The Finest Substance
“Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives…so the lamps may be kept burning” (Exodus 27:20 NIV).
Olive oil is a very precious commodity to many countries. Many centuries ago, a very important lifeline was given to the people of Israel: the oil produced from their olive trees.
My husband David and I had traveled with a tour group to Israel. On a few acres of ground near Nazareth, we were shown a reproduction of a village-like setting that depicted how people lived in Jesus’ day so that visitors could connect the biblical stories and visualize the shepherd’s life.
The olive press they displayed was indispensable for living in former times. We were told that they would press ripe olives three times. The first expressed oil yielded the finest substance. God’s temple received the first and best oil for its lamps and other religious purposes.
The finest oil was reserved for where God’s presence dwelt. After the exodus from Egypt and while they were still tramping in the desert, Moses gave this command. “This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come” (Exodus 27:20 NIV).
God requires the first oil from us. That would consist of the first of our strength, the first of our day to seek Him, or the best of our abilities and talents. If we give Him our first, we will find that He will provide the rest.
By Florence Simmons