“You must always keep the special Bread of the Presence on the table before me” (Exodus 25:30).
“Aaron and his sons will keep the lamps burning in the LORD’s presence day and night. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel, and it must be kept by all future generations.” (Exodus 27:21).
There is something eternal about His presence. There’s something that God wants me to understand about His presence. What is it about His presence that is so powerful? Why is His presence to important? What is presence? Presence is to be in close proximity. So is it just being close to God? To be near God? His presence is a sense of His awesome power. It is an overwhelming revelation of His greatness and my smallness. How does His presence relate to the bread and the lamps? Lord, please give me wisdom.
In chapters 25 to 27 of Exodus, God gave very exact instructions on how to build the Tabernacle. These were very precise measurements and plans. And among these instructions were two things that were to be perpetually present. The Bread of the Presence was on the table. And the table and lampstand were just outside the curtain to the Most Holy Place. So the Bread of the Presence and the lamps on the lampstand were perpetually there very close to the Holy of Holies. And the special bread was always there and the pure olive oil was always to be replenished for the lamps. This Bread of the Presence was to be replaced regularly with fresh bread (1 Samuel 21:6). Once Ahimelech the priest gave this holy bread to David and his men to eat, as long as any of them hadn’t slept with any women recently. Apparently this special bread was reserved for the priests to eat (Matthew 12:4). But David and his men ate it, breaking the law. But I suppose they did so understandably for some higher purpose. Anyway, I’m getting off on a tangent here. There is something important about the Bread of the Presence and the lamps.
Jesus told a story about the wise and foolish virgins and their lamps. They needed to have enough oil in the lamps to last until the Lord came back to open the door and invite them into the wedding feast. We also need to have enough oil in our lamps. We need to oil so that our lamps will be brightly lit until that final day. In Revelation, the blindingly bright and shining Son of Man was standing in the middle of seven gold lampstands, which are the seven churches. I can’t imagine that there with Jesus’ face shining as bright as the sun, that the lampstands would be out. No, they’d be shining brightly, too. Jesus taught on earth that if we are given a light, we shouldn’t hide it but let it shine. We are to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Day by day, in the desert God provided the manna. He provided this daily bread. This daily sustenance is what God provides. I believe that today, He wants me to eat the Bread of His presence, which is for the priests. But His vision is for a kingdom of priests. And by the blood of His Son, I am redeemed and may eat of the true Bread from Heaven: the flesh of His Son. And I may drink the true drink, the precious blood of the Lamb. I must commune with God. I must be with God in His presence. He must live in me. I was bought at a price and I am not my own. I am crucified with Christ and no longer live. It is Christ who lives in me, who loved me and bought me with His own blood. This is the bread, His flesh which I must eat always. Lord, let Your Word dwell richly in me! And I must have pure oil to burn brightly. I must have the Holy Spirit’s anointing oil to flow freely within me that I may shine brightly for the Lord’s glory, like Stephen did, like those lamps did perpetually. I must shine brightly like our Lord did when He was transfigured, when He rose from the dead, when He was seen in Revelation. When the Israelites fled Egypt, God gave them light no matter whether it was night or day. They had the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. They could travel whether night or day (Exodus 13:21).
Lord, let me eat the Bread of the Presence daily. And let the pure oil flow within me that I may burn brightly for You. I want to stay close to You. I want to live just outside the Most Holy Place. Actually, I open my heart: Live and reign in me, Lord! Come closer, Lord. I draw near to You.