God gives Moses the recipe for the oil the lamps will use. This is a very simple but specific and special oil.
Whenever I get ready to bake something I always look up a good recipe. I have a few favorites that I keep bookmarked. After locating the recipe I have to be sure I have all the ingredients called for. Whatever you make, substitutions in the recipe ALWAYS change the final product. Sometimes they are simple changes and sometimes they are drastic. My sister once made a brownie recipe from a box mix and forgot to put in the oil. That brownie, when thrown, actually chipped concrete!
God gives Moses a ONE ingredient recipe for the oil that would fuel the lamps. The people were to bring “pure beaten olive oil.” But getting that one ingredient wasn’t simple. It first required olive trees be present and plentiful. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that olives were part of the diet during Israel’s wandering time.
I found a site that talks about what was required to make the pure beaten olive oil. In the olive oil making process, the oil that God called for was the first fruits form the olive. If one were in a hurry, and didn’t care about quality, this step might even be skipped over and the olive could be taken to the second step where the majority of the oil would be extracted. It wasn’t as pure but it was more plentiful. The final pressing yielded oil of the lowest quality but still usable for some things.
God required the purest oil, which came first. No other oil would do for His house. This brings back the story of Cain and Able to me. Able brought the best of his flocks for his sacrifice while Cain brought “some” of his produce. Was Cain’s the leftovers? Did he hold back the best for himself? We honestly don’t know, but it is one of the questions on my bench question list.
I was thinking about all the materials and time that would soon go into making God’s house. The people of Israel would stay at the foot of Mt. Sinai until the WHOLE process was complete. That took about nine months. During that time God continued to feed them with His mana but they also must have had enough food sources around to sustain them and make the required pieces for the temple.
I wonder if the Israelites thought they were done wandering since they stayed so long at Sinai. Were they ready to move on when God’s pillar indicated it was time? Or were they reluctant to go, as they had been in Egypt? I know, I’m getting ahead of myself and our study. Back to our reading.
The crux of today’s instruction is that God wants the first and best. We can have the rest. But what He does with what we give Him is awesome! He lights our world!!! And when we give Him our best there is no contamination in it.
Something else that just popped out at me was that God told Moses to tell the people to bring this gift to Him. He didn’t tell Moses to prepare it or the priests to prepare it. It was to be brought by the people. THEY got to be part of the temple forever this way. I wonder if later on the priests would be the ones making the oil or if it was part of the sacrifices brought to the temple every year. If it was brought by the people it took their contributions and faithfulness to keep all He had given in operating order. The story of Hanukkah deals with this oil, God’s blessing, and the people’s faithfulness in providing it. Only the best will do and God will bless our faithfulness in surrendering it to Him and bless what we have left over.
Father God, thank You for Your blessings. Thank You for the abundance of olives that allowed the oil to be made. Thank You for my finances. I have found that if I am generous with what I have it goes farther than if I try and hold onto it because “I might need it.” I want to bring You an offering like Abel’s, not Cain’s. I want to give You my best and watch what You do with it. Help me remember this lesson every time I’m tempted to hold back. And let those I bless with what You blessed me with recognize the true origin of the gift; Your hands.