Friday, January 29, 2010
Keeping Our Lamps Lit
“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28).
As much as I appreciate modern electricity, there is something very comforting and peaceful about old-fashioned oil lamps. I have a small one I purchased from a yard sale, and I enjoy simply looking at it. It does require some effort to keep it burning however. Without maintaining a full supply of oil in the base, the wick will not burn. Although shaped differently, Biblical lamps burned in the same way.
Just as these lamps need oil to continue burning, so I need the edifying and encouraging oil of God’s Word to keep my light burning. When I neglect to fill my life with His presence, through the reading of His Word and prayer, I eventually burn out. On those days, I grope about in the darkness of anxiety, fear, and despondency. I need to maintain that oil supply to see my way through life, particularly on painful or difficult days.
In Biblical times, these oil lamps were the only source of artificial light and often continued burning throughout the night. A darkened house was a sign of abandonment. If I do not keep my life filled with the truths of God’s Word at all times, I will feel abandoned and alone in my struggles. The oil supply is not lacking, but I have neglected to replenish it.
I have paraphrased the Eerdmans Commentary on this verse, because I thought the main concept was expressed so well: The key to David’s life was the Lord my God. The indwelling light and power of God’s presence maintained the burning glow of his daily life, as well as giving the power and motivation to overcome difficulties. The indwelling presence of our wonderful God truly is the continual light source we need for our everyday lives as well as for our intense times of trial. There will always be more than enough oil for our lamps if we continue to fill them.
Prayer: O Lord, thank you for the sustaining oil of Your Word and Your presence, which illuminates my life. Keep me faithful and consistent to remain filled with You. Amen.