"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path."
(King James, verse 105)
This is one of those verses in which we would miss not saying in ye Old English version, especially since we sang it that way in a chorus. It is a song to be sung to our Lord, a song of gratitude and commitment to that light and its source. After all, who wants to be left in the dark? That's the stuff of Halloween's trumped up creepiness, boogie men, monsters under the bed and their ilk. The deeds of darkness are real though. We don't have to go there. God will reveal the better path that we may fear no evil. "God's word is a candle which may be held in the hand to give us light in every dark place and chamber...to guide him through every dark place...As the lamp was going before and the light was shining, it was necessary that he should walk while the light shone." (Adam Clarke)
When teaching children's church lessons on this verse, I loved to take them into a windowless room and suddenly turn out the lights. Then I would light a candle. It is an amazing transformation that takes all the heebie-jeebies out of being left in the dark. As a child I remember how that was in Carlsbad Caverns when the guide momentarily turned off the lights, and we couldn't see the hands in front of our faces. Darkness became a stifling cloak Oh my! I wanted to shout, "Let there be light!" And there was. Was it Camus who said, "Better to light one candle than curse the darkness."
Growing up, my father had electrified a pair of carriage lamps that he mounted on either side of the fireplace for light. Long ago they had worked to guide the horses along the road to avoid pitfalls. I have had many beautiful candlesticks, some wedding gifts, some handed down, some secondhand, from which lovely light has shone. I also love the fragile, who knows how many centuries old, clay oil lamp from my husband's trip to the Holy Land. Do you, like I do, keep a tally where candles are in your head in order to be able to find them in the dark when, when the electricity goes out?
The temple had its oil lamps of great significance. The bridesmaids had to keep oil in their lamps to be ready for the bridegroom or be left behind. One of the earliest church ditties I learned was, "Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning, burning, burning..." But the solution is simple. The oil is available. We have the Word. It will reveal the way we should walk without stumbling. A Christian who does not open themselves to the light of God's word is lamentable. I John 1:5-7 says...
"God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him
and yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not practice the truth;
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus His Son
cleanses us from all sin."
Did you get that? It talks about fellowship with Him and fellowship with one another. That's kinda hard to do in the dark. It's nice to be able to look each other in the eye rather than being blindfolded. Even better, the light brings cleansing from sin. Or they can lie and just pretend that they are walking the walk, talking the talk while walking in darkness where things go bump in the night. It's like walking into the sanctuary with their eyes closed. They are only fooling themselves. I rather feel sorry for those in the church who have not brought the glorious light of God upon their lives and would rather keep their deeds in the darkness as if they are hidden. Surely you jest. There is nothing hidden from God's sight. There is such freedom in the light.
I remember when my very sweet little daughter was hunched over while riding under the shopping cart when I was in the checkout line years ago. She was covering something up hiding it from me.. I had to pry the stolen candy out of her coveting little fingers. Even though busted, she still wanted to remain in denial. Yep. That's us when we don't want to let go of hidden sin. Grownups steal too. It seems like several of them have been in the paper lately for stealing, those who used to be in the fellowship in the church. Hmm.
"A lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
Now that's the way to go forward.
God has left the light on for us.
God has left the light on for us.