Day 23

The Lampstand Oil

from the Exodus reading plan


Exodus 26:15-37, Exodus 27:1-21, Zechariah 4:1-14, Revelation 11:1-4

BY Jessica Lamb

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-seven 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 today’s readings about the lampstand oil. 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 his 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 (30)

30 thoughts on "The Lampstand Oil"

  1. Traci Gendron says:

    HEIDI – that is perfect unsolicited advice!! TAYLOR – I am so impressed with your commitment to God bringing you the perfect partner in life.

  2. Miriam says:

    Am I going crazy or did we skip exodus 26:1-13? Yesterday only had verse 14 and today continues from there.

  3. Pam says:

    What a great day to “check in”. I get to read a great devotional, hear from Taylor (been missing you), and enjoy, be enlightened by your comments. I’m working on a different study on fruits of the Spirit so mostly missing this Exodus study & all y’all. I’ve been checking in to keep up with prayer requests & be praying. Can’t be without my SRT family!

  4. Lexi B says:

    Taylor, so fun to see your name again! Praying for all your requests and have a wonderful time exploring Europe!

  5. Heidi says:

    TAYLOR- so good to “see” you again :) That’s a lot going on you’ll be in my prayers… hopefully you can find an area to let up a little and provide yourself a little rest (but as someone who’s ALWAYS doing too much, I get it!!!!)

    I want to offer you a piece of unsolicited advice ;) As you navigate this new relationship, let yourself just enjoy what is there and leave the rest in Gods hands. Some relationships are brought to us for learning and growing, and some are intended to have more permanence. So if this relationship is a “forever” one- then God already has plans for that and will orchestrate it with the same detail He did the tabernacle (seriously!). So I just want to be an encouragement to you to just keep seeking after God and fulfilling his purpose for you and rest in the enjoyment of new relationships, however long they are in your life. He totally has you- there’s nothing you need to do but keep seeking Him and just enjoy what’s in front of you :) :)

  6. Kelly (NEO) says:

    TAYLOR – praying for all your requests. Did you find and move into a new apartment?

  7. Lisa says:

    I love that God provides a way to be present with His people through the tabernacle. What a wonderful God we serve who provides a way in to His presence. The oil stands really stood out to me today. What an example of His desire to constantly fill us so we never have to be empty. He instructs us to be the light and provides a way every time. Praising Him for His gracious provision.

  8. Rhonda J. says:

    Oh GrammsieSue and others, I too feel the same, I usually skim but such a fresh light this study! Thanks for sharing Heidi, so insightful! I too looked up some images and an article with insight, so good!

    Praying for your Taylor, I have missed you!

    Have a good day She’s!

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