A Word To Women
“Command the children of Israel that they bring
unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light,
to cause the lamps to burn continually.”
When I was a child, olive oil was kept in the medicine cupboard. Often my mother warmed it and used it to soothe painful ears. Most of us will use olive oil for cooking. In the Scriptures, olive oil was used in the beautiful seven branched candlestick in the Tabernacle.
The Lord gave clear instructions as to how the olive oil was to be obtained. The olives were to be “beaten with a pestle in a mortar, and not ground in a mill, that so it might be quite clear; for being bruised and beaten, only the pulp or flesh of the olive was broken, but being ground in a mill, the stones were broken and ground, and so the oil not so pure.” (John Gill) Lower quality oil could be used for other purposes but this oil, symbolising the Holy Spirit, had to be pure.
A description of the candlestick is given in Exodus 25:31-40. Made of pure gold, it had a central shaft and branch and three branches to either side, all with an intricately crafted bowl at the end. The oil burned clear and bright in these bowls and illuminated the Tabernacle. The candlestick pictures Christ bearing up the branches which represent the people of God.
Christians are to “shine as lights in the world”, Philippians 2:15. We cannot do this of ourselves no matter how talented we may be. John the Baptist was described as “a burning and shining light” John 5:35. What was his secret? He was filled with the Holy Spirit. John came to bear witness of the Light, the Lord Jesus Christ. We need the grace of God, the indwelling of His Spirit to shine out for our Saviour.
The priest attended to the candlestick every day. The wicks needed trimming, the oil needed replenishing. We must tend our lives daily for sin creeps in and mars the brightness of our testimony. We must confess our sin and seek the help of the Spirit to grow in grace. The oil was pure and did not splutter as it burned. We need that gentle nature of the Spirit. Peter exhorted adornment with, “a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” 1 Peter 3:4.
The light from the golden candlestick shone on the golden table of shewbread and the golden altar of incense – the bread speaking of Christ’s body given for us, the incense of Christ’s prayers for us. The beauty of Christ shines forth under the glow of the candlestick. The grace of God, if apparent in our lives, will shine forth and be used to draw others to our Saviour. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”, Matthew 5:16.
The candlestick was the only light in the Tabernacle. There were no windows. The Lord has left us as the only spiritual light in a dark world. What a responsibility rests on us! Yet we have so many promises to encourage us, including, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness”, 2 Corinthians 12:9. Let the olive oil of God’s Holy Spirit flow in your life and you will shine for Him wherever you go!
Jesus bids us shine with a clear, pure light,
Like a little candle burning in the night;
In this world of darkness, we must shine,
You in your small corner, and I in mine.