You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel. (Exodus 27:20, 21)
The outlining of the place where God chooses to dwell continues in great detail in chapter 27.
The description of the altar and the extent to which God wants it to be valued is something that could be explored at great length. The set up of the tabernacle itself is something too that could be explored at great depth and has been by many others.
What struck me in reading this chapter on this occasion was the burning lamp. The command to ensure that in the night time there was a lamp burning in the place God chooses to dwell is powerful for a number of reasons.
At that time, the people of Israel were guided by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It was the assurance of the leading, direction and guiding presence of God with them. Establishing such a light in the place God chooses to dwell reaffirmed His presence and promise of guidance.
The light in the darkness, overcoming the darkness, has value of its own too. Knowing that the burning flame ensured light in any dark situation is a source of great assurance as well.
What particularly hits me on the head is an application for today. God’s desire was to dwell with His people. How He dwells with His people is in their gathering. The tabernacle is about the building blocks of people relating with each other in a way that gives glory to God. In doing so the light shines and people see it especially in a dark world and can see that God is present and God is for them. That light is to be tended to by the way we relate to each other as followers of the Light.
As well as that there is also the expression of how God loved His creation so much that once His Son ascended, He gave the Holy Spirit to those who believe. God’s presence and light in the individual as in the communal is about His Spirit enlightening us and burning within us. That sense of that light to be tended that cannot be hidden under a bushel.
God took the light seriously for His tabernacle then – and He takes it seriously where He chooses to dwell today.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden