February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“He also made the lampstand of pure gold; of hammered work he made the lampstand. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and its flowers were of the same piece. And six branches came out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. There were three bowls made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower—and so for the six branches coming out of the lampstand. And on the lampstand itself were four bowls made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. There was a knob under the first two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches extending from it. Their knobs and their branches were of one piece; all of it was one hammered piece of pure gold. And he made its seven lamps, its wick-trimmers, and its trays of pure gold. Of a talent of pure gold he made it, with all its utensils. He made the incense altar of acacia wood. Its length was a cubit and its width a cubit—it was square—and two cubits was its height. Its horns were of one piece with it. And he overlaid it with pure gold: its top, its sides all around, and its horns. He also made for it a molding of gold all around it. He made two rings of gold for it under its molding, by its two corners on both sides, as holders for the poles with which to bear it. And he made the poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold. He also made the holy anointing oil and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the perfumer.”—Exodus 37:17–29 (NKJV)
As we work our way through the construction of the tabernacle and all of the sacred objects that were to accompany it, we need to remember everything the Lord instructed Israel to make was a reflection of Him in some way. We also need to know these truths carry over from Israel into the lives of everyone who is in Christ. As Christians, our relationship with Lord is central to our lives, and we also enjoy His provision over our lives.
This leads us to the next two objects that were to be housed within the tabernacle. The first was the golden lampstand which was a large standing lamp with seven branches, each ending with a small cup of oil that would provide an illuminating flame. If we use our imagination for a moment, we can envision what it must have been like to enter the tabernacle tent. It was covered with several layers of various materials, which meant no sunlight could get through. It was probably very naturally dark in there, which means the lampstand would have been the only light source making the beauty of all else inside visible.
Life here on Earth can get very dark. We come up against something that requires us to make a decision, but the way forward isn’t clear. We all know what it’s like to try and navigate an area that’s pitch black—how frustrating and how dangerous that can be! But just as the golden lampstand illuminated the interior of the tabernacle, the Lord also illuminates our lives. Jesus declared Himself as the “light of the world” (John 8:12), meaning He is the source of all the illumination a person needs in this life. Questions like, “What should I do here?”, “How should I respond to that person?”, and “When should I take that step of faith?” are all answered as the Lord illuminates our way through the darkness of life.
The next object was the incense altar, which was basically a golden box filled with coals a special incense would be placed on to produce a fragrant effect. It was to be placed next to the curtain separating the Ark from everything else and just as the golden lampstand determined what one would see in the tabernacle, the incense altar defined what one would smell. Now we can’t miss the fact that God often compares the ascending scent of incense to people’s prayers (Revelation 5:8, 8:3, 8:4). So, when we see incense referenced, it also triggers the idea of prayer and specifically intercession.
Did you know Hebrews 7:25 tells us Jesus is continually interceding for His followers? That encourages me immensely, because there’s nobody I’d rather have interceding for me than the Lord, Himself! And that’s what the incense altar points to—the fact that Christ is continually praying for His people in addition to being a lamp to their feet and a light to their path (Psalm 119:105).
Pause: What do the golden lampstand and incense altar reveal to us about the Lord’s nature?
Practice: Take some time to think about and journal when you’ve personally experienced Christ’s illumination and intercession in your life.
Pray: Lord, I need You to guide me and to illuminate my way in life. I need Your continued intercession. Help me to look to You as my illuminator and to rest in You as my intercessor. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.