Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalms 119:105 (NIV)
I was backpacking in the Smokey Mountains and I had walked away from the campsite to check out the trail we would be on the following day. The sun went down faster than I had expected and I found myself in the woods as darkness fell. Luckily, I had taken a small flashlight with me and I knew the direction I should be walking. The flashlight didn’t illuminate the entire forest, but it provided enough light for me to see the trail in front of me and I made it back to camp. The next day, when we continued the hike, I saw again where I had been the night before. This time, I saw the trail and the glorious surroundings I had not seen the night before.
Later, I heard someone teach on today’s verse and it reminded me of my hiking experience. The teacher explained that this verse refers to a small handheld oil lamp. It would cast a pool of light like a candle. If someone used it to get around at night, it would provide just enough light to see where your feet would fall along the path. You would see the next step, but you would never see more than a step or two ahead. His point, that was illustrated to me with a modern version of the oil lamp, is that God often works in the same way with us. As we walk along the path of our life, He is there with us providing a light for our feet and a light for the path. Usually, it is enough to illuminate the next step and, when we take the step we see, the light will fall on the next step. We way move though life that way, a step at a time illuminated by God’s word and direction. When we look back, we see the path clearly with the surroundings illuminated and we understand the purpose of the twists and turns we have taken.
How should we live if God’s word is a lamp that helps us see the path of life? These are a few ways I have thought about this verse.
Trim your lamp and keep it burning. Take time each day for prayer and Bible reading. Remember that the race of faith is a marathon and not a sprint. It takes diligence and discipline over time.
Keep your lamp full. In the flashlight example, I would say, keep your batteries charged. Again, this includes time for Bible reading and prayer. But, it also includes time for worship, teaching and being with other believers.
Ask others to help you in difficult times and help others when they need it. Sometimes your lamp may not be enough light in a very dark place. In the same way, you can provide light for others through their dark and difficult times.
Take the time to look back and reflect on where you have been. You will see the path you have traveled and the full view you may have missed at the time.
Use your lamp of faith to illuminate your path this week and take the time to look back and reflect on where God has led you.