Friday, May 29, 2009

Verse of the Day...Exodus 27:21

In the Tent of Meeting, outside the curtain that is in front of the Testimony, 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

The Tent of Meeting is also known as the Tabernacle, God's dwelling place. God gave precise instructions to Moses for how this dwelling place was to be built (Exodus 25-30). Scripture records in detail how explicitly the Israelites followed God's instructions (Exodus 35-39). God's promise throughout was this: "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them." Exodus 25:8

Besides the Tent of Meeting, this verse refers to the Testimony. That is the Testimony of God, God's Word, otherwise known as the Commandments of God, which Moses received on the mountain, on tablets of stone. These stone tablets were stored in the Ark of the Covenant, in the Holy of Holies, in the deepest room of the Tabernacle, the place where God dwelt.

When I read about the Tabernacle, I am always struck by how the beauty God asked them to craft was hidden under layers and layers of coverings. The golden Ark of the Covenant was hidden in the innermost part of the Tabernacle, and was not to be seen by anyone except the High Priest, and even he only approached it once a year.

This hiding away speaks to me of humility. We are not to flaunt our blessings, but to keep them quietly in our hearts and treasure them. When Mary gave birth to Jesus, she did not go around boasting. She did not say, "I am the mother of God, and angels sang at his birth!" No! Luke tells us, "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19)

This hiding away also speaks to me of prudence. God is holy and wonderful. Matthew 7:6 says, "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces." We are to guard the things of the Lord with reverence and awe.

But today's verse tells of a light in the hidden place, a light that was kept burning all night, every night, so that the testimony of God would never be in the dark. You can read about the beautiful lampstand that kept the interior of the tabernacle lit (Exodus 25:31-40). This light was a witness that God is real, that He is alive, and that He desires to show Himself to us.

God showed Himself to us through Jesus, His Son.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made. Without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." (John 1:1-5)

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" (John 8:12)

Jesus is the light of the world, but we are to emulate Him, to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29). That must be why Matthew tells us Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." (Matthew 5:14)

We must burn with holy passion for Jesus, so that the world will see and wonder and long for God. This is our witness, not that we shout in people's faces, but that we dwell in God's presence and, like Moses, emerge with a glowing face (Exodus 34:29-35).

Do you remember the old children's song...

Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning,
Give me oil in my lamp I pray,
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning,
Keep me burning till the break of day.

May we have a lasting passion for Jesus that never goes out.

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