105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. 107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word. 108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. 109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law. 110 The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. 111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. 112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.
As he walks in the darkness with a lamp to show him where to tread and which path to follow, the Psalmist here is reflecting on just how God’s word leads, guides and keeps him on the path of staying right with, and obedient to, Almighty God. Many is the path the Psalmist would have trodden in the dark when tending sheep when he was a shepherd boy, being careful not to fall into any holes.
Now, he says just how brightly shining God’s word is, to guide, steer and keep him on the narrow spiritual path! The light of Scripture and God’s Law, commands and statues not only give guidance on how to live, but also direct and guide every action! God’s word, says the Psalmist, is a light and lamp through the dark time he spoke of earlier. The tiniest light affects even the darkest night. It would also have been after having renounced all earthly wisdom that the Psalmist David could be guided by heavenly wisdom seen in the Law!
With a lamp to direct his footsteps and a light to guide his path, the Psalmist resolved boldly before God, that he will follow the righteous laws as laid down. The lamp and the light are to show God’s moral guidance! They are to show a way forward and not backwards! By going backwards, the Psalmist knows he will fall into darkness and ways that are disobedient to God! So he relies on the Law and God’s commandments to show him the way up the narrow path of obedience to God. He offers himself to the service of God and is willing to fully committed to following where God leads and be obedient to Him.
With his desire to keep God’s laws, the Psalmist is embracing what God commands wholeheartedly and single-mindedly. And how does he achieve this? Is this achievable by using his own strength and guile? No! its due only to God’s grace and power that the Psalmist can hope to achieve his goal and fulfil his oath. He knows that even though he suffers for his obedience, the Lord has promised to save and rescue him, according to His promises!
Again, the Psalmists relies on God’s promises to save, secure and rescue him. In response to be rescued the Psalmist offers praises and a willingness to be taught! With praises of a teachable person, God is asked to accept the Psalmist’ sacrifice. Nothing was more important to the Psalmist than to know how God wanted him to behave in all situations and God’s laws, statutes, precepts and commandments enable the Psalmist to exercise Godly obedience in all situations – both private and public. He has sought to do this, despite sufferings, persecutions, having his very life threatened and being in constant danger of his enemies.
Despite all that, God’s laws are imprinted on the Psalmist’s heart and engraved on his mind – he does not forget! He is then able to overcome the traps, lures, snares and temptations laid out in wait for him, by his enemies. Knowing God’s precepts on his heart and mind, allow the Psalmist to avoid such traps, shining the lamp and light of God’s word on the path ahead. His persecuting enemies seek to destroy and kill him, but they are eluded by the Psalmist Godly guile and knowledge.
For the Psalmist knows that God’s laws are everlasting to everlasting and they bring him true joy. The testimonies he has read in the history of his people about how they overcame in order to be obedient to God are a joy to him. Provided the Psalmist possessed this everlasting joy, he could leave all other pleasures such as music, gold, jewels, riches, honours, wealth and family behind. God and being obedient to God through God’s laws were the Psalmists utmost joy and goal – with a lamp and light to show the way forward!
How is your lamp showing? How is your walk of obedience to, and service of, God going? It is when we are struggling with temptations and sins, that we need the Holy Spirit to help us overcome. So often, I know, we try in our own strength to overcome temptations and fail. We succumb to the tempters traps and disobey God. Much to the pleasure of our goading enemies. Jesus when in the last night before his arrest, trial and death, endured supreme temptations to just give up. But He didn’t, because like the Psalmist, His supreme joy was found to be obedient to the Father! Where is your supreme joy found? Is it found in your wealth, possessions, sexual activity, friends or family? Or is your supreme joy, like the Psalmist and Jesus, found in obedience to God and service to Him and His people? Remember that we have a helper who dwells inside us – God the Holy Spirit! He will help you through temptations and snares and give you the grace freely to do so.
Finally, when you do sin, having fallen for the lure or trap of the enemy, then be quick to ask forgiveness for your sin. The longer you leave it, the more it will fester, turn poisonous and gives the enemy, satan, an opportunity to accuse you. Ask forgiveness from God, accept His grace, move on and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you anew and help you. Read Psalm 51 and Psalm 32 if you want to know how the Psalmist did it! Remember, that temptation itself is not a sin – even Jesus was tempted many times and yet He never sinned! Thank you.