"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105)
We all have done things that live on in our memories. Whether it was good or bad, it’s done and there is nothing we can do to change it. But sometimes life takes us in unexpected directions and if the event is still largely in the future, you really CAN affect the outcome. Do you sometimes find yourself doing something that you never expected to do? Is it possibly happening right now? Have you done something that pleased and excited you, but there’s another step you must take and you wonder if you can do it right?
I’m in that position right now. For some years I had what was for me an interesting hobby—the writing of a book in the genre of what is sometimes called Christian fiction. I picked an area of Scripture that has fascinated me—the Pre-Flood world. There was a time when I did not believe there ever was a flood that covered the earth as presented in the Bible. And yet, as I read and studied His Book, the written Word of God, I was changed. I became connected through faith to the One who wrote it—God Himself. As written in Romans 10:17—“faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” I now believe and am completing my own little book about the Pre-Flood world.
The Word of God, the Bible, is unique. God isn’t limited to time and space like we are, and from His perspective the Bible was simply complete from eternity, alive in the intentions of God long before the various human authors contributed their portions to its present form. Some people have looked at the Bible and because of its many human contributors have decided that it must somehow be flawed like we are. But it’s perfect because God makes it so. I’ve personally learned, like so many other people that prayerfully study His Book—it will bring us to the Lord who fills us with His Spirit and enables us to understand.
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Have you ever been lost, really lost? One way or another, I think it’s happened to all of us. We thought we knew something—we were convinced it was true and then learned to our shock that we were on the wrong road. It can be a wrong idea, an incorrect direction or someone we trusted who turned out to be false. Sadly it can also be that someone looked to us and WE were false.
Years ago as I traveled south toward my home after a visit to a national park in the U.S., the gasoline level in the tank was near empty and it was a relief to see a gas station on the right. I turned into it and stretched for a few minutes as the tank filled up. The fog on the highway that night was thicker as I turned to the left from the gas pumps. Traveling some distance it became apparent that I should have turned right instead of left when I departed the station. I made a U-turn at the next intersection and sure enough, in a few miles I passed the gas station where I had filled the car and thank heaven—I was now going south through the fog once more.
But I was shaken. Up to that point I was one of those who felt smug about “my excellent sense of direction.” There is a satisfaction in being proficient in something that is difficult for other people and it’s a shock to find out we’re not as good as we thought. We should know what to do but we don’t…and it makes us afraid. The Word of God is full of people who thought they were capable enough, but pressures in life revealed their need, just like they do ours.
In looking at God’s Word as “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” I like the comparisons offered to us in Scripture. We can compare Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, David and Saul, Judas Iscariot and Peter—how do they differ from each other? How are they the same?…There are many examples and I also like to compare one Scripture with another. A good look at God's call of Moses is not only seen in Exodus Chapter 3, but also in Acts 7.
God attracted Moses out in the wilderness by setting a bush on fire. As Moses continued to stare at it he noticed that the fire kept on burning but the bush was not consumed (Exodus 3:2-3. Moses was an analytical man, educated by Egyptian scholars who had a surprising grasp of the physical world and universe around them. But Moses had just about given up hope that anything good would come out of his life. When he was forty, he visited his kinsmen of Israel and studied them. At one point he killed an Egyptian who was mistreating an Israeli but discovered that the people of Israel did not want his help. He left, became a sheepherder in Midian to the east, married, had two sons—remaining there for 40-years (Acts 7:20-30).
He was now 80-years old, and as seen in a Psalm that was written by him, he thought life was about over. He said, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). He was ready to “fly away” into death but at that moment God spoke to him from the bush that burned but was not consumed. Some have thought the man had a speech impediment because he said, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:11). But we can compare that answer with Acts 7:22 which says “Moses…was mighty in words…” He still had the potential for eloquence but forty years had humbled him and instead of reckoning himself as Israel’s human deliverer, he now felt insufficient of God's call.
He finally relented and responded to God. Then came the various Judgments that fell upon Egypt until the Pharaoh finally shouted at him—“Rise and go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the Lord as you have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also” (Exodus 12:31-32). Pharaoh subsequently changed his mind and sent chariots, but God stopped them and suddenly the nation Israel was safely in the wilderness to the east of Egypt.
Finally they were free! But were they? We can be free physically but still enslaved in our minds, much like an alcoholic may not drink anymore but acts and speaks in ways marked by those years of excess. The people left Egypt but were still enslaved—in their souls. “What will we do?” the people wondered, and one of the blessings given was a physical manifestation of the Lord Himself—“The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people” (Exodus 13:21-22).
God led them, this reluctant people who resisted Him and His servant Moses, and He is willing to lead you and me. You and I do have reluctance within us that is subtle and difficult for us to see. He knows what is needed and we may have to walk in the wilderness of life for a time until we finally yield to His ways. There would be a point when the nation was ready to march into the Promised Land, but notice that the generation who left Egypt was mostly dead. It was their sons and daughters who entered the land of Canaan. Your old attitudes must die before you finally learn to trust in the Lord.
We don’t have the cloud and fire like they did, but we have something better. God has given us His Word, the Book that contains real people, real situations that show us how to live. And we have another witness—the Holy Spirit of God who lives in us and gives understanding. As I continue to write and edit my own little book about the Pre-Flood world, I realize that the Holy Spirit reveals much in God’s Word that we could understand in no other way. God is with us just as He was with Moses. “His Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Read and pray—He intends to give you understanding and the joy of His Presence within your very soul.
Lord, I trust in You. I will read Your Word...and Your Holy Spirit will be with Me. Thank You for Your grace, expressed through faith—that I, even I, might understand. In Jesus Name. Amen.
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