LIGHT THAT IS LIFE-CHANGING

alternate textThis week’s Torah portion (Num 8:1 – 12:16) begins with instructions about the lighting of the Menorah in the set-apart place. Num 8:2-4 “Speak to Aharon, and say to him, ‘When you set up the lamps, let the seven lamps give light in front of the lampstand.’ And Aharon did so. He set up the lamps to face toward the front of the lampstand, as Yahweh commanded Mosheh. And this is the work of the lampstand: beaten work of gold, from its base to its blossoms it is beaten work. According to the pattern which Yahweh had shown Mosheh, so he made the lampstand.” Light was one of the most central features of the set-apart place and remains the one commodity that draws people to Yahweh and strengthens them for their journey through this world. There is a well known comment by the ancient rabbi’s that goes like this: “When a person builds a house, he makes the windows narrow on the outside and wider on the inside, so that the light from the outside should optimally illuminate the interior. But when King Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem he made the windows narrow within and wide without, so that its light should emanate to the outside and illuminate the world.”

There is something about light that appeals to all kinds of people. Not only do we need light to live and to survive – people are naturally drawn and fascinated by light. Many of the prophesies in Scriptures contain references to light and reveal to us that it is Yahweh’s desire to bring light into the lives of his people, and not only his own people but also to the gentile nations. Let us take a quick look at some of these prophesies in the book of YeshaYahu (Isaiah):

Isa 9:2 The people who were walking in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death a light has shone.
Isa 30:26 And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that Yahweh binds up the breach of His people, and heals the wound of His blows.
Isa 42:16 And I shall lead the blind by a way they have not known – in paths they have not known I lead them. I make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These matters I shall do for them, and I shall not forsake them.
Isa 49:6 and He says, “Shall it be a small matter for You to be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Ya’aqov, and to bring back the preserved ones of Yisrael? And I shall give You as a light to the gentiles, to be My deliverance to the ends of the earth!”
Isa 60:3 And the gentiles shall come to your light, and sovereigns to the brightness of your rising.

The various forms of light that may be found in this world are not always genuine or original. We know that Satan can sometimes masquerade as a messenger of light, as the apostle Shaúl (Paul) warns in 2 Cor 11:14. We know that the lamp of the wrongdoers will eventually be put out (Pro 24:20). We know that not everything that is bright and shiny can be trusted or embraced. The crowds of this world are often mesmerized and charmed by the man-made shows of light and brilliance. Even people may have bright and attractive appearances that are fake or superficial. There is a bumper sticker that reads: Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

There are times, however, moments to be treasured, when one can clearly see the light in another person’s eyes. This is the light that comes from within, the kind of light that is spoken of in Mishleh (Proverbs) 15:30: “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, a good report gives marrow to the bones.” These people have come to understand the truth that Yahweh calls people, human beings, to be his temple and his dwelling place here on earth. He wants people to reflect his light into this world – just like the temple of old was designed in such a way as to spread light to the outside and illuminate the world. These people have made the same discovery as David in Tehillim (Psalm) 18:28: “For You Yourself light my lamp; Yahweh my Elohim makes my darkness light.” And because of this, they can echo the words of another Psalm, Tehillim 36:9 “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.”
What is it about light that can make such a difference in someone’s life? Let us listen to what Scriptures are saying:

Ps 112:4 Light has risen in the darkness to the straight ones, those showing favour, the compassionate, and the righteous.

The true light, spoken of in Scriptures, inspires people to show favour, to be compassionate and to act righteously, as Yahweh does.

Ps 119:130 The opening up of Your words gives light, giving understanding to the simple.

Yahweh has destined his words (primarily the words contained in Scriptures) as a source of light to those who believe – a powerful source that can give understanding, even when someone feels weak and incompetent and uncertain in himself.

Pro 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

The light that we may experience at this very moment is like the light of dawn. It is not yet the full portion of light that Yahweh has in store for us but we may rest assured that this light will shine ever brighter as we move closer to the unfolding of the perfect day.

Mic 7:8 Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. When I have fallen I have risen, when I sit in darkness Yahweh is a light to me.

Yahweh is a bright beam of light to those who know the experience of darkness, failure and opposition. By putting one’s trust in Him, no situation is too difficult to overcome.

Joh 1:9 He was the true Light, which enlightens every man, coming into the world.

The coming of Y’shua into this world was a fulfillment of many of the prophesies that Yahweh would one day send his light into this dark world and that He would enlighten the hearts and the lives of those who are willing to believe.

Act 2:1-4 And when the Day of the Festival of Weeks had come, they were all with one mind in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from the heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and settled on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Set-apart Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them to speak.

Similar to the day of the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai (most probably the Day of the Festival of Weeks, sometimes called the Day of Shavuot), the Day of the outpouring of the Spirit of Yahweh (in Acts 2 – also the Day of Shavuot) was characterized by a supernatural display of sound (the sound of a mighty wind) and light (the light of tongues or fire). Surely, some of onlookers must have been frightened and bewildered by this experience. But eventually they realized that the sound that they had heard and the tongues of fire that they had seen, were nothing less than indicators of the very presence of the Almighty. Their fear and bewilderment and unbelief came to an end. And instead they saw a new kind of light – a kind of light that is overwhelming and life-changing. Three thousand of them received the message about Y’shua with gladness and got baptized in his Name.

It is Plato who once said: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” Let it not be said of any one of us that because of our fear for the light, we could never find the courage to fully embrace Yahweh and his word and fully accept Y’shua as the promised Messiah and the Door to Life!

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