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. Deborah Craytor says:

    This is not related to the lampstand oil, but I just had an insight from the description of the courtyard in Exodus 27:9-16. The courtyard had only one gate, which served as the way of approach to God. Likewise, under the new covenant, there is only a single “gate,” Jesus Christ, giving us the ability to approach God. Those who say that there are many ways to God are, unfortunately, incorrect.

    1. Dorothy says:

      Deborah I had never thought of that but you are so right there is only a single “gate” to God and that is salvation through Christ.

  2. Beth S says:

    Just last night (technically this morning) I felt that emptiness and weakness so vividly while my 6 month old screamed herself to sleep in my arms. In the deepest depravity of my sinful heart, I didn’t want her anymore. I am tearing up just admitting it. Of course I love her, and I would never ever give her up or give her away. But last night, I didn’t feel like loving her. It was only after crying (literally) out to the Lord for help that I was able to choose to lovingly pace the room, singing hymns to her, and finally lull her to sleep. I cannot do anything in my own strength. I am weak and sinful. This was a hard reminder of that truth. Praying that, as I continue to deal with this continually inconsolable child through more sleepless nights, I will lean on Him first and not try to do it on my own. She is His precious gift to me, and I don’t ever want to lose sight of that. I am so blessed that God had allowed me to be her mom. Thank you, Lord.

    1. Sarabeth says:

      Oh Beth, I am right there with you. I also have a 6 month old. She’s teething and constantly wants me to be attached to her. Praying for strength, love, and peace for you this morning and the days to come.

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Thank you for sharing Beth, we’re praying for continued encouragement and peace for you. So grateful that you’re here! -Margot, The SRT Team

    3. Clare says:

      Praying for you Beth, what a hard place to be, praying that you find support in this and a resolution to why she is so inconsolable. With the experience of 2 children and being a school nurse, I can’t help thinking of my daughter who had food intolerances which made her scream at night, but we didn’t know till she was much older why. Much love to you xx

  3. Aimee says:

    I have what may be a stupid question – but if the Israelites are wandering in the desert following the pillar and eating mannah – where are they getting the olives for the oil and where are they getting the fine cloth and the dyes to construct the tabernacle? Just curious.

    1. Dorothy says:

      Some of the items were brought with them from Egypt, the Egyptians gave them many of their items when they left so that they would leave and the plagues would stop but I don’t know about all of it. The dye many times would come from different plants.

  4. Sabrina Michelle says:

    I can’t do anything in my own strength without the Holy Spirit giving me the strength. He leads me into this community of believers to receive my daily bread. It’s only by His strength that woke up this morning and closed in my right me. Thank you Father.

  5. CJ says:

    Hmm. So today’s scripture talks about “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses” and also “These are the two anointed ones” . . . who are these two? I know The One, but I havent heard about two yet!

    1. Dorothy says:

      Hi I think may the two anointed ones are Christ and the Holy Ghost (Spirit) but that is only my thoughts.

      1. Jennifer Gee Steinriede says:

        I think it is either “Elijah and Moses” or “Jesus Christ the son and The Holy Spirit. You may be right. Elijah and Moses are tied so much into the two witnesses so much in so many passages and prophecies and revelations in the bible but the number 3 will not leave me. It is all over the bible and everywhere I turn lately. God through the spirit is telling me something and Revelation 11 is something I had never read until randomly my stepfather started talking about it and when he started reading it, I immediately saw our lesson this season directly related to it, and this was right after the burning bush lesson, where Moses receives the three signs with the measuring rod/staff and he can turn water into blood, which is in Revelation 11, which also says it will take place in Sodom/Egypt. The powers of the two witnesses are the same of Elijah and Moses: Rain and turning water into blood. The Mount of Transfiguration: Elijah and Moses. But 3: The Trinity: Makes sense… very interesting

  6. Mallie Griffin says:

    Alice- I think we all have felt that way at one time (at least I have). Prayers for you and don’t stop give up on asking for the Holy Spirit to renew you!

  7. Kara says:

    Why is it so hard to surrender this? I have an endless supply of strength from the Creator, and yet I want to do it all on my own. I confess Lord! Help me view my challenges as opportunities to turn to you and be filled by you again and again.

  8. Megan says:

    God fill me with your spirit. Replenish me with YOUR strength, not my own. I pray for the light to keep burning. I need You.

    1. Kim says:

      This is my prayer for today as well. Focus on the true strength of the Lord to fill me and carry me not from outside sources.

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