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Give Me Oil in My Lamp, I Pray

Oil revolutionized our lives.  From the first moments that “black gold” was found, it has made life easier in so many ways. Oil, gas, and the many derivatives that have been created are used for a myriad number of things we need and use daily.

Before petroleum was discovered, various kinds of oil were part of life from ancient times.  Olive oil was prevalent in the Bible.  People learned how to make oil from various plants and render animal fat to provide oil for cooking, soap, and sometimes for lamps.  And, whalers in the 19th century were going after whales in the seas to use their blubber for oils of all kinds.

Today, oil provides over 6,000 items made from petroleum waste by-products, including: fertilizer, flooring (floor covering), perfume, insecticide, petroleum jelly, soap, vitamins and some essential amino acids. (Wikipedia).  Because oil and its various uses are so integrated in all that we do, the demand for it continues to rise.

In Scripture, oil is one of the symbols used for the Holy Spirit.  Kings and Priests were anointed with oil to symbolize God’s authority on them.  God commanded that olive oil be used in the lamps in the temple.  Perhaps His command for olive oil to be the oil lighting temple lamps is because it is so very hard to kill and olive tree.  Even when it is cut to the stump, many times new shoots will rise from the roots and a tree will thrive again.  Thus, olive oil would symbolize the eternal nature of God’s presence.  The oil burning would create the Light to ever be present in His Holy Temple to remind His people that He was ever present with them in life.

If the oil is not replenished regularly in the lamps, the wick is no longer “powered” by the filling of the oil, and it begins to burn out.  The same is true of a Christian that is seeking to please God on his own without the Spirit’s power.  He becomes dry, burning up, and cannot last long.

Dr. Paul Brand was speaking to a medical college in India on Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” In front of the lectern was an oil lamp, with its cotton wick burning from the shallow dish of oil. As he preached, the lamp ran out of oil, the wick burned dry, and the smoke made him cough. He immediately used the opportunity.

“Some of us here are like this wick,” he said. “We’re trying to shine for the glory of God, but we stink. That’s what happens when we use ourselves as the fuel of our witness rather than the Holy Spirit. Wicks can last indefinitely, burning brightly and without irritating smoke, if the fuel, the Holy Spirit, is in constant supply.”  (Copied).

Some of you remember the old song, “Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.  Keep me burning till the light of day!”  May it be so with all of us that call Jesus our Lord!