Exodus 27:20 NIV “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning.”
On the surface, this is a rather generic instruction. God, via Moses, is giving the people a shopping list for the Tabernacle and its appurtenances. There would be a lamp in the Tabernacle, and it needed oil. Simple. Not mysterious. Standard fuel, I suspect.
What stood out to me is the phrase “clear oil.” Now I am no master of grades and kinds of olive oil. I go to the store, see a wide variety of grades for cooking and my eyes kind of glaze over. I know even less about olive oil for lamps.
So take the following metaphorically, not as a lesson from science or culture.
I love candles. I love the smell of candles. I am not a great fan of the soot which candles deposit on my possessions when I burn candles.
After years of push/pull, I finally decided that my new, freshly painted and deeply loved office (AKA “The Hub”) was too special to coat with soot. I would thenceforth do without the fragrance of my beloved candles. Decision made.
Somewhere or another, I accidentally discovered that there were soot free candles available, and I swiftly reverted to my ambiance enhancer. I simply write better under certain circumstances.
Now (remember this is a metaphor, not science) suppose olive oil that was less than premium quality released soot, while clear oil didn’t. It would be a no-brainer that God didn’t want sooty light causing a mess all through the holy place.
That is my prayer request for this week. Project N is coming to a head. I have laid a foundation in the first four sections of the project and now I need to make a large leap of application into an area most people don’t think about (this is Sapphire, after all).
The “so what” section of the project will run absolutely counter to one of the standard tenets of modern Protestantism (this is Sapphire, after all). And it will explain the log jam experienced by a lot of folks who have been playing their hearts out and cannot get where they need to get to possess their birthright (this is Sapphire, after all).
And should also bring dignity and hope to a lot of people who never quite fit in the religious culture because the way they walked out their Christianity was a bit different than most (this is Sapphire, after all).
I have a very firm grasp on the topic. I have studied it for years. Seen the consequences of it (good and bad) in thousands. I have lived it in my own life. I feel confident in my ability to express it.
And therein lies the problem. My wisdom vs. the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
My wisdom is like oil that provides good light in darkness but leaves a residue of soot after a while.
The wisdom of the Holy Spirit produces clear light with no residue.
It is ironic that strength is a danger. When I am unsure of myself, I am almost obsessive about listening to the Holy Spirit. As I marinated in a topic for a long time, it becomes so a part of me, I can’t always hear the Spirit like I used to.
So please pray for me as I craft the final section of the project, that when it is released, people will see their lives with the clear light of the Holy Spirit, instead of sooty light.
“Father, in the New Jerusalem, You will be the light and Jesus will be the lamp that exquisitely broadcasts that light. That is our model.
“I ask for me, and Sapphire as a whole, that You would purge the light of our human knowledge and allow only the light of the Holy Spirit to shine through the teaching that is developed this week.
“Let there be no soot, only truth, hope and dignity when it gives light to the people of God.”
Copyright February 2014 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub, after hours