Song: Another in the Fire
Artist: Hillsong United
Last October, my position was cut at work. The HR manager and my boss both told me that it had nothing to do with my work ethic or my character, but I had the least experience, and someone had to be cut. I spent the next month and a half looking for work. I looked for jobs in engineering (my degree), in military or national security (a passion), and in worship ministry (God’s calling, but I didn’t know it yet). Toward the end of my severance, I started to worry. I have student loans and a car payment every month. I had an apartment. I had a pet to feed and keep healthy. I started to worry that it would be difficult to find a job because it had taken me several months to find that one. It was around the time of my most crippling worrying that God used this song to speak His truth, THE truth, into my life. Like all of us who follow Him, God was with me all my past days, He is with me today, and He will be with me for the rest of my days. This assurance got me through that uncertain time, and I bet many of you can relate to that now. With this in mind, let’s look at my current favorite worship song Another in the Fire.
“There’s a grace when the heart is under fire, another way when the walls are closing in”
There is a spiritual war going on for the soul of every human. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8, NASB) Temptation, struggle, and hardship are things that are common to all mankind. Paul says in his first letter to the church in Corinth “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NASB) The enemy attacks each one of us all day, every day. He knows us well. He has been watching us since we were born and knows exactly how to attack us. But Jesus, the spotless Lamb, who lived as a human and went through every temptation that we go through, but succumbed to none of them, offers us strength and/or a way out when we are under fire. Praise be to God!
“And when I look at the space between where I used to be and this reckoning, I know I will never be alone”
This verse shows how we as Christians should view God when we are in the midst of trials. The author said he looked at the space between where he was and where he is now during the trial, and that showed him that he would never be alone. God is with us. He said so in the Old Testament (Joshua 1:9) and Jesus says so in the New Testament (Matthew 28:20). That proves God is with us.
“There WAS another in the fire standing next to me, there WAS another in the waters holding back the sea, and should I ever need reminding of how I’ve been set free, there is a cross that bears the burden where another died for me” (Emphasis added)
My favorite thing about the chorus is that there are essentially three variations that illustrate the same point. In the first chorus, the author uses the word “was”. God was with us in our past. God was with all the faithful in history. Here, the author uses two instances of God saving His people in very powerful ways. For more on these instances read Daniel 3 and Exodus 14. The last two lines of the chorus change each time the chorus is sung. Jesus released us from captivity to sin and death by giving His life for ours. This last part of the chorus says that beautifully. It’s a reminder of the fact that we have been set free, as well as the fact that it wasn’t anything we have done. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NASB)
“All my debt left for dead beneath the waters, I’m no longer a slave to my sin anymore”
Two things come to mind with the first part of this verse. First, I am reminded of the account of the Israelites’ escape from Egypt and God protecting them from Pharaoh’s army. They, the Egyptians, were all killed when the sea fell back in on them. But I am also reminded of baptism. When we are baptized, we are declaring ourselves set apart for God and declaring that we are living a new life, washed by His blood. When we are baptized, and therefore claim the new life offered by God, our debt to sin and death is dead in the water behind us. Praise be to God for the gift of reconciliation with Him! As mentioned earlier in this devotional, we are not slaves to sin in our new life. See Romans 6:1-7.
“And should I fall in the space between what remains of me and this reckoning, either way I won’t bow to the things of this world, and I know I will never be alone”
In Romans 6, Paul asks on more than one occasion if we as Christians should do something sinful because of grace. Paul’s response to this question is, in Greek, μὴ γένοιτο (pronounced may ge-nuh-toe). It essentially translates to “May it never be!” or “God forbid!” It’s the most forceful response Paul ever gives in scripture. It’s not just “no”, but “NO WAY”. Here, Paul is asking, should we sin so that grace can abound? Or because we are not under the law (Old Testament law) but under grace (New Testament law)? Absolutely not! But I think this response also applies to our dealing with falling to temptation or trials. When we are tempted, should we succumb to it and let it rule over us? μὴ γένοιτο! May it never be! Even though we do fall, through Christ’s work on the cross, we are able to get back up, repent of our sin, and bow to the One on the throne instead
“There IS another in the fire standing next to me, there IS another in the waters holding back the sea, and should I ever need reminding what power set me free, there is a grave that holds no body and now that power lives in me” (Emphasis added)
The first lines of this second chorus are the same as the first, except instead of saying “was”, it says “is”. God IS with us when we are thrown into the fiery furnace. God IS with us when we are being chased by the enemy and walking through the sea. God is with us NOW as well. The last part of the chorus says if we ever need reminding of what power set us free, look to the empty tomb and see that power. Not only that, but we have that same power, and MORE, through Christ. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will also do; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12, NASB).
