The Smell of Sulfur
At the church service this past Sunday, my church presented tables of candles with boxes of matches on them. Our pastor offered the salvation prayer, and he invited anyone who made the decision to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior to walk to a table, and light a candle. I was sitting near one of the tables. After a few people came down and lit candles, I noticed a sweet smell from the candles mixed with a scent that I know originated from the match-head. In the quietness of my own thoughts, as I wiped a few tears away (I always tear up when people get saved), I imagined their salvation prayers being received in Heaven in the form of a beautiful scent.
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
As the Scripture came to my mind, I thought of a group of particularly beautiful green bushes down near the library by my house. Every time I run past them, I smell their little purple flowers; it smells like a fresh, sweet spring-time, perfume. I don’t know what that bush is called, but I must find out. It always makes me think of people’s prayers and offerings being sent up to Heaven. I bet the scent of praise is 100 million times more powerful than those little purple flowers.
For some reason, the smell of the matches lingered in my mind. I couldn’t quite figure out what that different smell (from the match-head) was. So, I asked my husband. “It’s the sulfur in the match head,” he said in a nonchalant tone. He knows so many things that I’ve never even contemplated. Immediately, my mind ran to the book of Revelations!
When the thousand years were over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth–Gog and Magog–to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand of the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. The devil who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
This theme of sulfur is particularly interesting to me because a few weeks ago, I had an almost fatal reaction to some sulfur tablets that I was taking to clear up my adult acne (a 30 something year old lady should not have to deal with wrinkles and pimples. One or the other, please). After I received my shots in a particular part of my body that I won’t mention to stop the allergic reaction from closing my airways, I was reading Scriptures and realized that the lake that the devil is thrown into at the end of times is sulfur. I just thought it was very interesting that the exact same chemical that fills the lake in which the devil is drowned, almost closed my airways!
It seemed to me, that the theme of sulfur was lingering in my mind. So, when my husband said that the chemical in the match-head was sulfur, I remembered the lake of sulfur, and I got really, really excited! Are you as excited as me? Well, I became so excited that I couldn’t even get my words out. My husband said I was cute, but I was just bubbling with excitement over the theme of sulfur! When I calmed down, I told my husband what I came to understand.
“Each time a person got saved and lit a match today, it represented their soul being ignited with the power of Jesus Christ.” As the pastor said today, a match is just a match until it is purposely struck against the box, and then it is lit. It takes action to do this. Without the will of a person, it’s just an unlit match among many other matches in a dark box. But when the will of a person is combined with the action and decision for Jesus Christ, that one match (person) becomes a powerhouse for the Kingdom – ignited by the power of Jesus Christ! I think it’s amazing that God calls his angels winds and his servants flames of fire!
“He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.”
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.
Everyone will be salted with fire.
I have come to bring fire on the earth.
For our God is a consuming Fire.
Every time I light a match, I am going to think differently about it. I am going to pray for someone I know who is not saved to be saved, and in my mind, I will imagine the lake of sulfur; its level will be a little lower with each rescued life. People are saved by and through the power of Jesus Christ. And just as it takes the will and action of a person – along with the igniting chemical of sulfur - to light a match-head, it takes the will and action of a person to submit to the risen Savior and receive the igniting Power of Jesus Christ in their life.
… a lake of sulfur – amazing!
God is such a God of connectedness. Look around and you will see Him everywhere. Watch as He connects the nuances of your everyday moments into the tapestry of your life. Everything is connected. God is our Father, and He wants to teach us so much in the midst of our everyday lives. The lessons and themes that He reveals is thrilling!
Hey, as a reminder of this lesson, maybe we should have boxes of matches made that say: “Warriors Ignite!”
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her website, https://kristinaseymour.com/. God loves to share His story of love and grace through us all, and Kristina believes that everyone has a story to tell.