Day 23

The Lampstand Oil

Exodus 27:1-21, Zechariah 4:1-14, Revelation 11:1-4  

BY Jessica Lamb

Scripture Reading: Exodus 27:1-21, Zechariah 4:1-14, Revelation 11:1-4  

In my grandmother’s home, there is no set time for meals. All waking hours are considered appropriate for the one all-day meal of grazing. If you are spotted without a plate in your hands, she furrows her brow and inquires with concern if you need someone to fix you a plate from the options on her table. On one visit, I slipped into the kitchen at 6:30 in the morning to find plates of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, okra, my favorite vegetable soup, and a chocolate cake already laid out as she stood by the stove frying leftover ham and scrambling eggs for breakfast.

In her ninety-three years, she’s experienced more lean seasons than seasons of plenty. She is at rest only when she knows every person in her presence is full—preferably without experiencing even a moment of hunger pangs. Filling us physically is her gift of comfort and affection.

We see a glimpse of what it means to be spiritually filled in these readings about the lampstand oil today. The priests are instructed to fill the lampstand with pure oil regularly in order to keep it burning. The lampstand, in doing the work of providing light to the tabernacle, also served as a constant reminder of God’s presence.

This picture of a lampstand is one Scripture returns to again and again. Jesus says He is the light of the world and gives the same responsibility to His followers (John 8:12; Matthew 5:14). The Apostle Paul describes us as children of the light, a reflection of Christ through the work of His Spirit (Ephesians 5:8).

We are meant to be small lights twinkling in a dark world. But I fail at this on my own, often. A biting retort to someone I love, frustration with my toddler trying to put on her shoes, indifference toward the struggles of a friend. When prayer feels worthless, or when love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control seem like futile options against so much darkness.

The instructions for the lampstand in Exodus 25 describe seven bowls shaped like almond blossoms with wicks placed in them. This isn’t a candelabra. The fire in this lampstand kept burning because it was filled regularly with oil from an outside source, not from burning its own wax like a candle.

Not by strength or by might, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD of Armies.
—Zechariah 4:6

These words in Zechariah remind us again that the source of the light is not us.The Lord shares a picture here of limitless oil, in the form of two olive trees, flowing straight from the source to directly fuel the lampstand. He tells Zechariah that this is the work of the Spirit.

We aren’t replenished by our own strength, or by our own might, but by the Spirit. We have access to what we need in the Spirit; we have fuel from the source. We have this gift from the true Priest who constantly fills us. As we are filled with His Spirit, we become more and more reflective of Jesus. We slowly begin to see the fruit of His faithful, everyday presence and the influence of His light in our lives.

Not by strength or by might, but by the Spirit.


Post Comments (89)

89 thoughts on "The Lampstand Oil"

  1. Lindsey Bailey says:

    I sure needed this. I have been running on E. There just doesn’t seem like there is enough of me right now. I’m trying, but the harder I try the more it seems things are forgotten or undone. The other day I was trying to get my toddler dressed. He was playing that game where he runs away and come just beyond my reach, so I can’t get to him. I said, ‘Come closer and I will help you.’ As soon as I spoke those words aloud, I knew the Lord was saying the same to me. My oil is almost gone. I need connection with the one who has an abundance. If I come closer, He will help me.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Thanks for sharing this Lindsey, we’re praying for you and are so glad that you’re reading along with us! -Margot, The SRT Team

  2. Maureceia says:

    If we depend on our own strength, we eventually will burn out. But Gods strength is everlasting, eternal. And it never runs dry

  3. Karen says:

    I enjoyed today’s study! I like how you compare the lamp stand’s oil from an outside source to the light in our lives from an outside source (God) that will continually shine through us. God is our strength and our sustenance. This was a great picture of that for me!

  4. Marisa Narro says:

    This blew my mind. After a rough day at work, I needed this and to be reminded it’s Not MY light, it’s HIS light.

  5. Kari says:

    Jessica this was just what I needed to hear right now! What a beautiful devotional. I was just reminded yesterday that there is no way that we can attain the fruit of the Spirit on our own, those are GIFTS from the Holy Spirit. Your devotional just drove this home for me!!

  6. Rae Ann Smith says:

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder! I so often try to fill my own lampstand forgetting that the one who has the best oil is always there for me. Holy Spirit fill me so my light reflects you!

  7. Jen Jennings says:

    Wow so powerful! We don’t have to be strong alone by ourselves! We are made stronger in Him! Love it!

  8. Leslie Limardo says:

    Yes! The oil is the Holy Spirit in both. In both examples work is being done through Gods Holy Spirit and not through man. The two witnesses in Revelation are referring to end of times when there will be two witnesses prophesying to people about God. They will be the only light in the dark times. Just as God was a light in the book of Zechariah He will be a light again during those dark times. I hope that helps.

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