering in the New Testament. We offer our hearts on the altar of God and He comes and consumes us. Next, the glory entered His house. The Church is intended to be the place of His presence. When we gather together in His Name His fire will fall on us. Finally we see that the priests could not even stand in His presence. Many Christians have no idea of the manifest presence of God. When the Lord falls in His house it is common for people to end up on the ground like these priests. Here is how Matthew Henry describes this passage.
“The people worshipped and praised God. When they saw the fire of God come down from heaven thus they did not run away affrighted, but kept their ground in the courts of the Lord, and took occasion from it. With reverence to adore the glory of God: They bowed their faces to the ground and worshipped, thus expressing their awful dread of the divine majesty, their cheerful submission to the divine authority, and the sense they had of their unworthiness to come into God’s presence and their inability to stand before the power of his wrath.”
Henry is describing something the modern day church knows little about that comes from preaching just part of the gospel. God is good and forgives sin, God is also holy and despises sin. Both truths are overwhelming. When God comes down we are instantly confronted with His mercy and His holiness. Lord come and visit your church one more time.