“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
“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 5:16
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may 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 2:14-15
Many would resist an overnight responsibility, but what a privileged appointment for Aaron and his sons to tend the always-burning lamps. Pure beaten oil for regular ongoing flame would bring light to darkness at the tent of meeting, the place where man met with God. It was a visual reminder that the Lord was with them day and night, forever present among His people.
God’s people today are called to The light of the gospel is a reminder that the Lord is ever nigh, that no darkness can overcome Him, that He dispels it with hope and eventual victory.
The discipline of routine lamp-burning and close proximity to the altar is a worthy statute. We are all responsible to be filled with the holy oil of the Spirit so we can set spiritual flame burning, bringing light that is penetrating, mesmerizing, attractive, and necessary into the world’s brooding night. As God’s royal priesthood, called out of darkness to marvelous, holy light, we’re to contribute to round-the-clock witness, proclaiming His excellencies whatever our place or position. From morning devotion to daily duties, interactions to transactions, griefs to challenges to insights, we hold out light for a needy, watching people. (Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 2:9)
Are we such faithful tenders? Daily we navigate cultural waters dark with confusion, spiritual void, violence, and dissension. Many have no moorings, and are adrift in meaningless mantras, lost and lonely. Societies, organizations, workplaces, and governments are desperately in need of goodness and unwavering, righteous standards. Rather than abdicate spiritual responsibility only to leaders, or surrender helplessly to sloth or apathy, we must tend the lamps!
When are we taking our fill of the Spirit’s oil of truth and perspective through worship, Bible study, and concentrated prayer? How willing are we to head into the night of unbelief with the Lord’s light? With whom will we converse about how God’s light saves, guides, and helps? Who needs the balm of comfort and peace the Spirit offers? Where has the Lord placed us to shine specific light?
“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.” ~Old Irish, translated by Mary Byrne (1905)
Lord, keep me faithful and steadfast, filled with You day and night to shine, spreading Your love, truth, and light to a needy world.