Tending the Night Shift

“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

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

“Be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15

Many would resist a night shift. But God’s assignments are not always our choice. What a privilege was the solemn, mostly silent responsibility of Aaron and his sons to tend the always-burning lamps. For them, this overnight task would be an ongoing picture of their ministry in Israel, bringing the light of God to a chosen people of dark nature.

The pure beaten oil of the Spirit for regular flame brings light to darkness that is penetrating, mesmerizing, and attractive. It is a reminder that the Lord is ever nigh, that no darkness can overcome Him, that He dispels it with hope. The Lord calls us all as His priests to trim the lamps of His light for a dark world. So how are we doing? (John 1:5; 1 Peter 2:9)

These are days of thick night of the soul. We navigate a world dark with confusion, violence, and dissension, desperately in need of goodness. Our words of truth may be hushed, or our bright witness smothered by disinterest or antagonistic disbelief. Our responsibility is to shine with pure light, and leave the rest to the Lord.

How well and clearly are we holding out the words of life? When under stress, how brightly do we shine a holy demeanor, and how warm and inviting are our words? Maybe our lamps blaze in the daylight of good company and Christian fellowship, but glow only dimly in the night watches of the world? Is there fear, cowardice, or apathy that needs confessing?

Perhaps we are in a season where prayer is our lamp, a constant offering of Spirit-led praise and supplication to the Lord? How faithful are we to watch, and wait, and claim His promises? How closely do we follow His calling and word as we beseech Him? (Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 6:23; Matthew 25:1-13; 26:40-41)

What will it take for us to be such lamp tenders that the darkness around us is dispelled, and the splendor of Christ revealed?

O Father, fill the lamp of my mind and heart with Your brilliant love and resplendent grace. Help me be willing and brave to stand up and out for You in this dark world, however You lead me, that You are greatly glorified.

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