Firewood Abolished

by Joe Becker

From the setting of our mid-winter’s kitchen, I said to Vicki, “Today I’ll devote my time to moving some firewood.” Just then, I was reminded of our yearly Lenten Devotional here at CABC and realized my contribution to it.

Three decades ago, the five acres we built on had numerous trees growing on the fringes of the property. Since then, many more trees were planted and additional trees have grown up on their own. In most years, we’ve been able to supplement our firewood needs—a woodstove and a fire bowl. I can still remember how, early on, the thick understory of wild vines and brambles had caused me to recall, “The ground will produce thorns and thistles for you.” (Genesis 3:18)

But today I found myself curiously looking for Scripture in reference to firewood. It was interesting to me that most Old Testament references have all to do with burnt offerings and sacrifices. It impresses me to understand how great the need for firewood must have been—firewood for the kitchens and the altars of the Temple(s). It also strikes me to see how precious and few are any New Testament references to firewood. Indeed, they are practically nil. Why such little mention of what was probably a commodity?

In Psalm 40: 6-8, we are given passage to the heart of the matter of firewood, not for altar fire, woodstoves or fire bowls, but of Priestly Duty:

…Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
But my ears you have pierced; but a body you prepared for me;
With burnt offerings and sin offerings
You did not require; you were not pleased…

The Author of Hebrews repeats David the Psalmist/Prophet in Hebrews 10:5-7, and further presents all that is entailed within that Chapter. Until at last it culminates in explaining how, because of the obedience of Christ our High Priest, there is no more need of firewood. There is simply no place or function for it in the Temple. Hence, no direct reference to firewood in the New Testament.

Dear Father, as we focus this day on your provision for our need of a priest, we are fervent in prayer for our remembrance of the Blood and Body of Christ, who is our High Priest forever. For it is in that blood, not of bulls and goats, that we find the Comfort and Hope of Forgiveness. This season, approaching Easter Morning, cause our recall of your Word O God, our Salvation. Amen.

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