The Lamp
Mike Heisler

Psalm 119 is full of references to the significance of God’s law, word, commandments and testimonies. Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” In view of our message on the bible yesterday what does a simple light do for our path? We camp with extended family in the Adirondacks. We have separate campsites but in the evening we get together for some conversation around the campfire. It’s dark, very dark, when we leave yet a small head-lamp or flashlight is enough to keep us on the path to our camper without tripping over rocks and roots. There is enough light for the unfamiliar path.

A lamp is different from light. The lamp is the source of the light. The author of Ps. 119 compares the Word with a lamp as the Bible is a source of light that illuminates our path. The light is not something mystical, ethereal, or theoretical. It is real and practical and is itself empowered by a source. He declares that God’s Word is the lamp that lights his path. The Hebrew niyr (H5216 Strong’s concordance number) refers to the small, bowl-shaped lamp that operates with an oil fed wick. These lamps can have a variety of shapes and sizes. We don’t use them much anymore but we might need them if the grid fails!

“The Bible is a reading lamp, with which we can read the very thoughts of God in the quiet hours. It is a miner’s lamp, which illuminates the darkest places in the pit but also reveals the gems buried there. It is a safety lamp, which, like the one used by miners many years ago that prevented the lamp flame from igniting dangerous gases, protects us from the unseen dangers lurking around us. It is the lighthouse lamp, which lights the shore and reveals the rocks of ruin that await. It is a hurricane lamp, (I never thought about where that term came from for those odd shaped lamps! Mike) which like its namesake can never be blown out no matter how strong the wind. It is a street lamp, which illuminates the shadows of the night and reveals enemies that hide there. And it is the hand lamp, the simple flashlight, that we can easily carry and point in any needed direction.” J. D. Watson, “A Hebrew Word for the Day”, May 23

Certainly God’s word can help us see along the paths in life. It might be a dazzling light that shines far up ahead, or a small lamp that prevents us from stumbling on the next step. But we must read it, or listen to an audio version, to gain the benefits of that light. Send me a note if you’d like some suggestions on how or where to start, or restart, your reading.