“You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn. In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the LORD.”
There are layers and layers to the divine symbolism in every crevice of this tabernacle environment—and I’ve barely even broken through just the first layer in my own feeble ruminations—but something immediately strikes me here in Exodus 27:20-21 regarding this ever-burning lamp. God created the sun that rises over our heads every single day, didn’t He? So we don’t necessarily need stories of God speaking to Moses through a burning bush or of God giving light to His people through a pillar of fire to know that He can make a fire that never goes out. We can just look up to the sky for proof. I say that to reiterate the point that this tabernacle endeavor is a collaborative effort that God willingly shares with His people. He could easily have kept this candle burning by the power of His word—just as He keeps the sun burning—but He desires to give little men like Aaron a role to play. And the only way this special candle will stay lit is if faithful gardeners keep bringing fresh olives for fuel and faithful priests keep lighting the wick.
Friend, we have the candle of Christ’s presence burning in our hearts today, but will we tend to that light from morning all the way till evening? Will we keep it burning for the watching world around us through patience in affliction and joy in sorrow and resilience in all the mundane jobs that face us? Will we continue to furnish the light with the pure, spiritual oil of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control, or snuff it out with the lusts of the flesh and the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life?
May we never underestimate our unique role in the world today as God’s priests, tending the flame inside us every moment, fulfilling our role with fervency and fidelity, always mindful truth that the Lord never needs our help, but He delights in our fellowship anyway.