Numbers 8:1-4 Lamps

The direction of the light can mean the difference between life and death. It matters where the light leads you.

God is continuing to give Moses instructions on where to place His furniture. He has good reasons for what He wants and is not afraid to say it out loud.

When I first read our text for today I noted the difference in size from what we read the last time. From 89 verses to 4 verses. Then I thought about the content of our reading for today and wondered how this one little detail had to say to us. I KNOW that EVERY WORD of God’s word in important but how could the direction the lamps were facing be of importance to me?

Of course that’s when the Holy Spirit laughed. I hadn’t really even asked yet for direction and understanding, like I usually do. I simply took a minute and read our text before even coming to sit down with it and ponder over what He had to share.

The FIRST thing that popped into my mind, after saying to myself “what am I supposed to do with this”, was a flashlight. Then I started thinking about how a flashlight works to illuminate what is in front of you. I even have a flashlight that can concentrate the beam to a smaller area to better illuminate what is right in my path. I also thought about what a flashlight doesn’t show. It doesn’t illuminate what is behind you unless YOU turn with it.

God designed the lampstand. He created it for a specific purpose. It was made to illuminate what was in front of it and allow the priests to easily see to tend to their daily tasks. He created it so that the light was not wasted or misdirected. It didn’t need to illuminate or heat the wall behind it. The light and heat were directed into the tent instead of being allowed to damage the fabric of the Tabernacle. It was also made with enough light sources that nothing inside the Tabernacle was hidden except that which was purposely hidden; the ark and the mercy seat. I won’t guarantee everything was as clear as broad daylight but the light provided by God’s design gave light to work within His house.

God’s word is also called a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. That means it functions as our “flashlight” illuminating what is in front of us. It is focused so we can focus on the important things in our daily walk. I don’t need a “searchlight” drawing my attention to everything around me. I want to focus on where I’m going. I find that when I stay focused I don’t trip or stumble as often.

I’m not saying that I never get to see what is around me because there are “daylight hours” in my walk with Jesus where things are peaceful and we walk along enjoying the scenery, talking with others on the path, and even taking side trips into interesting places to explore. But when “night” comes I want my trusty light to guide me. I need it to keep me safe.

The Tabernacle lamp wasn’t lit during daylight hours either. There was plenty of light to see by with the “doors” open. God provided the light where and when it was needed. Just like He does in my life.

But I will tell you right now that the light required work to keep it going. It required oil, wicks, and someone to tend it. God could easily have provided light in the Tabernacle without the lampstand IF He chose to. I believe there was light behind the veil in the Holy of Holies. It was the light of His presence. But He used mans’ hands to care for it in the main body of the tent. Men had to choose to do the tasks required for the lamp’s use. They had to do the work necessary for the supplies to be available, ready, put in place and lit. If for some reason they all decided not to do this work the lamp would remain dark.

God’s word being our light requires work too. We have to choose to pick it up and read it. We have to choose to look deeper than the surface of the story, today being a prime example of that. And we have to choose to apply it to our lives. The Holy Spirit can and will take it from there if we allow Him to.

As beautiful as some bibles are, they are useless if they are never opened. Open the pages and let the light inside begin to illuminate your path. And the darker the surroundings get, the brighter the light will shine. It WILL lead you home if you will only follow it. It is not just a book written by man. It is the living, breathing, word of God. It is His love letter to you and me.

Holy Spirit, thank You for the picture You showed me. Thank You that You NEVER fail to speak to my spirit when I take time to listen. I KNOW I don’t exhaust what You have for me to learn for God’s word. There is SO much more still waiting to be discovered.

Father God, thank You for being a light for my path. Thank You for creating my path in the first place. You are its designer. You intricately wove it into Your tapestry to create a pattern beyond my imagination. When it is all complete I would love for You to sit down with me and explain why some things were included. Which parts were You working out my stubbornness? Which parts were planned long in advance? Which pieces had to be reworked because of the messes I made along the way? How many stitches had to be ripped out and altered to fix the holes I made? Which pieces came together with ease because I actually listened? I have a feeling that my age and maturity with You made later portions at least a little bit easier to work with, or at least I hope so. I’m looking forward to that place of finally seeing it all together. Until then, keep weaving. Keep lighting my way. And keep me between Your hands as they mark the “edges of my road.”

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