The candles were lit, and dinner was served. We were enjoying conversation with our friends when we realized that melted wax was running down the side of the tapers. I forget to trim the wicks. Not only was the wax being burned too quickly, but the flame was producing smoke. Professional candle makers recommend that you trim the wick after every burn. Most say the ideal length for the wick is about 1/4". This length gives the cleanest and brightest flame without smoke and soot.
God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle for Him so that He could dwell among His people. Included in the furnishings for the tabernacle was a lampstand and wick trimmers made of pure gold. (Exodus 25:38 & 37:23) The lamps held pure oil. The job of the priests was to keep the lamps burning from evening until morning. Wick trimmers were used by the priests to keep the lamps burning brightly. (Exodus 27:20-21) When Solomon built the temple it had many more lamps in it than the tabernacle. Wick trimmers made of pure gold were used regularly so that the flames of the lamps were bright and clean. (1 Kings 7:50) Note that pure gold was used in the forming of all the utensils for both the tabernacle and temple. Gold speaks of the Divine nature and the glory of God in His holiness.
How does this relate to us? God made it clear that one day His temple would not be made with wood and stones and that He would make a new covenant with His people. "...We are the temple of the living God..." (2 Corinthians 6:16) Paul asked the Corinthians a question: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own." (1 Corinthians 6:19) In addition, God has made us to be a kingdom of priests to serve Him. (Revelation 1:6 & 5:10) We are to be the light bearers for the Lord Jesus. Just as Christ is the light of the world (1 John 1:5), we are also. We are told: "Let your lights shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Luke records the words of Jesus to His disciples concerning light in Luke 11:35-36. "See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you."
If we look at the beginning of the book of Revelation, we can read about the way the Lord dealt with the seven churches—called the seven lampstands—for their deeds. He trimmed their lamps so that they would burn more brightly. He desires that we also burn more brightly for the world to see. In addition, we are to prepare ourselves for His second coming. Look at the story of the 10 virgins told in Matthew 25. "The Kingdom of Heaven will be like 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom." Only five wise virgins carried their lamps along with a jar of oil and the tool for trimming their lamp. "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet Him!' Then all the virgins awoke and trimmed their lamps." The unwise virgins did not have enough oil and did not arrive in time to go to the wedding banquet. The five who were prepared went in and the door was shut. This story is meant to encourage us to keep our wicks trimmed and our lamps full of oil.
Leviticus 24:3 records instruction to Aaron the priest and all priests to come. "Tend the lamps before the Lord from evening till morning, continually. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come." As the Lord's priests and vessels, we must not only stay filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit, but trim our wicks. This means getting rid of any waste in our lives that would hinder us from burning brightly. May the Lord always find us full of oil and burning cleanly and brightly for Him.
Joan E. Mathias