TITLE: The Forgotten Lamp
By Lisa Enqvist
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Sonja slept restlessly all night. A recurring dream woke her several times. The dream brought back memories of an oil lamp she once owned. The lamp had come to her from her Grandmother’s home up in the hills. Whatever happened to it? She had not given the lamp a thought for many years. Why did that memory suddenly appear in her dream?
It was still dark, just before dawn. She rose from her bed shivering. She switched on her bedside lamp. She had not needed the oil lamp in her city home. She went into the kitchen to boil water for a cup of tea.
Her dream brought back memories of her Grandmother’s stories from the Bible.
“There was once an old priest, Eli in Shiloh, Israel. Eli was nearly blind, but he was still was careful to take care of the lamp in the Tabernacle – the Lamp of God – as it was called. The Tabernacle was the center of worship in Israel at the time.
"A miracle child had been brought by his mother to the Tabernacle a few years earlier. The child, Samuel, was born as an answer to his mother’s prayers. He had become a blessing to old Eli.
"One morning, long before dawn, while the Lamp of God was still burning, Samuel had woken to a voice calling him. There was no one else around, except Eli, so Samuel ran to him. Eli had not called him. A cold shiver went right through Eli’s body. God had called Samuel and spoken to him. What had the boy heard?
"Samuel grew up and became a light for the people of his time. He helped them to find their way back to God. Samuel anointed two kings for the people of Israel. The first king, Saul, was very popular among his people in the beginning of his career. In seeking the approval of men more than the sanction of God, he disobeyed God’s command, given through Samuel. 1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV)
"Saul lost his anointing. His disobedience chilled his heart, while the fever of anger and hatred increased towards the end of his life."
Grandma had said that the anointing was like the oil in the lamp.
Sonja remembered the joy she experienced years ago. Where had that joy gone? She had opened her heart to the chill of bitterness, blaming others for her situation. The hopes and dreams of her youth were not fulfilled.
Grandma had continued her story. "Samuel anointed the next king, chosen by God. He was David, a young shepherd boy. He loved the Word of God more than anything in life.
The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. Psalms 119:72.
"Though David fell into sin, he admitted his guilt. The chill, brought by his shame, drove him to true repentance. The anointing he had received through Samuel never left him. His lamp still shines through the many Psalms and songs he wrote. His prayer of repentance can also be found in the Psalms."
Sonja searched for her old Bible, also a gift from Grandma. She opened the Bible and her eyes fell on the words: The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being. Proverbs 20:27. She realized that she had not taken care of her lamp for a very long time.
She found David’s prayer in the Psalm Grandma had referred to:
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:10-12 (NIV)
Sonja began to feel warm again, and it was not just because of the cup of tea. She decided to keep her Bible close by and read more each day. The old oil lamp might never be found again, but Sonja understood now that the recurring dream had reminded her of something far more important.
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