Exodus 37:1-2, 10-11, 17-28
On the lampstand were four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. . . .
My grandmother had a special ring that I loved to look at. It had seven colored gemstones in a long row. To me, they seemed mismatched until I learned that each stone stood for the month in which one of her children was born, and the order of the stones matched the order of their births.
In a way, the temple furnishings described in Exodus may seem similar to that piece of jewelry. Each item was different, having a unique shape and purpose. Most of the pieces were made of acacia wood, probably one of the few types of wood available to the Israelites in the desert as they crafted furnishings for use in the worship of God. Acacia wood was excellent for this purpose because it was very hard and long-lasting. Insects would not eat it, and it would not easily rot or decay. And once it was shaped, the wood was overlaid with pure gold.
Then there was the lampstand, made of solid gold. It may seem rather ornate and random in its design. But with its six branches and its “cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms,” the lampstand resembled an almond tree as it gave light in the darkness. In those ancient times (and in some places still today), almond trees were a symbol of renewal and hope, because they were the first to flower after the months of winter.
So, together, the temple furnishings spoke a message of enduring hope and new life with God, indicating not only that God is faithful and reliable but also that, with him, the best is yet to come.
Lord, thank you for giving us new life now—and for the bright hope of eternity in the life to come. Amen.