Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
As we considered last Lord’s Day, the Lord’s desire for us to grow in godliness and holiness. And one way that we are to grow is to remember our identity in Christ. As Paul says in Col 1:13-14, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.” In other words, to grow in grace, we must always remember that we are in new creations in Christ – that sin no longer reigns in our lives – that Christ is now on the throne of our hearts. May we strive today to greater holiness in the strength of our risen Lord!
A few reminders:
This Saturday, 11/16, the ladies will meet at the Barnes’ home (2530 Teague Rd, Houston, TX) at 9:30 for Mugs n’ Muffins. Plan to join them for Bible study, food, and fellowship. And bring your friends!
Also, be in prayer concerning our denominational Thank Offering which will be collected Sunday, 11/24. To read more about the thank offering, see here: http://opc.org/feature.html.
Finally, this week’s devotional is a reflection from Exodus 25 on the significance of the golden lampstand in the tabernacle.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“The Golden Lampstand”
Exodus 25:31, “You shall make a lampstand of pure gold.”
Because of their unfaithfulness, the Israelites were forced to wander in the wilderness forty years (Num 13-14; see the whole of Numbers for the story of their wanderings). What is important to remember, however, is that God never left his people – he was with them even in their wanderings (Josh 1:5). In other words, God was with his people as they were undergoing discipline for their disobedience (Ex 13:22). Specifically, God was in their very midst as they wandered by means of the tabernacle – the place where God symbolically dwelt with his people under the Old Covenant. Moreover, by means of the tabernacle and its furnishings, God never stopped teaching and instructing his people as to his character, his love, and his grace. The tabernacle was one great object lesson of the truth of God and his ways! For example, the daily sacrifices were a continual picture and reminder of the necessity of a mediator; and they also pointed to the coming redeemer who would offer himself as the once and for all sacrifice (see Heb 8-10)!
One other element in the tabernacle that I want to focus on in this devotional is the golden lampstand (Ex 25:31-40). The golden lampstand was one of three items located in the “holy place” of the tabernacle (the other two being the altar of incense and the table of showbread). The lampstand provided light for the priests as they performed their duties, and was to be burning continually (Lev 24:1-4). But what does this piece of ‘holy furniture’ teach us about the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:39-40). Throughout Scripture light is used as a metaphor for the life that God alone gives. In the creation narrative, God shines his light into the darkness as life is brought into existence (Gen 1:1-31; esp v. 3). And the Apostle Paul uses this creation / light imagery to describe the life that is born when a sinner is born again: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). Furthermore, the description of the lampstand in Ex 25:31ff pictures it as a type of tree (e.g. language of branches, flowers, and blossoms); and such tree/Eden language harkens back to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. And of course, the climax of such light language and imagery comes in Jesus’ grand declaration, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Later in John, Jesus again uses light imagery, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you” (John 12:35). And finally, in the New Heavens and the New Earth there will be no need for a lampstand (or for the sun or moon), for the glory of Christ will shine: “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the lamb” (Rev 21:23). And so as the priest performed his duties in the Holy Place, the golden lampstand would serve as a constant reminder of the God who alone creates life, gives new life, never leaves his people, and who would ultimately redeem his people through the coming savior!
In conclusion, there are three applications that we should take from this truth. First, we should praise God for his goodness. God is always teaching us and showing us more about himself. What a beautiful object lesson was the golden lampstand for his people in the Old Testament. Second, we should learn to read the Bible redemptive-historically. That is, we should see how the whole Bible focuses on the light of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ (in fact, Jesus himself said this very thing in Luke 24:27, 44). And third, we should give praise and worship to the true light, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the light that shines in the darkness (John 1:5) – he is our Life (John 11:25) – and He alone is our joy!
Have a wonderful week, and I look forward to worshipping with you this Lord’s Day!