Musing Over the Fire
As a Texan, I just spent my first winter in Northwest Illinois where temperatures drop well below zero. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the cold knows the comfort that a warm crackling fire can bring to the soul. One must admit how captivating it can be. Whether it be a bonfire after cleaning up trees in the fall, sitting around a fire pit with friends, or at your own wood stove that must continually be stoked, it has a way of holding your attention.
To me, fires, maybe due to the partial pyro in me, are quite entertaining and amusing; however, I often find them entrancing me into deep thought, which cause me to muse over the fire.
Psalm 39:3 says, “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:…”
This psalm was inspired while a fire was burning. It was a time when David the psalmist was contemplating life’s purpose and vanities. This fire allowed him to think deeply while it burned within him.
Definitions from Webster’s 1828 dictionary:
Entertainment: “The amusement, pleasure or instruction, derived from conversation, discourse, argument, oratory, music, dramatic performances, etc.; the pleasure which the mind receives from anything interesting, and which holds or arrests the attention.”
Amusement: “That which amuses, detains or engages the mind; entertainment of the mind; pastime; a pleasurable occupation of the senses, or that which furnishes it, as dancing, sports or music.”
Amuse: “To entertain the mind agreeably; to occupy or detain attention with agreeable objects, whether by singing, conversation, or a show of curiosities.”
Muse: (Noun) “Deep thought; close attention or contemplation which abstracts the minds from passing scenes; hence sometimes, absence of mind.” (Verb) “To ponder; to think closely; to study in silence. To be absent in mind; to be so occupied in study or contemplation, as not to observe passing scenes or things present. To think on; to meditate on.”
Often, we try to escape the realities of life by seeking amusement. We turn on the television, the playlist from iTunes, the auto play on YouTube, scroll through social media or the contacts on our phones, and even lose ourselves in a good novel for that matter. Something to drown out the silence; something to distract us from what’s important; something to grab our attention for temporary relief of our burden. Not all amusement and entertainment are bad, but it can be if substituted for something more vital, like getting alone with God and thinking and praying through until you have the solution or come to your resolve.
I strongly believe that the greatest entertainment (the thing most worthy of beholding your attention) is God Himself! Psalm 143:5 says “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands.”
What’s burning within you most?
Jeremiah had a burning within him: “For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction, because for me the word of the LORD has resulted in reproach and derision all day long. But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:8-9)
Two of the disciples were walking with the risen Christ and didn’t even recognize him. After the Lord vanished from their eyes, Luke 24:32 says, “They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’”
What, or should I say who, holds your attention?
With that, I don’t believe the fire David speaks of was literal, but just a metaphor of the fire burning within himself where he took his burdens before God. Nonetheless, if you find yourself like me, who enjoys beholding the fire before you, begin to heed David’s wisdom and muse while it burns rather than merely seek to be entertained!
*All Scripture used from the NASB