Pure olive oil beaten for the Light. - Exodus 27:20
The saintly McCheyne used to say, when urging his brother ministers to diligent preparation for the pulpit: "Beaten oil for the sanctuary.'' And he strove never to present to his people truth which had not been beaten out by careful devout meditation.
But there is yet another thought. That lamp in the Holy Place was an emblem of the testimony of the Church, that is, of believers. As the incense table was a type of their aspect toward God, as intercessors, so the seven-branched candlestick was a type of their aspect toward the world, as luminaries. In the Book of Revelation the Lord compares His churches to candlesticks: "the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."
The oil is, of course, as always in Scripture, a type of the Holy Spirit. He in us is the only source of light-bearing. But the beaten oil reminds us of the chastisement and discipline through which alone our best testimony can be given. The persecutions of the Church have always been the times when she has given her fairest, brightest witness to the Redeemer. The sufferings of believers have ever led to the tenderest, strongest words for the Master, whether by the sick bed or in the hospital ward. That brokenness of spirit, which is the surest mark of mature work of God in the heart, is also a rare condition of light-giving. The more beaten and broken you are, in poverty of spirit, the purer will be the heavenly ray of love and light which will shine forth from your life; and it is the purpose of God that you should be "blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Phi 2:15)