According to tradition it was on this day, during the reign of King Ahaz, that the western light of the Menorah was extinguished. Much earlier in Israeli history, in the days of Samuel, during the tenure of the High Priest Eli and his two sons Hofni and Pinchas, the Bible says that the light of the Menorah was going out. In both instances, the dwindling light of the Menorah coincided with a season of great apostasy in Israel. Having no regard for the things of God, or at the very least having a careless attitude toward His instructions, is what allowed for the light of the Sanctuary to go out.
Considering that the Menorah — not the Star of David as some suppose — is the emblem for Israel (based on Zechariah’s vision), allowing its light to be extinguished symbolized a failure on the part of Israel to fulfill their purpose. In other words, the Menorah is emblematic of the mandate given to God’s people to be a light to the world. When the light of the Menorah was extinguished, it implied grave consequences for the rest of the world because, without that light, how would the nations see?
Frankly, God’s people have never really fulfilled that purpose. We have provided some light in this world but I’m of the opinion that we have not exhibited that light in its fulness. However, the Scripture describes a time that His people will shine as never before and the nations will be drawn to that light:
“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:1-3)
There will come a day when the glory of the Lord will be seen upon His people, but that day comes when there is great darkness upon the nations. Look around you and observe! It’s not hard to imagine that we are entering that time of incredible darkness. If that is so, then it is our time to shine! We cannot be lazy about our duties or have a careless attitude about being the light in this world. We must do our part, as He leads, and make sure that the light of His people is not extinguished. Ultimately, the light that draws men is the light of His glory but we must our part.
Our prayer, today, is that each of us will seek His face to know His will for our life and that we truly reflect His light in this dark world.