I took this photo over Fourth of July weekend. We were sitting out on the deck at the lake watching the fireworks. This tiki lamp was sitting on the deck railing and I loved watching its flame dance in the slight breeze which was blowing. In fact, for a while I found it’s quiet illumination more enjoyable than all of the fantastical explosions happening above and around us. There’s something I find fascinating about the fact that the electric lights we take for granted are still a fairly new concept in the course of time. For ten thousand years, up until the last century, the quiet light of a small lamp was the only thing people had to pierce the darkness of night.
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
God’s Message is not a high-beam that reveals the road ahead.
It is a foot-lamp that helps you manage the next step wisely.
E is for Eyes.
I don’t know why, but I’ve always had a fascination with eyes. When I am struck by a stranger, it almost always their eyes that, well, “catch my eye.” Eyes have been a consistent motif in my artwork. I’ve heard it said that science has been able to replicate almost every human aspect in the form of robotics, but the eye and it’s coordination with the brain and body has been virtually impossible to replicate in its complexity, sensitivity and rapid response.
I love that God created the eye to be the lamp of the soul. Eyes speak so much. They are so expressive. Eyes captivate.
Elisha then stared hard at Hazael, reading his heart. Hazael felt exposed and dropped his eyes. Then the Holy Man wept. 2 Kings 8:11 (MSG)
Our eyes can be very revealing. When I was a child, my parents definitely had "the look." Their eyes could penetrate and see all sorts of things – especially when I had done something wrong and I knew it. As a father, I look into my daughters' eyes and can see deception, joy, honesty, fear, hurt, guilt, anger, shame, or depression.
It isn't just a parent-child thing, either. I looked into my friends eyes this past weekend and saw intense sadness. Last night I gazed into my wife's eyes and saw deep grief, and love that was deeper still.
"Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don't get musty and murky. Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room." – Luke 11:33-34 (MSG)
If I look into your eyes, what will I see?
"Now, order the Israelites to bring you pure, clear olive oil for light so that the lamps can be kept burning. In the Tent of Meeting, the area outside the curtain that veils The Testimony, Aaron and his sons will keep this light burning from evening until morning before God. This is to be a permanent practice down through the generations for Israelites." Exodus 27:20-21 (MSG)
There is a light above our kitchen sink that remains on 24/7/365. The practice of keeping a light burning through the night was not motivated by any kind of spiritual reasoning. With teenage daughters often coming home well after we've gone to bed, it's there to help them not stumble on their way into the house. If we have to get up in the watches of the night for some reason, we have a light to guide us.
As I read God's command for Aaron and the priests to keep the oil lamps burning in the tent of God's dwelling, it struck me that there are parallel reasons with our little kitchen light. You need light for protection and safety. You need light if you're going to be active. What a daily word picture for the people of Israel who, at this point in the story, are still uprooted and wandering through the wilderness. The lamps in the night send a subtle, but powerful message. God does not sleep at night. God is active. God will protect and watch over you in the depths of daily darkness.
Today, I'm thankful for God who is vigilant in watching over me and my family even when I am asleep or distracted by the unimportant things of this world.