You know, God loves a good old-fashioned barbecue and often you’re invited to a Bar-B-Q. We were in Israel a number of years back and some Jewish friends of ours said, “God loves a barbecue!” I knew what they were talking about, but it seemed a little flippant to talk about the sacrifices represented in the wilderness as a barbecue. Sacrifice after sacrifice, all presented before the Lord to satisfy Him. Think of all the burning flesh that wafted up to heaven in the wilderness. It’s such a perfect picture. God hates flesh and His solution is a barbecue.
So what is the purpose of this bonfire? Well, to be perfectly honest, it hasn’t changed much since the Israelis spent time in the wilderness. It’s purification, a cost to what you could have seen as supply. They brought these big beautiful beasts that could have fed them, and instead they burned them. Sound familiar? It’s a dependence-building that happens only with fire.
So now that we don’t burn beasts to satisfy our God, how does this practice relate to us today? Often God calls for a barbecue in our personal lives, a sacrifice and a surrender of things we hold dearest. Just lay it up there on the grill, douse it with some lighter fluid and toss a match. You have no idea what will be the outcome, for it’s a blaze. It’s crushing because it’s a death.
So why, why does our Lord call for these barbecues? Because as sheep of His shepherded flock, we often need the clarifying work that is only achieved through fire. It illumines the entire landscape. All our misconceptions, misdirection, false conclusions – all burn in the Lord’s barbecue. And what is left is a purified, holy purpose and what’s more—Him.
The barbecue in the wilderness lead His people to the presence and purpose of the Lord. Their sacrifices brought Him pleasure and satisfaction. He was given preeminence and ability to direct His children. Today, our personal barbecues reveal Him. He’s what rises from the flames. All that was flesh is gone and all that remains is Him. His plan, His purpose, His design and Himself.
So what do we call the barbecue today? The cross! Does it mean annihilation of everything? Not really. It means He is seen as Source, valued as the Orchestrator, and given His rightful place as Lord. The barbecue as I’m describing it is a tremendous work of the Spirit, used to set all things right.
Just as dross is removed from the firing of gold, so is the flesh removed from the barbecue set in our personal lives. It’s a releasing and letting go of all that “is” in order to receive all that’s “Him.” He is the meal provided at the end of our barbecue.
And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also]. For whoever would preserve his life and save it will lose and destroy it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he will preserve and save it [from the penalty of eternal death].
Luke 9:23-24 AMP