A Light in the Darkness
"In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the LORD from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come." Exodus 27:21 (NIV)
The memories that burn brightest from my childhood are of our family's camping trips to the beach. All the hard work of packing the tent, suitcases, sleeping bags and food into the car was worth it when camp was set up and family time began.
My favorite time of the day came as darkness settled, the shouts of children quieted and grills were lit. Often, as we cleaned up from dinner, my mother would take our lantern into the tent to repack our supplies, and I would bask in the glow from the tent and the warm safety of my parents' presence.
Those memories flooded back as I read Exodus 27 from my daily reading plan. In a meticulous design revealed in the preceding chapters, God laid out the blueprint for the Tent of Meeting, also called the Tabernacle, where He would be worshipped by the Israelites as they traveled from Egypt to Canaan. Sentence after sentence details the fabric, the measurements, and the structure.
When the plan for God's Tent of Meeting was complete, He began to describe the furnishings. They included a beautiful set of lamps on a lamp stand that was to burn continuously inside. This intricate lamp stand described in detail in Exodus 25:31-40 was a pure-gold work of art made by the artisans God appointed, and it burned clear olive oil.
Pieces of a greater puzzle began to click into place as I pondered other scriptures and truths explaining the rich symbolism of the Tent of Meeting's lamp stand. I began to see God revealing His plans for us thousands of years ago:
We are the tent. (2 Cor. 5:4)
Jesus is the light. (John 1:4)
The Holy Spirit is the oil. (Zech. 4:1-6)
Fueled by the Holy Spirit, we are called to let Jesus' light shine through us into the darkness. (Matt. 5:14-16)
Just as the Israelites moved the Tabernacle through the desert sands ...
Just as my parents pitched a tent in beach sands ...
Just as I move through this darkened world ...
God provides a Light that shines in the darkness, and He creates a tent (us) to shine through.
For Jesus' light to pierce the darkness, shining brighter and brighter, we need to become more and more transparent.
For His light to shine continuously, we need to constantly be refueled by the Holy Spirit through prayer, studying and memorizing Scripture, and abiding in Him.
For His light to shatter the inky blackness of this world, we need to fearlessly move our tents into places of darkness where no other light shines.
There is a world of people who long for the safety and presence of Jesus, but they need a beacon to guide them. May we humble tents, who carry the Light, glow brightly everywhere as we travel through this world!
Dear Lord, thank You for allowing me to be a simple dwelling for Your Light. I pray that even as the priests were charged with maintaining the light, I would be faithful to let Your Light shine. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Have you experienced Jesus as the Light in your darkness? If you haven't, you can today.
If you carry the Light, make sure you're fueled up. In what ways can you spend time in a quiet place with God today?
John 1:4-5, "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (NAS)
2 Corinthians 5:1-2a, "For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven - God-made, not handmade - and we'll never have to relocate our 'tents' again." (MSG)