Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
The Psalmist presents two powerful and familiar figures to express the enlightening power of the Word of God.
1. Lamp – or a candle for my feet. This is a more narrow, modest and focused light to help keep me from stumbling.
2. Light – or a luminary for my path. This is a full light illuminating beyond just my feet. It is for the trodden path of my daily life which is enlightened by the light.
Perhaps if we illustrate it this way:
In the day it is a light showing us the direction, the course of the path. We can see its beauty, its uniqueness, its peculiarities, and its dangers. At night, when the sun has set and the evening has settled, we now have to pick our way along the path. Then the Word is like the candle, not illuminating the entire course, but sufficient to guide our footsteps – clear from stumbling blocks and difficulties along the way. It shows us where we could err, the exact placement of our steps so that we do not stumble and fall.
Can I know God’s will for my life without His Word? Can I daily walk the Christian life without His Word?
No, I can do neither without the power and illumination of God’s Holy Word. God designed in the giving of His Word it’s power to enlighten and guide us.
The Word of God is not to be either an illuminating light or a lamp. The Word of God is both a lamp and a light. I must know both principles of God’s Word in my life. The Bible is both of these benefits for me.
The Word Of God Is A Light
1. The Bible makes its own claim as our light.
The Bible makes this declaration of itself. It is not what men say it does for them but what the Word says it will do for men. It is to be a light for us.
II Peter 1:19; We have also a more sure word of prophecy: whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts.
2. Reason supports this claim.
John tells us in I John 1:5, this then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. God is light and declares His Word is light.
3. Experience warrants it.
As we ponder the history of man, it is clearly evident that evil men hate the Bible. They have taken every opportunity to destroy it, hide it, change it, and pervert it.
John 3:20; for everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved.
But we also rejoice that righteous men love the Bible and look to it as the guide for their lives. John goes on to state in vs. 21; but he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
What is it that the righteous man knows about the Bible, that the evil man refuses to accept? The Psalmist tells us in Psalm 19:8; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
- The statutes of the Lord – statutes are the daily applications of God’s Word in my life.
- The commandment of the Lord – the commandment is the authoritative Word of the Lord. It is pure without any mixture diluting its effectiveness and power. It brings illumination to the soul. It enlightens the eyes.
There are two principles at work here:
First, those who have gone without the light of God’s Word will stumble. This is a fixed principle. They go into darkness and become victims of all the troubles that walking in darkness brings.
Second, is the guiding principle of God’s Word. Those who accept the guidance of God’s Word for their life have had and do know the light of God in their life. Psalm 37:23; The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
4. The light of God’s Word is a clear light
We say this figuratively, but God’s Word is not the light of twilight. Twilight is the time of day, either sunrise or sunset when the sky is partially illuminated by the sun, being neither totally dark nor completely lit.
The Word of God is never a partial light. It is the fullness of illumination; the fullness of eternal light.
- It is a clear light in the right way. Psalm 43:3; O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. The wisest of men of history have still wandered into darkness without it. The Greek philosophers looked to ethics, asking the question of how shall men live? But without the light of God’s Word, they never came to the answer to their own question.
- It is a clear light to the wrong way. The Bible not only tells us what to do, but what not to do. It warns us against backsliding, informs us where sin is, and urges us to beware of and shun it. Galatians 5:16-17; This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
- It is a clear light in the valley of shadows. Trouble may overcast the soul and make us question if God has forgotten us. Do not be tempted to question God in the valley. Even under circumstances such as these, light will break forth from God’s Holy Word and become the lamp to our feet to navigate us through the dangers. Isaiah 1:10; Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
The Word of God Is A Full and Everlasting Light
The Bible guides by day and it guides by night. It illumines our path but it enables us to pick each individual step. We dare not have one light without the other.
Many may take the Bible as the guide for their general course of life and conduct but because they do not know the light of God’s Word for their daily steps, will stumble and fall.
The Bible not only unveils the whole way but lights up every successive step of the way.
How thankful we ought to be for the Word of God. How diligently we ought to study and practice it!