Psalm 119:111 says
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
I started thinking about this verse today, and exactly what it means to me. The word for “lamp” is the Hebrew word “ner” and it refers to a handheld lamp with a wick. A modern equivalent would be a kerosene lantern. My dad had one of these, and when I was a kid he would light it when we had a power failure. It didn’t put off much light, but the light it did put out was enough to see within a small area.
This morning I realized that this verse means that God’s Word is not a set of high beams on a car. This verse does not say “Your Word is a sun to my feet.” His Word is not meant to tell us everything that’s going to happen in the future. The Bible is given to light our path, not illuminate our destination.
I am a deer hunter. The best times to get a deer are the half hour before and after sunrise, and the half hour before and after sunset (and at noon, if you are in an area where hunters leave for lunch…sometimes they make the deer move when the hunters leave the woods.) The lazy hunter gets up in the morning and wanders out to the woods when the sun is already up. I like to get up and go to my spot in the woods while is still dark. And when I say dark, I mean that if I’m not in my blind an hour before sunrise, I’m late. I want to get to my spot, get in my blind, and then let the forest forget that I was even there, so that when the deer wander through my area, they aren’t warned to my presence.
Now the trick in walking through the woods when it’s pitch dark, as my dad’s woods are, a to have a good light. There are many obstacles in my path: dead tree limbs, rocks, barb wire fences, trees, honey locust trees with two inch thorns, and random detritus blown in from all over the county. If I don’t point my light directly in front of me, I will certainly trip over something, get hurt, and get lost. If I turn my light off, then I will fail.
When you walk a dark path at night, you need a light, or you will go off course. Your way will be harder, take longer, and you will not be as successful as you could have been.
The Christian life is like that. We are walking a dark, dark path in this world, and we have only the light of God’s Word to illuminate the steps right in front of us. If we don’t read God’s Word every day, it’s like we are walking in the dark without a light. God doesn’t give us enough light to see far ahead, but He does give us enough light to see what we need to right now.
Proverbs 6:23 says:
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light.
Don’t set your lantern down. It’s the only light you have.