Summary: What I at first thought was a dry and boring book with no relevance to my life, turned out to be one of the most profound and exciting books in the bible, with full of application to my life! Learn how to make it through the "wilderness" of this life succ
The Transforming Power of Light
Series: Biblical Guide to Wilderness Survival
November 9, 2011
Video Clip: "Monsters Inc."
That scene from Pixars "Monsters Inc.", kind of summed up for me every fear I had as a child. How many of you believed that there was a monster under you bed? I did! When I was a kid...night-time was "monster time"! Since I've grown up, I don't believe there monsters under my bed anymore, but there are still times I'm afraid of the dark. And so, this morning I want to talk to you about the differences between darkness and light, and how you can overcome the "grown up kind" of fear of the dark. It's amazing how many verses in the bible deal with darkness and light. It's a metaphor God uses all through the bible. One of those places is in the book of Numbers, chapter 8. In case you haven't been here (and I understand that many of you are guests this morning, so I want to catch you up a bit.) We've been studying the 3rd book in the bible...called "Numbers".
Now, at first when you try to read it, it seems kind of boring...(lots of numbers!)...but the more you understand what you're reading the more fascinating and powerful it gets. "Numbers' is the story of God's people moving from 400 years of being Egyptian slaves...through the desert...to a land that God promised them. The land of Israel. And if you think about it, we've got a lot in common with them. God wants to deliver us from the slavery of sin, and bring us to the promised land of heaven. But before we get there...we have to go through the desert. In case you didn't realize it...life in this world is like a desert. There are some good times, but most of the time, it's a struggle! There are hardships, sickness, pain, trials... and if we're going to get to heaven, we're going to have to trust in God to help us find the way!
It's been 8 chapters now...and they're still getting ready to go. There was a lot of preparation that needed to take place before you moved over a million men, women and children across 100's of miles of desert. Thankfully, God said that He would PERSONALLY go with them. But because He was holy and they weren't, He needed to make sure that they didn't get to close, or His holiness would vaporize them in an instant. It'd be kind of like having a 'nuclear reactor' in your backyard...it's power would provide you with protection and security...but if you got to close...and if you don't take certain precautions ...you're going to die!
The place that God dwelt was called, "The Tabernacle", it lit. means, "dwelling place". It looked like a huge tent on the outside, but it was basically a portable temple, that was set up and taken down whenever they stopped travelling. Inside, every piece of furniture had a purpose and a reason. The piece of furniture we're going to talk about with this morning is what is called the "Lampstand". (Stick with me here and I think this is all going to make sense to you in a few minutes). READ Numbers 8:1-4. Now, there were no windows in the tabernacle, and so the purpose of the lampstand was to give light to the priests so that they could go about their duties. The "lampstand" looked like this...(show picture). It's actually called a 'menorah'. It was made out of pure gold, and it weighed about 94 lbs. I checked the price of gold & it would be worth $2.5 million at today's prices! The lamps on each branch burned pure olive oil and would have cast a soft glow throughout the entire room. Since the room was walled with planks surfaced with thin sheets of pure gold, the effect would have been stunning.
But the lampstand was more than just an appliance, it was meant to convey a message. As part of the grand opening of the tabernacle, God specifically instructed Moses and Aaron (the head priest) to set up 7 lights on the lampstand, in such a way that they faced forward and threw their light in front of the lampstand. Now why was God being so anal about this detail? Well, as we're leaning, God has a reason for everything He does. Never doubt that!
And the reason He specifically required the light to shine forward, was because of what the lampstand symbolized. It symbolized God Himself! The 7 lamps on it represented the completeness and perfection of God's presence. And the light that came from the lampstand represented God's favor and His blessing shining forward, out into the darkness!
I don't know if you realize it or not...but