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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

The Lamp of God

On more than one occasion, my wife has awakened from her sleep with laughter. It’s not because she was dreaming, but she heard me walking into the wall or door jam.

Perhaps it’s my color-blindness. Since I was a child, navigating darkness has always been a challenge. I usually stop and allow my eyes to orient to the dark before I proceed. It takes longer and requires patience – but it is always safer.

For the last few days, I’ve been re-reading the story of Samuel (1 Samuel). Samuel is undergoing training in the things of the Lord; an apprentice to Eli, he’s learning the ropes of Levitical ministry.

As I was reading, one phrase grabbed me: “The lamp of God had not yet gone out…” (1 Samuel 3:3).

Lamps were used in the tabernacle to displace darkness. This sacred fire was lit each evening and allowed to burn through the night until all the oil was consumed (Ex. 27:21).

We’re all familiar with darkness: Problems that obscure our sight, questions that resist answers, and unfulfilled longings often create a nighttime experience where we need the Lamp of God.

Job had difficulty seeing because of grief (Job 17:7). David had a hard time seeing because he struggled with waiting on God (Ps. 69:3). Jeremiah’s sight is dimmed because joy has been overtaken with mourning (Lam. 5:17).

Here’s the great news for each of us: The Lamp of God still burns!

The thing about a lamp is: It offers just enough light to reveal our next steps – NOT the whole trip! We can only see as far as the distance that our lamp shines.

I might be inclined to think it would be more comfortable seeing the full outcome of my life in advance. However, if in some magical way that could even be possible, I would never learn the beauty and value of faith.

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” [1]

It’s safer to walk in darkness with the light of a lamp!


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), 1 Co 13:12.

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