Where Does it Burn?
"Take ten pieces
The man stared. Was this
strange man standing before him a real prophet or was he
just crazy? That was a brand new cloak he had just torn!
Clothing was expensive! And now, he was handing ten remnants
of this cloth to Jeroboam himself? What kind of prophecy
After all, Jeroboam was
a nobody. True, he headed up the labor force for King Solomon,
but he had no "high standing" in the court. It's
just that…he had been a good worker. He got along well with
the "common man," something Solomon struggled
with. But soon he would be king?!
As Jeroboam tucked the
remnants inside his own cloak, next to his heart, he found
the prophet's next words quite interesting…
"…but I will
not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon's hand; I have
made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of
David my servant…
…I will take the kingdom from his son's hand and give you
"I will give one tribe to his son so that David my
servant may always have a lamp before me…"
"However, as for
you…you will rule over all that your heart desires; you
will be king over Israel…"
Though God had placed
His own ten tribes of people next to Jeroboam's heart, to
rule as he saw fit, it was Jeroboam's heart that was the
problem. If you will pick up in I Kings 11 and continue
reading, you will discover that Jeroboam was not
a man "after God's own heart." His own heart was
full of pride and conniving ways. Idol worship would become
a "main course" among the ten tribes of Israel.
Destruction was on its way…
But what of the remaining
tribe -- a combination of Judah and Benjamin? God had said,
"I will give one tribe…so that David my servant
may always have a lamp…"
David was long dead at
this time in history. But his lamp was still burning!? Really?!
Why would David's lamp
be burning? After all, wasn't he a murderer? An adulterer?
A liar and a deceiver? Wouldn't David's lamp be cold by
now -- snuffed out by his own mistakes? Long overlooked
because of his own sin and death?
Yet God described David
as "my servant, whom
I chose and who observed my commands and statutes."
God hadn't forgotten David. God still
hasn't forgotten David.
David's lamp still burned,
and would continue to do so…through bloodshed, through captivity,
through silence, through darkness…until years later, but
at just the right time, a little Baby was born in a barn,
a King for all people…
This same lamp would
continue to burn in the hearts of the early Christians,
through poverty, through cruel death and staggering loss.
This lamp burned and burned, catching a flame again and
again in the hearts of those across the world learning of
Jesus' sacrifice, Jesus' gift, Jesus' salvation. Jesus,
a descendant of David, the one who had a lamp before Him…
It is a fire that just
will not go out, my friend. There will always be
those who will choose to keep it lit, from generation to
generation. There will be those who will choose persecution,
loss, and sorrow over what the darkness wants. They are
also choosing complete joy and peace, you know. They will
not let the burning die because God will keep the fire going…
It burns and burns and burns.
Does it burn in you?
I caught that flame many
years ago as a nine year old. Though I didn't truly understand
the meaning of its light then, I was sincerely attracted
to its glow. Ever since I reached out to grasp that flame,
I have understood that there was a burning inside of me,
like tongues of fire burning through the depth of my soul.
A burning I cannot forget; a burning I will not snuff out!
When neglected, I am seared with the realization of my sin.
When my own self shines
brighter than that Lamp inside of me, I am ashamed and disgusted.
Because I am a nobody
-- the least of all and the worst of all. But God, through
His amazing, perplexing grace and mercy, chose to put that
light within me. Simply because I reached out and grabbed
The people walking
in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light
A few years ago, when
we were serving a church in a different city, Ken would
go to the church each day in the early morning. He would
spend those early hours before the Lord, committing his
own "lamp burning" to God.
This was a tough church
assignment! Many were the times we wanted to remove our
own lamps from this place. Many were the times we would
walk through the front doors of that church and into the
darkness, startled by the brazenness of the enemy's work.
But even serving the
Lord in the darkest and most depressing of all places is
a privilege, don't you know? And it is a necessity.
So each morning as Ken
would pray in that cold building, though we didn't know
it for a long time, there was someone watching. Someone
who was attracted to the flame. Someone who desperately
needed the light.
As she drove by each
morning, she looked for the light in that place. Ken was
"As I looked for
the light burning in that church every morning, I became
curious, and then, I just had to come, to find out about
that light…why is someone here so early every morning? What
is so important to make that light be on…?"
It wasn't long before
she understood. After she grabbed her own flame, she passed
it on to the rest of her family.
"Even though I understand
now," she told me, "I still look for that light.
If there is a light burning in the church, then I know that
my pastor is praying. All is well. I can continue through
Her eyes were serious.
"I always look for that light."
Do you have a light?
How does it burn? Where does it burn?
Someone is watching.
Someone is always watching, my friend. This is how the light
continues-how it spreads from generation to generation.
In spite of our sin,
in spite of our humanity, God has chosen us to spread his
flame. We are the spark that ignites the lamp of the church!
We are the light of our neighborhoods, of the darkness that
is thickening day by day.
No, it is not always
"fun." But even serving the Lord in the darkest
and most depressing of all places is a privilege, don't
And it is a necessity.
God has not forgotten
David and his lamp. God has not forgotten you. How is your
Where does it burn…?
© 2011. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights