Before The Lamp of God Went Out

Two days ago, in the devotional reading in of MyDailyBible app a verse caught my attention for a couple reasons. First because of it’s number, 1 Samuel 3:3. I have learned to pay close attention to 3’s in the Bible like “on the 3rd day,” or “Luke 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about 30 years of age.” In case you are new to my blog, God woke my up countless times to look at 3:33 on my digital bedside clock. I looked up all the 333 scriptures in the Bible. That’s the reason Jeremiah 33:3 is the title verse of this blog.

1 Samuel 3:3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;

I like to read the King James Bible but there are phrases I still don’t understand so I will look them up in other versions to get there meaning. That was the case of this verse. Many other versions say, “before the lamp of God had gone out” or “The lamp of God had not yet gone out.”

I read commentaries on this verse because I didn’t know if there was a spiritual meaning or natural meaning to this verse. Was it saying God was going to stop speaking or remove the “light of His Spirit”? The commentaries explained that it was the job of the priests and referenced this verse,

Exodus 27:21  In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel.

So what this verse was saying is that God spoke to young Samuel the prophet in the early morning hours, not long before the priests would put out the light of the candlestick that was before the curtain separating it from the Ark of the Covenant.

1 Samuel 3:3-4  and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, 4 that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!” 

In my walk with God I have noticed that God will place thoughts in my mind in the early morning hours. So many times once I am conscious of being awake, I realize that a thought, often a Bible verse has been playing over and over in my mind. It’s like I’m pondered in my mind its meaning or application but almost as in a dream, and then I begin to realize that I am now awake. Many times God will confirm that the scripture or thought was from Him in some way. Today was one of those days.

Before be conscious of being awake, almost as in a dream, I was pondering this verse,

Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

In my mind I was linking the “salt of the earth” to the church. I was thinking that the church is supposed to teach, inspire and be an example of what God requires of mankind. We are all called to be “salt and light” to a perishing world. Salt is a preservative and extends the life of some foods and it’s flavor increases the quality of taste making it savory, not bland. And “Light” exposes what is hiding in the darkness and there is no greater need of light than in the heart of all mankind.

I pondered the link between the church and its “saltiness” and it worthiness of being called the church of God for a little while before getting out of bed once I was fully awake. I thought a little how it seemed like God did away with His 1st system of what we think of as church when He allowed the destruction of Herod’s temple. The scribes and Pharisees were often chastised by Jesus for being hypocrites. Jesus would tell the people to “do what the scribes and Pharisees say but don’t do what they do.”

Matthew 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

I was thinking that God put an end to that church system in a large part because it was not fulfilling its mission. Well I needed to get up and begin my daily routine of studying the scriptures.

After I had read the verse of the day from YouVersion and Tecarta, I read the short devotionals from Tecarta and Love Language Devotional I got to the longest part of my daily Bible study, MyDailyBible app.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (Matthew 5:13 NKJV)
#Bible https://www.mydailybible.org/dv/nkjv/2020-08-15.htm

I read that verse and tears filled my eyes realizing God had visited me in the early hours, “before the lamp went out” again this morning. I had no way of knowing that Bible verse would be there but God did. If you truly seek to know God from a sincere heart He WILL reveal Himself to you and confirm in ways Only He can that He is guiding you.

Maybe God visits His children at this time of morning because once we are consciously awake our mind becomes over filled with thoughts. The battle ground for our soul is fought in our mind. The desires of our flesh and those presented by the enemy of our soul outnumber God’s Spirit who tries to get our attention 2 against 1. That’s the battle!!! Unless we willingly and consciously seek God through His Word, in prayer and meditation of “good things,” battles will be lost and the effects of them will produce fruit we ultimately don’t really want.

I have studied Matthew 5:13 before in my life but I decided to look again at what the commentaries said about this verse.

Benson Commentary
Matthew 5:13. Ye — Not the apostles, not ministers only; but all who possess and manifest the graces spoken of in the preceding verses, and are truly holy and righteous; are the salt of the earth — Appointed to be the means of preventing or curing the growth of that corruption which prevails in the world, and of seasoning men’s minds with wisdom and grace. But if the salt have lost its savour — Or, be grown insipid, and therefore want seasoning itself, wherewith shall it be salted — By what means can its lost virtue be restored? The word μωρανθη, rendered have lost its savour, has peculiar strength and beauty, and is literally, be infatuated, or, grown foolish, “alluding,” says Dr. Doddridge, “to the common figure, in which sense and spirit are expressed by salt.” It is thenceforth good for nothing — It is wholly useless, and left to be thrown out of doors, and trampled on by men as the common dirt in the streets: “thus worthless and contemptible will you, my disciples, be, even in the most eminent stations, if you lose your character for real and vital religion.”

