July 07, 2020

The Light of the World

Numbers 8:1-4

The Lord said . . . “. . . ‘When you set up the lamps, see that all seven light the area in front of the lampstand.’”

—  Numbers 8:1-2

The tabernacle in the wilderness was a unique place with interesting furniture. One piece of furniture was the lampstand described in our passage. It was made of hammered gold, with seven branches for its lamps, shaped like almond buds and blossoms. The lampstand stood in the Holy Place and lit up the space in front of it, especially the table that had twelve loaves of bread on it, which represented the twelve tribes of Israel (see Exodus 25:23-40; Leviticus 24:1-9).

Why does the book of Numbers single out this piece of furniture in the tabernacle? It reminded Israel that God’s favor was shining on them, even though they were in a wilderness. God was giving them his light. The people needed this reminder in the deadly, dark wilderness—and so do we.

When we find ourselves in what feels like a wilderness, it’s easy to lose hope. But then God says, “My light is on you.” For us today, that light is Jesus, the light of the world (John 8:12). In Christ, God reminds us that he has not abandoned us and that his love is for us.

We are also called to shine the light of Christ into the wilderness experiences of others. We need to do this individually and as churches. Jesus’ light shining through us gives hope to others.

Whose life do you need to shine into?

Jesus, you are the light of the world, and you call us to shine your light everywhere. May we bring hope to others through your gospel of grace and forgiveness. Amen.

About the author — Tom Groelsema

Tom Groelsema and his wife, Sheri, have served churches in Minnesota, Michigan, and North Carolina. They have four children and three granddaughters.

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