#21: February 7, 2008

It’s getting rather tough. I’m now approaching the section of the Bible with all the descriptive imagery of building the tabernacle and its furnishings. And yes I almost thought, this looks so dull and uninspiring in terms of insight, until… Anyways today’s reading was taken from Exodus 25-27.

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You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel.
Exodus 27:20-21

First, I must marvel at the precision with which God gave instructions. It really does show that our God is a God of order, that our science and technology today are reflections of this particular nature of God. But this pattern does repeat itself constantly across the next few chapters. And as much as I enjoy seeing God as a God of order and creative design, I would love to be able to write something different in this space every day.

Then I came across this verse above. Why keep a lamp burning?

I believe it’s a symbolic reminder of the presence of God in the lives of the Israelites.

Similarly today, we have our own lamp. And I believe we are commanded to keep it burning. Not with olive oil, but with the Word of God and with prayer. And we are to let it burn bright through our good deeds. Jesus called us to be the light of the world, to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.

And it’s particularly important that it continues burning. Because it is a reminder of what Jesus has done for us, redeeming us for good works. In Revelation, Jesus warns the church at Ephesus with this sort of symbolism, to repent and return to their first love, or have their lampstand remove from its place. That is indeed a serious situation to be in. If our lampstand is removed, we are no longer light, but are in the darkness. And those in the darkness will perish.

It is particularly serious that we let our light shine before men. There’s no such thing as a decorative lampstand. But here’s the upside. We would be foolish not to do so. Jesus promises, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven
Matthew 5:14-16

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