“I can see the Light in the darkness as the darkness bows to Him”
In the beginning of John’s gospel, he talks about the deity of Christ. See verse 5, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (NASB) Other versions say overcome instead of comprehend. In science, it is understood in most cases (barring something like a black hole as far as my knowledge goes) that no amount of darkness can overcome a light. A room can be pitch-black but strike a single match and the light will shine. In this lyric, Jesus is the light, and the things of the enemy are the darkness. All things will bow to Him in the end, and all demons bow to Him now. See the response of the demons in the man in Mark 5:6-7. “Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; and shouting with a loud voice, he said, ‘What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!’”
“I can hear the roar in the heavens as the space between wears thin”
Many times in the book of Revelation, John describes the heavenly host as worshipping God. “Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.’” (Revelation 19:6, NASB) As we draw nearer to God, we can hear the roar of the heavens because our worship and theirs will echo each other.
“I can feel the ground shake beneath us as the prison walls cave in”
Jesus is in the business of setting us free from captivity. He set us free from sin and death through His death and resurrection, and He seeks to save us from our own personal bondages. This won’t always be the same for each person. Someone may be delivered completely from an alcohol or drug addiction, but someone else may deal with theirs for the rest of their life, having to rely on the strength of God to sustain themselves. I won’t venture to say why God operates the way He does, but I know He has perfect vision and does all things for our ultimate good and His glory.
“Nothing stands between us, nothing stands between us”
When Jesus breathed His last and died on the cross many physical things happened in the world. One thing that happened was the veil was torn in the Holy of Holies, the most sacred place that God dwelled. This signified that we are no longer forced to be apart from God, but we can now approach Him because we are covered by the blood of the Lamb.
“There is no other name but the name that is Jesus, He who was and still is and will be through it all”
With one of Jesus’ ‘I AM’ statements, He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (part of John 14:6, NASB) There is no other name by which we are saved. The second part of this lyric emphasizes the message of this song, and declares truth about Jesus: Jesus was (existed for eternity past), is (exists now with all of us), and is to come (will exist with us for eternity future).
“So come what may in the space between all the things unseen and this reckoning, and I know I will never be alone, I know I will never be alone”
Here, the author declares that no matter what comes, in all the things that can’t be known by us, we know that we will never be alone.
“THERE’LL BE another in the fire standing next to me, THERE’LL BE another in the waters holding back the seas, and should I ever need reminding how good You’ve been to me, I’ll count the joy come every battle, ‘cause I know that’s where You’ll be” (Emphasis added)
This part of the song may be the most difficult for me to put into practice. The author writes that if he needs reminding of God’s goodness, then he will rejoice in the battles because he knows God is there with Him. I may know that God is with me in the battles, but how often do I rejoice in the battle? In James chapter 1, he says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4, NASB). We should rejoice in our suffering. Look at the apostles’ response to suffering in Acts 5: “They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:40-42, NASB)
Challenge: When you listen to this song, don’t listen to it passively. Read the lyrics. Declare God’s truth over your life. Write on a piece of paper times in your past where God has been faithful to you. Use this as a reminder when things are difficult. Read the passages referenced in this devotional. God WAS with you, God IS with you, and God WILL BE with you for the rest of eternity. Thank God for His faithfulness. Praise be to God. Amen.