The Oil for the Lamp
Exodus 27:20, 21
And you shall command the children of Israel, that they bring you pure oil olive beaten for the light…

A special commandment was given that the oil should be pure and rich: -

I. THAT THERE MIGHT BE A DUE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE LIGHT AND THE GLORY OF THE CANDLESTICK. The candlestick was composed of the most precious of all metals, and it had been fashioned by the hands of an artist Divinely chosen and inspired. Great, therefore, would have been the incongruity, if any but the steadiest and most brilliant light had shone forth from this candlestick. Indeed the provision of the very best material might seem to have been self-suggested and to require no commandment at all, did we not know how forgetful, how inconsiderate human nature is. Man needs to be kept up to the mark by sharp and frequent admonitions; else he will keep the best for himself, and let anything be put forward for such a mere formality as too often he reckons the service of God to be. Still it surely would not require much thought to perceive how disgraceful a dim light would be in connection with such a glorious fabric as the candlestick presented. But there is a more glorious fabric far than this candlestick, if we only consider each human life that comes into this world; if we only consider the riches and strength that are in each one of us by natural constitution. There is something very glorious about the natural life of man, in spite of its depravity, its miseries and its mortality; and God has given us the opportunity of still further glorifying our natural life in this world by offering to make us supports such as may aid in sustaining and diffusing the light he would shed abroad amongst men. When God puts his gospel into the charge of human beings he calls attention to the peculiar glory and eminence of our nature. The more faithful his servants have been to the gospel charge put into their hands, the more they have revealed how vile a thing humanity is. God wishes us in all our connection with him to be worthy of our humanity, and to keep ever in our thoughts the gulf that divides us from even the highest of the brutes. Man is never more truly human, never more fully an exponent of the peculiarities of his nature than when he is doing his best to reveal the saving light of God to men. The Christian, no matter what he may lack in such endowments as the world values, is the best kind of man; and the better Christian he becomes, the higher he stands in that best kind wherein he is already numbered.

II. THAT THERE MIGHT BE A DUE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE LIGHT AND THE GLORY OF THE MOST HOLY PLACE. From between the cherubim within the veil God shone forth when it was so required with a glory and impressiveness which no light of human invention could rival. But outside the veil the seven-branched candlestick was ever to be lighted in the night-time to symbolise the glorious illumination which came from Jehovah himself. How important, therefore, that the light should be the very best which man could afford l Nowhere in all the tents of Israel was there to be a brighter light than that which shone in the holy place. A symbol was needed of such light, instruction and wisdom, as are not to be found in the most sagacious and experienced of men, advising simply upon the grounds of human sagacity and experience. When we look at a Christian we must be able to look at one whose light, while it does not fail in a certain sense to glorify himself, glorifies still more his Father who is in heaven. Every Christian is meant to live so as to arrest the attention of men, and make them ask whence comes the power to inspire him with such remarkable motives and make him the agent of such remarkable effects. Whereas the humiliating confession is to be made that most Christian lives are lived on such a low level that one is led to ask "Is this all?" We read of remarkable manifestations and approaches of the Divine in the way of an incarnate Son of God, a resurrection of the dead, a descent into the Church of a life-giving and transforming Spirit, so that all believers may become new creatures in Christ Jesus; and then, when we look at these professed new creatures, and see how much remains unchanged, inveterate as ever, we ask "Is this all the product of Christ's appearance on the earthly scene?" It is a dreadful reproach that we should let our inconsistency and infirmity be made an excuse for unbelievers to mock at God. We ought to be so under Divine influences, as to combine in one the bright candlestick and the pure, rich oil; and then from us there might shine forth in a pure inviting radiance, a light such as would guide, and cheer while it guided, many a wanderer to God. - Y.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.

WEB: "You shall command the children of Israel, that they bring to you pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually.

The Burning Lamp
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