God’s Word is powerful! Coupled with a surrendered heart and a prayerful spirit, the Bible can (and often does) shed light on our circumstances, offering sound principles that help inform our everyday decision-making.
I like this passage from Psalm 119 for this very reason! Our modern-day understanding of the words “lamp,” “light” and “path” are a little different than what they would have been back in the psalmist’s day. Here are a few things to consider:
- A lamp would likely have been more like our present-day understanding of what a lantern is and does. Picture it: You’re walking along a nearly pitch-black road, and the only illumination that you have is from your little lantern. How much light does it cast? Enough for you to take your next step (or two). Does it light up the entire road? No. It provides just enough light for you to keep moving forward, one step at a time. After all, if the whole road was lit up, we might decide to veer off the path and (unwisely) blaze our own trails!
- A light, in this context, is not the switch that we flip on to activate the artificial, electricity-based illumination that we rely upon today; rather, in my view, it speaks of an insight and direction (truly, spiritual illumination) for our lives that can only come from the Lord. Think about it: How was light generated in those days? From fire. And where does fire come from? Not from man, that’s for sure. And how did God get Moses’s attention when he was out tending sheep? A bush literally lit up by fire. And how did He lead the Israelites by night when they were in the wilderness? A pillar of fire that illumined the darkness. Light, in this context, not only shows the way forward, but also reveals that which otherwise is hidden (both good and bad), and gives us the opportunity to side-step some potential obstacles – with the Lord’s help.
- A path speaks of a pre-ordained route that the Master Planner has formed and that others may have walked upon, but whose specific twists, turns, and detours may be unknown to the traveler – especially at night, when walking by lamplight. A God-given path is not the secular, modern-day view of blazing your own trail, “following your bliss” (whatever that means? Doing so will almost definitely get you into trouble!), and putting your own needs and desires first. Such a course is a false path and a trap of the enemy – a sure-as-you’re-born shortcut to a ditch of our own creation, and who wants to be stuck there?
In God’s Word, we have all that we need to inform our next step (our action), to reveal any hidden obstacles in our immediate vicinity and – as much as possible – sidestep them (God’s wisdom and our response to it), and the truth and illumination to stay on the path that the Lord has crafted for us, rather than naively venturing off in the dark on our own.
So, let’s remember to stay on the path, but keep our Lamp and Light on (stoking the fire regularly) and near us at all times! After all, a burned out Lamp does us no good, and can offer us no illumination. And whatever we do, let’s keep walking forward! The Lord has great things ahead for us, but we must keep moving. 💡
PS – God’s timing is perfect. I had a massive headache last night after a long day, but knew I needed to post to Daily Hopeful. However, I remembered the biblical principle of rest (I’ll have to get into that in another post) and decided to go to sleep instead. I awoke this morning with some residue of the headache, but – feeling refreshed from sleep – took some medicine and decided to write this post. This is the message that the Lord laid on my heart, and as I’ve been pecking it out on my iPhone, my headache has gone away! Truly, following the Lord’s wisdom is always best – even if it means your blog post is off-schedule! 😉