A light unto my path

Psalms 119:105-112
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
106 I have sworn and confirmed
That I will keep Your righteous judgments.
107 I am afflicted very much;
Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.
108 Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD,
And teach me Your judgments.
109 My life is continually in my hand,
Yet I do not forget Your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts.
111 Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever,
For they are the rejoicing of my heart.
112 I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
Forever, to the very end.

I remember visiting someone’s house once where they had a flashlight in every room, and two in the living room. I thought this was strange at first, because there was plenty of light in the house – lamps, big windows, ceiling lights. I asked my hostess about this, and she told me the flashlights were just in case the power went out in a storm. The house was outside of town, secluded on a hillside, surrounded by trees, and if they lost power there would be no light in the house at all. So, they kept a battery-powered, self-contained light in every room. That way, no matter where one happened to be – kitchen, bedroom, bathroom – one would always have light and some measure of safety.

Of course, flashlights are only useful if they are in every room. In my apartment, I keep a flashlight in the kitchen and on my desk in the living room. And I carry a little one in my Bible cover, as well. But there isn’t one in the bathroom, nor in either of the bedrooms. So if the power goes out, I’ll be stumbling around in the dark for a bit until I reach a light.

God’s Word is like that: a light for us in darkness, but useless if it’s not everywhere we are. In the verses above from Psalms 119, we read that well-known sentence, which is probably better known in the King James version:

Psalms 119:105 (King James Version)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

It’s a beautiful thought, knowing that the Bible is a spot of light in the darkness of our lives. God’s Word can illuminate the areas of our lives that we need to see, and it guides us like a lighthouse past the reefs and shoals of life to the safe harbor of Christ. But, like flashlights in your home, the Word of God doesn’t do any good unless it is always with us wherever we are.

I’m not saying you need to have a Bible in every room – although, being so enamored of His Word as I am, I actually DO have a Bible in every room. No, the most important thing is to have His Word in your heart. Earlier in this Psalm, we see a similar thought:

Psalms 119:10-11
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

The idea is that when we hide God’s holy Word in our hearts, it prevents us from stumbling into darkness. Throughout the Psalms and the Proverbs, we see this same idea, that cleaving unto God’s commandments, God’s wisdom and judgments, will keep us on the right path in our lives.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

“With all your heart,” Solomon says, and “in all your ways.” In other words, fill your heart completely with faith and trust in God, take that faith with you and acknowledge His sovereignty wherever you go, whatever you do. “And He shall direct your paths.” He shall be a light to your path, a source of revival, a teacher, a guide past the snares of the wicked. Christ Jesus will never leave nor forsake the faithful, He will always be with us, “even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) But it is our faith that keeps Him close, and “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

If we are to keep Jesus close to us, we must keep His gospel within us, write it upon our hearts, always have it ready to shine a light upon this world. Look at the language the psalmist uses for this:

• “I will keep Your righteous judgments.”
• “I do not forget Your law.”
• “I have not strayed from Your precepts.”

And my favorite is a sentence every believer should be able to say:

Psalms 119:111
Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever,
For they are the rejoicing of my heart.

Do we rejoice in God’s Word? Do we love it so much we seek it in our lives all the time? Do we dwell upon, meditate upon, think upon His law, His precepts, His testimonies? Do we incline our hearts to perform His statutes “Forever, to the very end”?

If the Lord’s words are to be a “lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” then I must keep that light with me always. I cannot set it aside at any time, cannot leave it at home, cannot forget it when I work or play or travel. In order for God’s Word to light our lives, we must keep it in our hearts and minds, knowing His righteous judgments, learning His precepts, considering His will and His commandments before we act on our own. Remembering the lyrics to a popular Christian song is not the same as keeping God’s precepts within us. Learning to memorize verses is a better start, but true Bible study is better – not studying a book ABOUT the Bible, but actually studying the Bible itself. We need to keep coming back to the source, the Word of God, so we understand and can incorporate His Word into our everyday lives.

Here’s a challenge for the day: Every hour today, make a note of a time when you considered God’s Word during a situation you faced. It may be a moment you rejoiced in God. It may be a time when you prayed to Him for guidance and “light.” It may be a moment when some words of the Savior popped into your mind. It may even be a time when you yourself spoke the Word of God aloud to someone else. Write it down, challenge yourself to keep God’s Word ever-present in your life. I think that if you try this and make a conscious effort to remember His Word, you will find yourself keeping Christ at the front of your life throughout the day. Incline your heart to God’s Word, and truly let it be the rejoicing of your heart forever. Keep the light of Christ in every room of your house, and you will never have to face the darkness alone.

Precious Holy God, Your Word is indeed a light in my life. Your Bible drew me out of darkness and shame and into light and life. I praise You for Your righteousness and mercy, Lord God, and I thank You, as well. Be my Teacher, my Savior, my Rock, and the Perfecter of my faith. Write Your Word upon my heart, Father, and never let me forget. Amen.


About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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