As I often remind readers of this blog, Bible verses should not be lifted off the page and taken out of their context. God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit is not schizophrenic. Jesus didn’t just express a train of thoughts in the preceding verses and then out of left field throw out a random thought. To understand what verse 13 means we have to look at and understand the preceding 12 verses.

Matthew 5:1-12  And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

These beatitudes Jesus spoke were the beginning of His teaching ministry. Jesus came to change the hearts of mankind and that of the existing church. As I have noticed recently, Jesus had some very upsetting times when He went to church. At times Jesus was even violent with righteous indignation when He witnessed what was going on at church. Other times Jesus knew their hearts before they spoke a word. Jesus knew their hard hearts full of hypocrisy and the yolks the church leaders were trying to impose on God’s children when they themselves wouldn’t place them on their own necks. The beatitudes are an inventory of “heart issues” everyone must weigh their own hearts against but also the church in general.

The church as a corporate entity needs to judge itself against the benchmark of these beatitudes. I really believe Jesus began His ministry pointing out “What does the Lord require of you oh man,” in a more detailed way than what Micah 6:8 alludes to.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence because I don’t believe in them but the devotional reading for MyDailyBible app for today that had Matthew 5:13 as the verse of the day began with 1 Samuel chapter 5
DailyPlan : one-year-tract : 2020-08-15 #Bible https://www.mydailybible.org/dp/esv/one-year-tract/2020-08-15.htm

That’s when the Ark of the Covenant is captured by the Philistines, Eli who is the high priest and his 2 wicked sons who are priests all die on the same day. This was the fulfillment of a warning given to Eli by an unnamed prophet. That unnamed prophet came to give Eli a warning to change the way he dealt with his attitude and the way he dealt with his corrupt sons. God was warning of chastisement on that day’s “church system.” The Book of Samuel begins with a barren woman, Hannah pleading for a son that she would give back to God’s service. That son is Samuel. God placed in Hannah’s mind thoughts in accord with His Will and a need He saw was coming, a “faithful priest.”

In chapter 2 Hannah praises God for answering her prayer. Before chapter two is over God sends the unnamed prophet to speak God’s warning to Eli, “the salt that was becoming insipid and was about to be thrown out and trample under the feet of the Philistines.” The apostle Peter warns the “church” also that God’s chastisement begins first in it.

1 Peter 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

1 Samuel 2:27-36  Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house? 28 Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? 29 Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’ 30 Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32 And you will see an enemy in My dwelling place, despite all the good which God does for Israel. And there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33 But any of your men whom I do not cut off from My altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flower of their age. 34 Now this shall be a sign to you that will come upon your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die, both of them. 35 Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever. 36 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and say, “Please, put me in one of the priestly positions, that I may eat a piece of bread.” ’ ”

1 Samuel 4:15-18  Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were so dim that he could not see.
16 Then the man said to Eli, “I am he who came from the battle. And I fled today from the battle line.” And he said, “What happened, my son?”
17 So the messenger answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God has been captured.”
18 Then it happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.

40 years!!! Over and over 40 is used in the Bible to reveal God’s Hand in an allotted time. No matter how many years God gives a person or an instrument like a church the day will come when it or they will have to give an account. No one will be able to say that God didn’t send His warnings in their life to live it according to the beatitudes.

No one can do that perfectly, all will sin to some degree, that’s not the issue. What is the issue is the attitude of the heart. The heart of a man or a church. Is it a selfish greedy heart uncaring to what God’s Will is. Or is it a reflection of God’s Heart, to be the “salt and light” in a rotting dark world.

1 Samuel 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

The Word of the Lord is precious to me also. I cherish the times He places His thoughts in my mind in the early morning hours and confirms them. I share them with you because no word from God is for private interpretation.

Reflecting on what I’ve just written, what’s the spiritual application to 1 Samuel 3:3, “Before the lamp of God had gone out.” The Apostle Paul tells us that the “Church Age” will someday come to an end. At some point it will be abruptly visible with the rapture of the “Bride of Christ” those in the church that have kept themselves ready for that day.

Romans 11:25  For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Jesus spoke of this “church” dispensation coming to an end someday also,

Luke 21:24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Someday God’s Spirit will turn it’s eyes again to Israel and remove the “blindness” the veil placed over their hearts because of rejecting Jesus. The time out that God placed them in to institute the “Church Age” will fade out too someday. Dispensations like that of the Church don’t abruptly begin or end. Paul preached Jesus and God’s Grace to the Jew first and then the Greek. Over a period of time the focus of God’s Grace was much more intense on the Church while still being available to Israel.

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