Lamps with Full Light
The English dictionary describes a lamp as a container for oil and wick, used to give light, or other devices using gas or electricity to give light. In the countryside where we are living the commonly used lamps have wicks and oil. It is something with which people are acquainted.
The Bible is full of contrasts. Reading Genesis chapter 1, the act of creation is described as a transformation from being formless to created order, and from darkness to light: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness” (Gen 1:1-4).
Without light, life is not possible. God’s creations need light to survive. For example, light is essential for plants to make their food and grow, and for human beings to carry out their daily work.
Light in the tabernacle (Holy Place) (Lev 24:1-4; Ex 27:20,21). The tabernacle was a worshiping place for the Israelites. Each day, the priests entered the Holy Place in this tent to keep the lamps burning, regularly morning and evening. No natural light was there. The people of Israel would bring pure oil prepared from olives. Priests were God’s representatives: they represented the people of Israel before God. This teaches us about fellowship where all the community work together before God.
The Holy Place was fully illuminated because the lamps were placed high upon a lampstand, enabling the priests to see and carry out their activities perfectly. What does this tell us spiritually? Believers are the lamps, and Christ is the lampstand whereby they give full light in the ecclesias and to the world about them: “Let your loins be girded about: and your light burning”: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with the truth, and having the breastplate of righteousness“ (Luke 12:35; Eph 6:14).
Vested with responsibilities, the priests had to dress and replenish the lamps to supply the light continually day and night. This is again a spiritual example for ourselves as we open and read the Bible daily. Knowledge from the Bible should transform us in the way of following His commandments. The same gospel shows us what God wants us to do and how to behave: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalms 119:105).
Only by reading God’s word regularly can we learn about Him and His purpose with the world. His purpose is fulfilled in Jesus Christ who is described as the light for the world: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying ‘I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” The gospel is the light for those who walk amongst the darkness of the world. We are like blind men unless God’s word enlightens us to learn from Him. We are like people searching about in pitch darkness, not knowing where to go. The apostle Paul puts it: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6).
Just as the lamps were on a lampstand high in the Holy Place, so also can our acts of faith shine as if on the top of a hill for everyone to see. Our light should be bright to show others that Christ is our guide.
Bro Manasseh Wamamili (Chwele, Kenya)