The Rest of The Way Posts

POKING HOLES IN THE DARKNESS
6/3/2020 11:27:00 AM by: Leona Choy

We all face “long hauls” of one kind or another. Most of life's circumstances demand waiting. It’s par for the course. Since we live out our lives in the space-time continuum, clocks and calendars rule our lives. In the Matthew 25 story of the wise and foolish bridesmaids, it was a case of bringing along enough lamp oil for the possible traditional long haul.

The ETA of the Bridegroom's arrival in the Jewish culture was to be decided by the Bridegroom's father, not even by the Bridegroom. “Therefore, be on the alert, for you do not know which day or hour your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42; 25:13).

The wedding festivities in Jesus' day would have depended on the lamplight of all ten of the bridesmaids' lamps. The lamps might have looked like the ancient oil lamp pictured above. With only five lamps available, the bright illumination the host was counting on would have been considerably diminished. Since early history, oil lamps together with candles were the main sources of lighting.

On the occasion of Saint Paul preaching until after midnight in Acts 20:8, the writer Luke noted, “...and there were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together.” Probably everyone attending brought his own lamp and joined the light with all the others; bright collective light was provided for the gathering. No one even fantasized about what it might be like someday to flip a switch to bring light instantly through electrical current, or imagined battery power, fluorescent lighting, LED lighting. Diodes, semiconductors, voltage, electrons, and photons were far in the future.

In certain less modern societies oil lamp light is still used because it is safer and brighter than candle light. In our society, oil lamps are still used for emergency lighting in case of a power outage, to light up primitive situations. Candle sales are still brisk for romantic ambiance and a cozy atmosphere. The shape of modern oil lamps has changed little—a clear glass or metal base for the oil and a wick connecting the oil with the flame which is covered by a glass chimney. I have several such lamps in my prepper storage area.

After Googling oil lamps, I became a bit wiser about their operation. The glass chimney becomes cloudy with smoke and soot buildup which cuts back the light output. You have to keep it clean for maximum lighting.

Trimming of the wick after burning and the shape of the wick also affect the type of flame and the brightness. Any kind of oil may be burned, even stale oil or used cooking oil will work, but pure paraffin oil or olive oil give the brightest light and no stink. The biblical bridesmaids likely used olive oil; we are told five of them carried extra in a flask. A temporary inconvenience, but it gave them the entrance ticket when the Bridegroom's procession finally arrived.

As Christians, we are awaiting our Bridegroom's appearance in glorious majesty at His second coming. He may seem to be delaying and the dark night is settling in around us as the world seems to whirl in turmoil, one crisis after another. After this global pandemic subsides, we face an upside-down society which will be trying desperately to right itself and to find its way in a different setting. Like the bridesmaids, we are becoming drowsy with the long haul. Notice that they all fell asleep!

Oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures. As Christians, we received the Holy Spirit to indwell us when we initially opened our hearts to Jesus' Lordship. Using a modern oil lamp for our analogy, our lamps tend to cloud up with the smoke and soot of concern for the affairs and cares of this life. It's up to us to keep our glass chimney clean—clean hands and a pure heart. We must be wise and not cheap by using stale oil or running out of oil at the Bridegroom's sudden arrival. Trimming our wick calls us to prune our lives of the unproductive, unfruitful elements so we can shine for Jesus without hindrance.

We are reminded to “keep being filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). I must seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) It takes habitual attention to be continually anointed with fresh oil which is the oil of joy. (Psalm 45:7a and 92:10b)

My cluttered mind is troubled with many things of this material world and my own busyness against which Jesus' cautioned His friend Martha. My head, my intellect, needs the anointing of Oil (Psalm 23:5b) as well as my heart, my emotions.

If I am so foolish as to let my lamp run out of Oil and stop shining God's Light, others will not be able to see in their darkness and are likely to stumble or lose their way. God has provided Oil so abundantly that I may not only be filled with His Holy Spirit but that I overflow.

He is counting on me to poke holes in the darkness of the culture and society around me by setting my lamp on a lampstand for the maximum dispersion of Jesus' Light in whatever sphere of influence He has given me.


Comments

Dot From Dan At 6/4/2020 6:06:07 AM

Glow, Leona!

Reply by: Leona Choy

The darker the night around us, the more we need our Oil lamps on our lamp stand in our corner of influence. SHINE, DOTTIE!

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