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.

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Post Comments (89)

89 thoughts on "The Lampstand Oil"

  1. kimmie g says:

    I admit to struggling with Bible study. This is the first time I’ve started a study, kept up with it, and I’ve had an understanding of what’s being brought to me.

    Thank you!!

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Thanks for sharing Kimmie, we’re so glad that you’re here and are a part of our community! -Margot, The SRT Team

  2. Mary Abel says:

    Because he fills me he is made strong in my weakness!

  3. Caroline Smith says:

    Sisters, can you please all pray for me? I would love that so much! I flew 3,000 miles across the country to see a guy that I’ve been friends with for 20 years, and can you please pray that God brings us together?

    1. Lynette Muturi says:

      I pray that you trust in the Lord and walk in tandem with him. I give thanks for the beautiful gift of a friendship spanning 20 years, I pray that whatever comes next in your lives together is God’s will and that we remember to give thanks for bringing us together in all the crazy, unexpected, beautiful way he does. I pray for your happiness Caroline and of a life filled with God’s steadfast love. God bless xxx

    2. Churchmouse says:

      Praying the prayer that always is answered perfectly: God’s will be done. That’s what I pray for you in your situation, Caroline. I have every confidence in our God.

  4. Peony Noirr says:

    In every bad situation, my relationship with God seems the strongest. When things are going right, I admit I forget to thank Him. When things are falling apart, He comes to my rescue again. When I am unable to be strong, the Lord is plenty strong for me!

    1. Andrea Obrien says:

      Peony, I HEAR that! May we always remember to thank God in all seasons. May we always remember “And if not, then He is still good.”

  5. Wendy McSwain says:

    Haha now it will be an ear worm!

  6. Chrissy E says:

    Thank you for helping to tie this morning’s readings together! I must admit, I struggled to find God’s message for me in these passages today. Yet, I know there is purpose. I am grateful that He makes it clear I don’t need to do this alone!

  7. Bridget Vaschak says:

    Good Morning! So, going deeper, I was searching out the connection between the passage from Zechariah and the one from Revelation, and the meaning of the two anointed ones/witnesses. And then I was looking for the connection of those passages to the Exodus passage. And, to be honest, I am confused. Especially at the way the Zechariah and Revelation passages refer to the Holy Spirit?? Do they? I don’t see it. Thoughts?

    1. Jessica Mellin says:

      I’m so glad you asked this because it made me dig deeper too! (Just deep enough to remember how BIG God is!) I’m confused about a lot of the details of these passages, but I can confidently say that I think the oil is the reference to the Holy Spirit in both of them.

    2. Jennifer Steinriede says:

      Good Afternoon Bridget,
      This study was so revealing for me today, and only through the Holy Spirit, b/c I particularly asked for it .I usually pray for understanding before I study. Years ago, none of this would have anything to me but confusion. However, the entire time I have been reading this lesson, the more revelation is being revealed to me and outside sources confirm it. Ex: my stepfather was preparing a lesson for a bible class he teaches, and out of no where, he mentioned Revelation 11 and about the “two witnessess”and how intriguing the chapter was and who are these two witnesses/two annoited ones? As soon as he read the first part of the chapter, I immediately saw a connection. We had just finsished studying the 3 signs of the burning bush. It starts out talking about the meausuring rod/staff . Further in that passage, it mentions Exodus, then lampstands, etc. The second woe is related to the Fifth Trumpet sounding, ( the fifth vision in Zechariah)…relating to the ends of time. The number 3 is constantly shown to me. The two witnessess are also described as having two powers: one has power to kill anyone who harms him by fire, which Elijah had, who never died, also seen on the Mount of Transfiguration, along with who else? Moses. Moses was also on the Mount of Transfiguration, and he had the power to turn water into blood, which is in Revelation 11. I believe Elijah and Moses are the two witnesses and I believe the Holy Spirit is the one who reveals these things to us to make sense of things. This may all sound crazy and you may ask what is my point? All I know is the closer I become to God and his word, the more access I have to the holy spirit and proof that prophecies of the Old Testament have been fulfilled and will continued to be fullfilled, proving Jesus is the true Messiah and and God is the one true God

      1. She Reads Truth says:

        Thank you for sharing Jennifer, we’re so glad that you’re here! -Margot, The SRT Team

    3. KC Derond says:

      In The Message version of Zechariah, it says that the olive trees and branches are the “two who stand beside the Master of the whole earth and supply golden lamp oil worldwide.” // and in the same version of Revelation, it says about the 2 witnesses: “these are the two Olive Trees, the two Lampstands”
      The branches would refer to the Holy Spirit, providing the source of Light and goodness. The witnesses are the Lampstands or Olive Trees, giving off the source of light.

  8. Jo Gistand says:

    This is a reminder of why it’s so important to stay connected to the word; so we. An hear from the Holy Spirit! Thank you Lord for your Son who you’ve given to us through the Spirit. Our strength.

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