God addresses the light for His Tabernacle. A light that was kept burning regularly; EVERY night.
When I started the reading for today I noticed that this is the last of Hanukkah. I commented on the timing of the festivals, especially Rosh Hashanah and our western calendar. Now God addresses the lampstand which is central to the celebration ending tonight. Because I’m not intimately familiar with the Jewish calendar I don’t know if they lit their last lamp last night at evening or did so this evening. Either way, I like the timing and the reminder that I’m not the only one thinking about this item of God’s house right now.
I was always under the impression that the lampstand in the Tabernacle burned 24/7. I know there is no way for the light to penetrate the side walls or roof of the tent. It is FOUR layers thick. But the door to the tent is made of linen which is embroidered. I don’t know if it was rolled up or pulled to one side during the day or not but light should be able to penetrate it. So the outer sanctuary had natural light during daylight hours. But it was pitch dark at night without the lamp.
It was the high priest’s job to keep the lamps lit in the Tabernacle. This was their responsibility. They were charged with refilling the cups, trimming the wicks and lighting them each evening. There were many jobs in the temple but this one was the high priest’s. They were the illuminators of the people’s path to the Lord.
Our reading tells us that this was a job that Aaron did every evening and morning. It was also to be a perpetual job and as Aaron was identified as the one to perform this job it stands to reason that his successors as high priests would be charged with this same duty.
Another portion of this nightly duty was to judge how much oil and wick would be needed to make it through the night. EVERY place on earth experiences variances in length of daylight and dark hours. The priest would need to calculate how much oil would be required for each period of burning. I don’t know HOW they would have managed if they lived in an area where they had six MONTHS of light and six of darkness! That would have been an ALL day burn situation.
Because we are on the subject of the lampstand and in the season of Hanukkah, I want to touch base on the miracle Hanukkah commemorates. This miracle is SO like our God! He knows our needs even better than we do. He proved it so many times in Israel’s history. Manna is just one example of His caring for His people. In the case of the oil and the manna, God knew exactly when to cut it off too. The people didn’t need the manna after coming into the Promised Land. The priests didn’t need the oil already burning after theirs was purified.
When thinking about God ending these miracles I’m prompted to consider what would have happened if He hadn’t. If the people could ALWAYS go out and gather manna what need would they have of planting crops and seeking God’s blessing for them? If the oil lasted indefinitely what need would the people have for bringing their offerings to Him? We ALL need to be needed. We need to know that what we do matters and that it matters when we don’t do our part. God could easily fill Heaven with people HE chose and transformed but that’s not how He chose to do it. He CHOSE to let our lights lead others to Him. He chose to call those who no one took seriously as His witnesses. He chose to have us working for His Kingdom and for our lives. “If you do not work you do not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Thank You Father God for allowing me to help. I feel like I make more messes than improvements some times. Am I like Cailyn where I get bored with one task and try and snatch resources from another to engage in one I like better? I PRAY not! Sometimes it’s hard to keep on keeping on tough jobs. It takes You pushing me a bit, sometimes more than a bit! Thank You Holy Spirit for those proddings in the spirit. Keep them coming! Help me “trim my wicks” and “refill my cups of oil” so I can share Your light with those around me.