In their song, “Father of Lights,” the popular Christian band Third Day sings: “Father of love, Father of lights / Let your love fall, let it shine bright / You alone deserve the honor and the glory / You alone deserve all our praise / So we worship you and you alone / Great and marvelous are your deeds / O Lord, God Almighty / Just and true are your ways / So we praise you and you alone / Father of truth, Father of grace.”
Having explored the imagery of light as it relates to God the Father, God the Son, and God’s Word, including the gospel, we turn next to how light and darkness are used in Scripture to describe or instruct human beings. In today’s passage, we consider physical light in relation to the responsibility to worship.
Light was an integral part of Israelite worship, as we see in the lampstand in the tabernacle. Keeping the lights continually lit, using clear olive oil, was an important duty for the priests. God Himself gave the pattern—a center stem with three branches on either side, for a total of seven lights, a number possibly symbolizing completeness (Num. 8:1–4). The lampstand’s design was to resemble an almond tree, with “flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms,” perhaps because this tree was the first to bloom in spring in the Near East and thus symbolized life (v. 31). Standing four-and-a-half feet high, it was to be made of pure gold and would have weighed about 100 pounds.
To keep the lights always burning represented both the continuous worship of God’s people and His continuous presence with them. It was also a reminder that Israel was to be a “light to the nations.”
The basic design of the tabernacle lampstand can be seen today in the Hanukkah menorah. Hanukkah is also known as the “Festival of Lights,” and one candle is lit each night during this Jewish holiday. Even if we don’t celebrate this holiday, we can be reminded of God’s light to His people through the menorah or lampstand.