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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Leadership Lessons From Lesser-knowns (part 2)

We read in Exodus 31 that Bezalel's father was Uri, whose name literally means “my light.” A loose translation would be, “fiery light.” This is the same word used in Psalm 27:1 when the psalmist wrote, "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

Exodus 37:17-24 contains a partial record of all that Bazalel made for the tabernacle, and the list includes the lamp stand, described in meticulous detail. Exodus 25 tells this piece is to be made of what amount to over 90 pounds of beaten gold; that is, nothing is to be melted and poured into a mould, but formed by hand. While some translate this piece as “candlestick,” it was not a light-giver in the same sense as a candle (which melt away as they give light). This was a receptacle for oil, to be burned in the light-giving. The imagery here is rich, and deep, starting with the understanding that the oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit.

The Scripture does not say much about Uri and we would be creating a mythological character if we imposing traits on a person about which we know very, very little; however, there is one main feature we must not ignore: this man’s name points out God in a world of darkness. The world is in a cave, as it were. God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1).

The world says that every person has light and that every person must shine. The Bible says that every person is in darkness and only God is the source of light: "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." (2 Cor. 4:6-7). What light is in you? Is it the light generated by the glory of God in Christ Jesus, your salvation? Just as the lamp stands in the Holy Place inside the tabernacle it is hidden from the world and revealed only to those who enter. The world does not see the preciousness of the light-giver unless we first enter then allow His light to shine through our life and work.

We are to be full of light in order that we may see clearly first ourselves, then others. "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Mt 6:22-23) How do you see reality? You either see it through the light, or through the dark. Jesus said very plainly, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Mt 6:19-21) In other words, if you see reality with a good eye and are in the light, then your desire is for heavenly reward, not earthly reward. You lay up treasure in heaven. That’s where your heart is. If you see reality with a bad eye and are full of darkness, then your desire is earthly rewards. Your treasures are on earth. That’s where your heart is.

There is no accident that Uri is mentioned by name here. He had a direct influence on the life of his son, Bezalel, who grew to be a man of God. Uri let the God-given light in him shine on his son that the way of God would be illuminated before Him. Through his obedience, his son could be obedient and be the builder of the tabernacle. What is the impact of God’s light on others through your faithful shining?

One cannot help but think of The Light of the World telling his disciples they, too, are to be lights in the world. True religion is not a private matter, but one that is obvious, like a city set on a hill—it cannot be hidden. When we allow God to shine His light through us, we have nothing to fear—we will not melt away into uselessness nor can anything extinguish the light.

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