This Little Light
|Nic Taylor — Google Images|
“Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. In the Tent of Meeting, outside the curtain that is in front of the Testimony, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning. This is to be lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come” (Exodus 27:20, 21).
Olive oil is good stuff. But you have to be careful when using it because it catches fire at a lower temperature than other oils—this I know because I had a small kitchen fire of my own when I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening in the frying pan!
In this account, we see that the oil was to be uncontaminated—clear—so that there would be no sputtering or spitting. The lamps must be kept burning without hesitation. Someone had to watch the lamps all night to make sure they didn’t go out. This was the task of the priest and his sons. My mind immediately went back to the story of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3. Eli was priest at the time, and his sons were supposed to be tending to their duties in the Tabernacle. But they were derelict in their duties, and Samuel, who had been given to the service of the Lord by his parents, was left in charge of the lamps.
“The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark was” (1 Samuel 3:1-3).
A boy was in charge where a man should have been, but there he was, looking after the light in the midst of the dark.
Something else came to mind as I thought about these verses. Last night I was working on a project and was reading the introduction to John’s Gospel. In John 1:4, 5, John writes: “In him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” Jesus would later refer to Himself as “the light of the world” (John 8:12) and reminded His audience that, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
It wasn’t hard to come up with some principles from these verses. Remember how important THE Light is. Tend THE Light carefully and use the finest of oil to keep that Light burning brightly. Quality time, and quantity, spent in the presence of THE Light is needed to make sure that its reflection in my life glows brightly for myself and others. Stay close to THE Light so that I won’t walk in the dark and stumble. Even though others may fail to keep the Light shining brightly, don't be guilty of the same offense—someone out there is looking for that glimmer of hope in the darkness.