Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn and confirmed that I will keep Your righteous judgments. I am afflicted very much; revive me, O Lord, according to Your word. Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me Your judgments. My life is continually in my hand, yet I do not forget Your law. The wicked have laid a snare for me, yet I have not strayed from Your precepts. Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end. (Psalm 119:105-112)
Light In A Time Of Darkness
The technology of man has brought many blessings that generations before could never have appreciated or dreamed possible. What is taken for granted with unmeasured ease is the ability to light the world in almost any environment. Houses are filled with lights, automobiles race across the landscape with ease because of the power of illumination and whether crossing the vast oceans or flying through the air, man has captured the power of light to fill his world with the brightness of day. It is only when the power goes out that lives are disrupted and frustrated because there is no light. What is ironic of this situation is that for eons of generations the ability of man to light his world was limited to a small space of his world using only oil lamps, wax candles or fire to bring some brightness to a very dark world. Darkness prevailed in the world because of the limitations of man’s ability to fill his world with light. The psalmist lived in a time where electricity was thousands of years away and his world was brightened by lamps and crude implements that cast long shadows through the darkness. It was vital to have these lights to see in the dark of night depending on the lamps to guide their footsteps. There is a certain imagery that is lost on modern man that men like the psalmist embraced with great ease. Having a lamp to light the way was a means of great joy and comfort.
Reflecting on the importance of light in the darkness, the psalmist illustrates the power of the word of God. He calls the righteous judgments of the Lord a lamp to his feet and a light to his path. There is a great power of spiritual darkness permeating the world and the only way to go through life with sure footing is to rely on the lamp of God to light the way. Danger awaits those who seek to walk in darkness. Keeping the righteous judgments of the Lord will help the soul be safe from the wiles of the devil. When affliction arises he will trust in the word to revive him and protect him. There will be no voice of complaint but a freewill offering of praise because the judgments of the Lord have taught the heart to walk in the path of light. The law of God is always present to guide the soul in the proper path. There are many dangers as the wicked lay snares to trap the righteous. How can a man know how to walk in darkness if he does not have a light to guide him? The precepts of God will keep the soul on the true path. This light must never go out but kept as a continual heritage forever. Like the physical world, the host of darkness will last until the end of the world. Spiritual darkness will fill the hearts of men until the coming of the Son of God and the need of keeping the word of God as a lamp to guide the soul is more present than ever before. Obedience comes from hearts filled with the light of God to perform the statues of truth, righteousness and godliness.
A final note about this portion of the psalm. Like so much of the psalm, the author emphasizes the many parts of the revelation of God to man. He calls the word of God the righteous judgments, word, law, precepts, testimonies and statues. Obedience does not come only from a heart of faith believing in the power of the Lord and His grace. The need of grace and mercy are key ingredients to find oneself pleasing to God but obedience to the judgments of the Lord is imperative. There are laws that must be kept, precepts obeyed, testimonies followed and statues bound in the heart. Too many of those who want to follow Jesus believe that having a faith in the Son of God is all they need to be found pleasing. The doctrine of salvation by faith alone without works is a dead faith. The psalmist understood this teaching long before it was emphasized by the New Testament writers. Salvation comes from taking the word of God and using it as a light to the path of life. Believing in light will not benefit a man who does not take the light with him into the darkness. The word of God is a lamp to the feet of those who carry the righteous judgments of the Lord in their hearts through study and application. Keeping the righteous judgments of God requires possessing the word in the heart. The prayer of the psalmist was for the Lord to teach him the judgments that will protect him, guide him and help him through the vale of spiritual darkness that encircles the world. There is personal accountability required of those who seek the favor of God. The word can only be a lamp to the feet when the light is in the hand of the one seeking to light his way. Without the word of God (judgments, law, precepts and statues) – how dark is the darkness. Light your world with His word – Jesus Christ.