When reading the first few books of the Bible, especially Judges, it’s always tempting to think that the ancient Hebrews were monumentally stupid. They had the Law! They knew what God expected! All the consequences, good and bad, were clearly outlined!
Then, five seconds later, I open my mouth. Or think a thought. Or do something bizarre.
And suddenly the ancient Hebrews don’t look nearly as stupid as I feel.
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)
It’s all about choice, isn’t it? Will we be lanterns, clear and bright, shining His light? Will we hide or pursue something else?
Lanterns have glass panels or holes dotted in tin. A solid lantern wouldn’t make any sense. It wouldn’t work. The light would be extinguished long before it had a chance to shine. Lanterns must be cleaned regularly, to remove the grime and dust. They require care and work.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
– 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
A jar of clay. A lantern. No matter how large or fancy, both are fragile. Easily broken. Both need to be filled with something to serve a purpose.
“The marvel of Paul’s statement is not to be overlooked. The gospel minister is a vessel made of common, run-of-the-mill clay—fragile and easily broken. And yet God has entrusted the treasure of the gospel to such a vessel…” (From the IVP Commentary on 2 Corinthians)
God calls on His people – His broken, bewildered, all-too-easily swayed people – to stand and make a commitment. He asks us to choose light or darkness. To be a lantern or nothing.
Let us encourage each other to shine boldly! This dark world needs the grace of His light.