The Lampstand

The Lampstand

Luke 11:33-36 (NLT) “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”

We live in light. Relying on the sun, people become a bit dreary when it hides for too long. We live in homes filled with lights, but if a single bulb burns out its noticeable. Each ceiling fan in our house has four lightbulbs, if one is out the side of the room it faces immediately is dimmer. The light is not as bright. Replacing the broken bulb solves the problem and once again the room is well-lit. There are also new and improved options to the old incandescent lamp called compact fluorescent lamp or lights (CFL). The glow of these bulbs are different than the older versions. Giving off the same amount of visible light, the CFL is popular because it is more energy efficient using one-third of the electricity and lasting up to ten times longer than regular lightbulbs. The only setback is that the CFL bulb is more expensive. Many will not pay the price up front or go to the trouble of changing out all the old ones. To be completely honest, I really wasn’t thinking about lights or fixtures today but about my walk with Jesus.

I wonder if my light is shining today. I am challenged by the position of my lampstand in this life. Our purpose is to shine brightly as a beacon to people living in darkness, but am I successful in this endeavor? I will admit to you today that there are several bulbs in need of replacement in my home currently. As we pack and prepare to move, I keep overlooking these small details in an attempt to get us ready to go. I am considering making the switch to the new CFL bulbs in our new house once making the transition. In my busyness, I have placed a very low priority since there is plenty of light still burning. When I got up this morning, I felt tired. My body aches from lifting, bending, stretching, reaching and packing boxes. We have only just begun. My husband is out of town so there are additional responsibilities that he would do but I must maintain for a few more days. Stumbling through the dark, I turn on a few lights so I don’t trip over anything but the light is blinding to my tired eyes. Let’s face it, what good is a lamp if you don’t open your eyes, right? Crying out to the Lord for energy and strength – I find myself in the tabernacle of the Old Testament standing next to a lampstand. This is not where I expected to be.

Exodus 27:20-21 (NLT) “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. The lampstand will stand in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron and his sons must keep the lamps burning in the Lord’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel, and it must be observed from generation to generation.

The most important thing to note about the lampstand is that it points to Jesus Christ. The lampstand is introduced in the Book of Exodus and referred to throughout the Bible into the Book of Revelation. It stood in the tabernacle. It was placed in front of the curtain shielded the Ark of the Covenant. The commandment was that it should remain burning at all times using the pure oil of pressed olives. It was to be maintained. This permanent law must be observed from generation to generation right into today.

I know what you are thinking. Jesus died for our sins so we no longer need a High Priest. No, Jesus is our High Priest. Jesus tore the veil in the Temple/Tabernacle so we don’t have to stand there anymore. No, when Jesus ripped the veil in two it gave us greater access. It did not eliminate the commandment of God concerning our lampstands. We are the lampstands that He refers to in Revelation 2 with the potential to be removed if our light is not shining. Reading about the lampstand today, it is clear that the Light within me is of far greater importance than it is given in my haste to complete tasks, maintain a routine, and mark off my to-do list.

John 1:4-5 (NLT) The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

John 3:18-19 (NLT) And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.

John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

John 12:46 (NLT) I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.

Matthew 17:2 (NLT) As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.

I Corinthians 6:19 (NLT) Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?

All of these verses reference Jesus as the Light of the World. He came into darkness with a light that would be invested in us and lead others back to Him. Before Jesus in Exodus, the lampstand stood in the Tabernacle representing our relationship with God blocked by sin. When Jesus died the curtain was torn in half giving us direct access to God the Father. In this monumental step, God’s Temple became every man and woman who call on Jesus Christ to be saved. He gives us His Spirit filling us with life-giving light. Now people can choose to remain in darkness or walk in the Glorious Light of His Love. As a child, we would sing “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” How are we doing now that we are adults?

2 Corinthians 4:6-10 (NLT) or God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Let’s face it! Most people would not pursue Jesus Christ outside of the pressures of life. When things are good, the Bible goes on the shelf, prayer closet closed, and church a casual commitment. When we become “pressed on every side by troubles, perplexed, hunted or knocked down” and any other kind of suffering is when begin to push our way back into His Presence again. We have been given such a magnificent light, but left inside our fragile heart it is of no use. God loves us too much for our light to go out. He will fan the flame just as He instructs us to do. He will blow on us. He will stir us up. Whatever it takes to get the Light in us out of us. The Lord makes us uncomfortable so we will move up the mountain to be the light which becomes a city on a hill for all to see. But what might happen, if we followed simple instructions. The people were commanded to be pure oil of pressed olives daily to the Tabernacle. What about the Temple? Are we tending the light of our lampstand daily or just when we think it might go out?

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT) If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

Did you know that satan can disguise himself as light? (2 Corinthians 11:14) In fact, there are many false prophets who do not preach the Word of God much less live by it. One encounter with the true light of the Love of Jesus changes everything, just ask Paul. He was on a mission when the “light” surrounded him, but not everyone in his group encounter Jesus like Paul did that day. It changed his life forever. He became committed to the Light – Jesus Christ. (Acts 26:12-19) In his conversation with King Agrippa, it is clear he is not entirely sure what happened other than Jesus happened. Our message is not complicated. It is very clear.

Light will always be a threat to darkness. We must desire a life of transparency living in the Light of His Love. Such a commitment requires a turning from sin. If you are avoiding the light, it is time to reach deeper and find out why? There are tragic results for those who do not fulfill their purpose in Christ. Light will always keep us on guard, rooting out the enemies diversion tactics and death traps along the way. His Light keeps us clearheaded so that we do not fall for the vague lies masked with a hint of truth. The Light exposes every lie and fallacy the enemy hurls against us. (I Thessalonians 5:4-6)

Philippians 2:12-16 (NLT) Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.

This weekend I will take an inventory of all the burned out lightbulbs in the house to replace them. I am beginning to think examining my heart for light might not be a bad idea either. I am called to be the Light of the World because Jesus who IS the Light of the World lives in me. I must do something with that investment or risk falling back into darkness again. I must keep my lampstand in His Presence. I must take the time to tend to it no matter now busy I think that I am.

In Luke 15:8-9, the Parable of the Lost Coin sums it up quite nicely. The woman lost a coin. She felt it was worth something and valuable to her. This being the case wouldn’t she “light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it?” The investment in our life is worth seeking out. It is worth allowing the Light of His Love to fill us even the darkest part. If only we valued our relationship with Jesus (the Light of the World) as much as lesser things, I wonder what it might like if everyone took the time to tend their lampstand.

Ephesians 1:18-20 (NLT) I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Just a fire left untended will certainly go out, so will we if we do not remain attentive to the Light of His Love burning deep within us. Our life is judged only by our choice to live in the Light of His Love leaving darkness behind. Once full of darkness, the Lord has filled me with light. What I do with it determines the outcome of my life and success in following Jesus. It is the Light of His Love provided by His Grace that allows good things and right things and true things to be produced in my life. (Ephesians 5:8-14) I must determine what pleases God and the Light of His Love makes it clear for me. The Light makes everything in my life visible for careful evaluation and thorough inspection. I have nothing to fear. His Grace is enough for me to rid my life of worthless things and continue my pursuit of perfection. Perfection has a name. His Name is Jesus. He is the Light of the World. He lives in me. I am His Lampstand.

Colossians 1:11-12 (NLT) We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.

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