I Am the Bread

As we return to our walkthrough of the Tabernacle, we come to the table. A place of invitation and community where we receive spiritual food from the Father who has provided us with a model to help us process this life-giving gift. In each piece of the Tabernacle, we discover how God has modeled for us what He desires in our worship of Him.  Resuming our Tabernacle tour, we are still in the Holy Place—the first room in the Tabernacle proper. Which sits as our church facing east. We enter and on your left side, which is southerly, we find the golden lampstand or menorah. Across the room, on the right, or north, is the Table of Showbread, also called Bread of the Presence. The Table of Showbread is a literal table with real edible bread, holding a spiritual object lesson for us. 

This begs the question of what did Jesus mean when He said, I am the Bread of Life? (John 6:35) As the first of the seven I Am statements of Jesus, this phrase is a declaration about who He is and what He is doing for us in our relationship with God. In all seven, He combines I AM with tremendous metaphors which express His saving relationship toward the world. All of the 7 I AM sayings appear in the book of John.

You probably remember when the Jews were wandering in the desert for 40 years, God rained down bread from heaven called manna to sustain them (Exodus 16:4).

All of this plays into the scene being described in John 6 when Jesus used the term bread of life. He was trying to get away from the crowds to no avail. He had crossed the Sea of Galilee, and the crowd followed Him. After some time, Jesus inquires of Philip how they’re going to feed the crowd. Philip’s answer displays his little faith when he says they don’t have enough money to give each of them the smallest morsel of food. Finally, Andrew brings to Jesus a boy who had five small loaves of bread and two fish. With that amount, Jesus miraculously fed the throng with lots of food to spare.

Afterward, Jesus and His disciples cross back to the other side of Galilee. When the crowd sees that Jesus has left, they follow Him again. Jesus takes this moment to teach them a lesson. He accuses the crowd of ignoring His miraculous signs and only following Him for the free meal. Jesus tells them in John 6:27~“Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” (NIV) 

In other words, they were so enthralled with the food, they were missing out on the fact that their Messiah had come. So the Jews ask Jesus for a sign that He was sent from God (as if the miraculous feeding and the walking across the water weren’t enough). They tell Jesus that God gave them manna during the desert wandering. Jesus responds by telling them that they need to ask for the true bread from heaven that gives life. When they ask Jesus for this bread, Jesus startles them by saying, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

This is a phenomenal statement! Jesus equates Himself with bread, saying He, Jesus, is essential for life. Have you made Jesus essential to your life? Our dilemma is we have a desire we cannot fulfill, no matter what we do. This is where Jesus comes in as He, and He alone can fulfill that desire in our hearts for righteousness through the Divine Transaction: “For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). When Christ died on the cross, He took the sins of mankind upon Himself and made atonement for them. When we place our faith in Him, our sins are imputed to Jesus, and His righteousness is imputed to us. Jesus satisfies our hunger and thirst for righteousness. He is our Bread of Life. Today, eat your daily bread, with Jesus.

Be the candle

Many Christians today need their wicks trimmed because their lights are flickering and becoming dim. When we fail to keep our spiritual wick trimmed, we lose our spiritual perspective. So, in an effort to help us with our spiritual wick trimming, I offer three tips to help us keep shining our light as brightly as we can for the Lord. 

A—Read the Bible. I know!!! Sounds so simple. The Bible provides us with what we need to keep our lights burning brightly. Because we live in a culture desperately trying to change our views of sin, we need the Bible to enlighten our minds as to exactly what sin is and what God wants from us. Psalm 119:105~Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. (NLT) It is critically important to read the Bible. That’s why I put the word of God before you. So you will read it yourself and hear it spoken over you. I even provide the scripture references to be reread in your devotionals. My hope is that you are reading God’s holy word. We must read from the Bible ourselves. There is something powerful about reading the scripture.

B—Refrain from viewing vile content. We absorb content daily. Some is edifying while other content is completely vile. We live in a day where content is generated to evoke thoughts and bolster habits, fixing in us a need, all in an attempt to enslave us. Digital ads and media, movies, TV shows, even the news is shaped to elicit a response. The internet is a tool, yet it is also filled with sinful material. The desire of advertisements, games, shows, are artfully and purposely designed to hook us. In an atom to create thoughts, desires, that desensitize or numb which can and will remove our spiritual sensitivity to sin. 

