Remember the lampstand

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Daily Readings: Exodus 25-26

“Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.

“Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold. A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

Exodus 36:31-40

Truth be told, the exact specifications of the making of the tabernacle found in Exodus over the course of multiple chapters has always been a portion of the Bible that I have simply breezed through in the past. In previous “reading through the entire Bible” endeavors I have more or less skimmed this portion so that I could at least say I read it.

Today I wanted to take the time to actually read it.

It is easy to fall into the trap of only wanting the Bible to speak directly to us in verses that are unmistakable in their meaning and hold direct implications for our lives. I want instant clarity! Or at least easy implications to discern…

Who cares about a lampstand?

Apparently God does. A lot…

What struck me today is the unbelievable depth of detail God used in describing every single tiny portion of what he wanted the Israelites to create. He left no minor item up to chance. He had a precise vision and knew exactly why he was having them create the ark, table, lamp, etc. and what purpose they were there to serve.

There is a great deal of beauty in God’s descriptions when you slow down to read them instead of flying through to find “the one verse that speaks to me this morning”.

Our God is a God of the details. He is an artist and a precise one at that. When you look around the world it is impossible to not be blown away by his handiwork. We live in an incredible, artistic, beautiful world.

But then a second thought struck me. If God put that much intricate thought into a simple lampstand, how much more thought and care has he put into creating you and me? How much more love and attention went into each of our strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and shortcomings? If God was this into the details of a lampstand, how much more did he carefully create each and every one of us?

It is easy to look at God’s creation and think, “What is wrong with that person?” or “What is wrong with me?” Some people frustrate us, annoy us, and we struggle to understand what on earth is going on in their mind. And sometime we do that to ourselves as well!

Today I want to view that person through God’s lens. I want to see the beautiful masterpiece that God created down to the last detail. I want to love them and appreciate God’s handiwork. I want to embrace the truth that God designed them exactly the way they are for a purpose.

I want to give myself that same level of grace as well.

God put far more thought into you than into a lampstand.

The only difference, with people, is that we have the opportunity to say yay or nay to being used for God’s purpose. The lampstand doesn’t. It cannot choose to turn away from the purpose for which God specifically created it. People can.

Today I will remember this.

Every single one of your strengths, weaknesses, skills, hang-ups, hurts, and life experiences make you even more beautiful in the eyes of God and he wants to use you right where you are.

So when you are tempted to minimize yourself or the impact you potentially have today, or when you are falling back into thinking poorly of others, remember the lampstand. Back on Day 6 we heard Jesus tell us that we are to be the light of the world, and encouraged us to never light a lamp and then put it under a bowl.

You are a beautiful creation and so is each and every person you come in contact with today. Make sure you are not putting your lamp under a bowl because you feel unworthy. Be careful that you are not dismissing other people and their inherent worth to an almighty God based on our perception of the flaws in his handiwork. They are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Today, remember the lampstand.

Thought to ponder

What aspect of how God has created me have I not yet been willing to attribute to the handiwork of God and how can I use that aspect of my personality, natural predisposition, or life experience to advance his Kingdom?

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