Thursday, November 23, 2017

the Light is always on

The Word for today:
Exodus 34
The Tabernacle is God’s picture book, illustrating the great doctrines of the Christian faith. And Stand in the Rain has been commissioned by God Himself (Matthew 28:18-20) to be your official Tabernacle tour guide…
The most beautiful article in the Tabernacle was the golden lampstand. It is the tabernacle's most perfect picture of Jesus, the true light that shines on everyone. (John 1:9/CEV)
The lampstand held seven lamps filled with oil. The oil is representative of the Holy Spirit, who takes the things of Christ and makes them known to us. (John 6:14-15)
I love light. Nothing is as exquisite.
I love light so much that I sometimes try to think of words associated with it, and I say them out loud:
Colors are reflected fragments of light.
Diamonds cause light to echo and bounce.
Mirrors send the light back where it came from.
Nothing is quite as lovely as light. Nothing is as delicate, or as powerful, or as practical, or as poetic.
When I think of God, I get a mental image of Jesus. But it's important to understand that in order to translate the eternal Word into flesh, Jesus had to empty himself (1), divesting himself of what is called Shekinah glory. That's the dazzling light that emanated from the Holiest Place in the tabernacle; the light that was a pillar of fire in the wilderness night; the light that burned, but did not consume, the bush; and the light that he is clothed in right now (2).
One time, and one time only, God let some Apostles glimpse Jesus in full Shekinah array. We call that moment the Transfiguration:
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. (Matthew 17:1-2)
Moses got a glimpse of this Shekinah glory when God hid him in the rocks of Mt. Sinai:
While my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. (Exodus 33:22)
The light was so substantial that it clung to Moses' face even after he descended the mountain.
Ezekiel 1 shows us a vision of God that, as far as I can tell, resembles the shifting luminescence you'd see if you took my list of light-words (above) and mixed them together in a kaleidoscope:
As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. (Ezekiel 1:4, 27-28)
Revelation shows us that while Jesus is now the spiritual Light of the World, he will also be the physical light of the eternal cosmos:
And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. (Revelation 21:23)
Of all the beautiful verses in the Psalms, none is brighter, more beautiful, or more illuminating than this one:
In your light we see light. (Psalm 36:9)
What that means is that when God said, "Let there be light," he wasn't creating it. Light had forever been with him at his right hand. "Let there be light" was a command to reveal the Light of the World, to pull the veil off of our benighted eyes so we could see the Light that always was and always will be.
I know the darkness too well, but perhaps not as well as you do. And neither of us knows darkness like the Light of the World does. In the Psalms, the saddest line of all consigns Jesus to the dark:
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (3)
But God was there (4). Jesus just couldn't see him for the while that our sin was upon him.
Darkness, you see, is a lie told by limited eyes, limited imaginations, and limited faith. When it seems dark, it only seems that way:
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)
The Light is always 'on.'
(1) Philippians 2:7/NASB; (2) Psalm 104:2; (3) Psalm 22:1; (4) see 2 Corinthians 5:19/NASB

No comments:

Post a Comment