What We Learn from the Lampstand

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“Make a lampstand of pure, hammered gold. Make the entire lampstand and its decorations of one piece—the base, center stem, lamp cups, buds, and petals.”

Exodus 25:31

As we read Exodus 25, we are impressed by the lavishness of the contents of the Tabernacle. They are composed of large quantities of costly materials, mostly gold. The lampstand, for example, is to be made from seventy-five pounds of pure gold. Moreover, the Lord specified in detail the design of the lampstand. After it was completed, it would be a striking representation of an almond tree.

Why did the Lord require such a lavish lampstand? After all, it would be seen only by the priests who had permission to enter the sanctuary of the Tabernacle. Its main purpose was to illuminate the otherwise dark space within the tent. But this function could be served by a less costly and elegant device. So why did God want such an expensive and decorative lampstand?

The text of Exodus does not answer this question, so my reflections are speculative. I wonder if, in part, God wanted the contents of the Tabernacle to cost the Israelites something so that they might take it seriously. When our worship costs us little, we end up giving God far less than his due. Moreover, the beauty of the lampstand, seen by so few among the Israelites, suggests that the Lord himself enjoys aesthetically pleasing things. This shouldn’t surprise us, given the elegance of creation. Yet it reminds us that God is pleased, not only in our obedience, and not only in our service, but also in our artistry. When we create something attractive, whether a lampstand, a painting, or a garden in front of our home, we honor the Lord.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does the costliness and beauty of the lampstand suggest to you? In what ways have you honored the Lord through your own creative efforts?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, creator of all things, today I’m reminded of your own love of beauty. Not only are you the original source of beauty, but also you are the first and foremost audience.

Help me, dear Lord, to contribute to the beauty of this world. May I use my gifts to give joy to you as well as to my neighbors. May I use my gifts and talents in your service. Give me eyes to see how I might beautify the world around me, even if this means picking up a piece of litter on the path beside me.

Thank you, gracious God, for allowing me to appreciate the beauty of this world and even to add to it. What a blessing! What a privilege! Amen.