Since Olivia’s surgery, her thumb has, as she calls it, gets buzzy. That’s because when it was torn nearly off the nerves needed repair and as they reconnect and turn back on, they are hypersensitive. Remember when you first got saved and cleaned out your life. You were sensitive. Olivia’s thumb is doing just that. It is trying to process information. So, we take cotton balls, terrycloth, beads, and even a super bounce ball to help the thumb get used to things touching it, to allow normal function. This is desensitizing. For Olivia, it is necessary to teach the thumb to process all of life. However, spiritually speaking when we do this, we become less aware of sin creeping into our lives. We start with one thing, and it really is not bad, however, each step moves us away from God.

Listen to Psalm 101:3~I will not look with approval on anything that is vile (בְּלִיַּעַל beliya`al). I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. (NIV) (בְּלִיַּעַל beliya`al) vile, worthless, wicked. It refers to anything morally vile. Every time we look at something vile on TV, the internet, or a social post, our spiritual light begins to dim, to become perverted. Read the Bible, Refrain from viewing vile content and…

C—Refine your language. Few things in our culture reveal spiritual darkness like the prevalence of foul, irreverent, dirty language. Some attempt to justify or legitimize by saying, It’s OK, I’m not using the Lord’s name. Hear the words of Apostle Paul Ephesians 4:29~Do not let any unwholesome (σαπρός sapros) talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV) (σαπρός sapros) means rotten or foul. It was used to refer to rotten fruit, vegetables, and meat. Corrupt language reveals our culture is spiritually rotten like a smelly old egg. Vulgarity, coarse language dirty jokes, profanity they all dim our lights in a world that desperately needs the light of Jesus Christ to shine through us. 

So, have you come into the Light of Christ? God’s light reveals all of our impurities. Not so He can beat us up, or just to cut back our wicks, but so that we can change to become more like His Son Jesus. Listen as the Apostle Paul writes to the Philippians 2:15~so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky (NIV) Take a few moments to ask the Lord to help you apply our study of the lampstand and how you can shine more brightly the light of Jesus.

Spiritual Blindness

I am guessing that you have already heard by now, but if not, know that God desires to shine His light through you. We live in a world of spiritual darkness. The Bible teaches we are not only to come into the light, Jesus, but also to become the light. Ephesians 5:8~For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. (NIV) Do you remember your dark days of groping your way through life? We could not really see. Why? 

Without light, we cannot see, and eventually, we will go blind. In the New Testament, there are two types of blindness discussed. The first is God who blinded their eyes, listen to Jesus in John 12:40~He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn–and I would heal them. (NIV) We hear the echo of 2 Chronicles 7:14. Turn to God and live for Him and be healed. However, here in John 12, Jesus has just been anointed, He has been sought out, they hear how He must die and just cannot accept the crucifixion or the Ressurection to follow. Do you know anyone who struggles with God’s plan? Faith involves trusting God. Proverbs 3:5-6~Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (NIV) We must all accept God’s only Son Jesus as Lord over all, or He is not Lord at all. We walk by faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

The second blindness described in the New Testament is caused by Satan. 2 Corinthians 4:3~And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. (ESV) 2 Corinthians 4:4~The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (ESV) Because our adversary has dulled our vision. He has placed a veil over the heart of the unbelieving one; the very organs of spiritual perception were blinded in the other.

Listen as God commands Ole Mo Leviticus 24:2~Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning continually. (NIV) How long does God’s light burn? It burns continually. The pure olive oil is placed in each bowl at the top of each shaft, along with a wick. In Man-O-War when a hurricane would knock our power you would light the room with oil lamps. Some even filled a small pan with cooking lard. They would then braid three narrow strips of cloth to make a wick and placed it in the lard. When the oil has soaked completely through the homemade wick, the lit one end with a match, there was light. 

Aaron passed our priestly assignments to tend the lamps so they would never go out, Leviticus 24:4~The lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the LORD must be tended continually. (NIV) Is it any wonder Christ Jesus told us in Luke 9:23 that our faith walk was daily bearing the cross. Many of you have camped with a kerosene lamp, and you know what is involved in tending a lamp. As the wick burns, it has to be continually trimmed or the light grows dim. 

So too, our spiritual lives will dim, unless we trim our wicks. Trimming also provides us with the benefits, by removing the smoking and the soot that desires to accumulate around us. Today, ask God to begin preparing you for a wick trimming. Just like when we go camping we must get everything ready. Prepare today and we will look at some of the processes tomorrow.