Strange Fire of Our Presumption
With Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
Special guest: Jennifer Wentzel
(M) We’re all meeting here on a Sunday, and Jennifer had some just marvelous insights, and so I wanted her to share them with you because they’re sort of fresh ideas, fresh from her walk and experience with the Lord. One of the startling things that Jen shared out of her walk and her experience was from Isaiah 50. I’ve never heard it put this way. It demonstrates a radical encounter with God that she’s had. And it’s the place where it says, “Go ahead and make your strange fire, but this you shall have at My hand: you will lie down in torment.” And strange fire is doing something God hasn’t called for, by a power that is of the flesh. It’s presumption. It’s making a ministry God didn’t call for; that kind of thing is strange fire. But tell me why you, how you see that Jennifer.
(Jennifer) Well, that verse with the strange fire, I also want to hit on the Amplified calls it; it says, “Behold all you enemies of your own selves, who attempt to kindle your own fires.” Which would be in some versions, it’s strange fire, “and work out your own plans of salvation.” And that was a real piercing for me personally, and what stuck out. And what followed was, “who surround and gird yourselves with momentary sparks, darts, and firebrands that you set aflame!” So the whole thing was… I mean it could not get more personal in terms of who’s initiating my salvation. Is He the One who’s in charge of my salvation, or am I searching through the scripture and finding ‘my sparks’, and surrounding myself with that, and saying this is what He’s saying to me, and this is what’s going on. And of course, yes, that’s exactly where I was. And the part that Martha’s talking about, “But his you shall have from My hand: you shall lie down in grief and in torment.” After the repentance and the reconciliation with Him, the revelation was His love, and in seeing so perfectly how wrongly I had viewed His wrath, His chastening. You know, I say His wrath, because to me that’s kind of the most extreme of His love, as I now see it. But the promise that He makes is that if this is the way we go, if we’re determined to save ourselves, to work out our own redemption, to initiate beyond Him, then what we have from Him is grief and torment. And it’s a… I saw it as a promise, and I saw it as a promise of such love, that He would not allow us to go our own way with peace, and to be comforted and to be happy in it. Because you know, the lengths we go to, even in torment, are shocking. And now I’m speaking about myself here, how much further, and what more evil would I do if I was completely comforted in the knowledge that I was fine, and if I had peace, and if I could sleep, and go through every day happy and with no thought. And it was just so huge, His love, so enormous His love, and to extremes that I, I just, I didn’t see before. That what that is, is insane, even to people that do that, that will go there. And what I see with the strange fire is, put His Name on it. That kind of level of just audacious evil, which of course I was, I was very much in. And for that person, that level of evil, He still has that much love that He says you will not be left in it in peace. You will not be left in it to live a happy, wonderful life that’s just ‘la-la-la’. No, “this you will have from My hand: you will lie down in grief and torment.” And I… That’s kind of scandalous, because we don’t, we don’t talk about love in those terms, and I’ve never seen before just how huge it is to love someone that much to… You know it’s one thing to say it, but it’s another thing to realize that grief and torment coming from His hand is, is (Jennifer laughs) the measure of His love for me, and how completely and totally committed He is to giving me every single opportunity to see Him for Who He is, and to say yes to that. And that seeing is so very important. And that was what it took for me to get there, and to even get a glimpse of Him, and to realize that, you know, once you’ve seen that… I’ve talked about transformation, and I’ve talked about a new life, and uhmm… No, (Jennifer laughs) The real transformation is miraculous, it can’t be charted. I don’t have words for it. I just wake up every day and I’m not… I don’t really have a clear recollection, please don’t misunderstand me, I’m well aware of what I’ve done and where I’ve been, it’s not a discounting of that. It is that I’m completely taken outside of my ‘self’. I’m freed from that, I’m not dwelling in that. And I have Him, and I have Someone to look at, and to wake up and say good-morning to. And, and it’s not an attempt, it’s not hard, it’s not ‘trying’, it’s just being His. And that was a product of seeing, and the seeing didn’t come until He loved me enough to lie me down in grief and torment, under His hand.
(M) And His wrath gave you a fear of Him for the first time.
(Jennifer) Absolutely. Absolutely. (Jennifer laughs) I hate even saying it, because it’s both ridiculous, and beyond arrogant, but without the seeing of Him, without being afraid of Him because of Who He is, you know without that you don’t even… You say you understand that verse where it says, “Don’t fear other people, fear the One Who can kill body and soul”, or send body and soul to hell, I’m botching it. I’m sorry, but the fear has to come first, because otherwise you’re the biggest thing. You know? And I had always viewed myself as the biggest impediment to a good life and this, that and…or, oh, you’re always messing things up, and oh you’re always wrecking… It was about me, what I had done, what I had messed up. And (Jennifer laughs) the wrath of God came, and the fear was enormous, because even a glimpse of that, and you just fall on your face and beg to be saved, because He’s God. And ah, (Jennifer laughs) that’s worth anything, really, that wrath was, I welcome it, yes.
(M) And what’s so amazing is such a paradox, that in the wrath came the most outlandish, pouring on you of love, and into you of love; and coming out of you is love.
(M) That is an amazing thing, to see Him as God, is to love Him.