The Light Has Gone Out

August 25, 2022
Volume 26, Number 27

A lighthouse served a critical function in years gone by. Ships looking for a safe harbor to enter could be guided safely even in the darkness of night. The keeper of the lighthouse had to be reliable to keep the lamps trimmed and burning, because the lives of the sailors depended on his actions.

The lighthouse in the German port of Bremen appears to be an older one (I’ve been unable to determine when it was put into operation). Now its days are about to end. For some reason the lighthouse has begun leaning, and ships have been prevented from entering the harbor because of the danger it poses. Authorities have said that if it doesn’t soon fall, measures will be taken to remove it safely. Another structure will be built to illuminate the pathway into the port.

There’s something about lighthouses that tugs on our sentiments. In past visits to the Outer Banks of North Carolina I have made it a point to visit all four lighthouses in that area, and I spent time to take nice photographs of each. The thought of the light in Bremen being taken out of commission seems sad to me. The light has gone out, but thankfully will soon be replaced.

Lighthouses are not mentioned in Scripture, but the concept of lighting the way is frequently found. I think, for example, of how the Lord guided His people through the wilderness after exiting Egypt: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night” (Exodus 13:21). Without the Lord showing the way, would Israel ever have found their Promised Land?

There is also the light that Christians are commanded to shine: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). In this case, the light is an image, suggesting that our Christian influence is one way people can find their way to God. We are to use opportunities to do good deeds so others will see the light of Christ.

In its early years, the church at Ephesus was a powerful lighthouse. The apostle Paul worked with this church for three years (Acts 20:31), teaching the gospel to many in that city. In his letter to that church Paul wrote that “I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints” (Ephesians 1:15). For a time, the Ephesian church sent out a blazing bright light.

Later, however, Jesus sent a letter to the Ephesian church through John. He spoke of how they had “labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:3,4). The letter was a warning, an opportunity for them to make necessary corrections in their motivation and service.

If they neglected the warning, however, here was what would happen: “I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place” (Revelation 2:5). Note that Jesus did not say He would extinguish their lamp; they were already in the process of doing that. If they allowed the light of their lamp to completely go out, there would be no need for a lampstand. What a loss that would be!

While we’re thinking about it, this is a good opportunity to check our own lamps. Are we keeping them trimmed and fueled? Are we letting our lights shine? May our lights never go out!

Come to the light God offers!  Study His word, the Bible.  Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24).  Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2022, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

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