“Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:104–105

Perhaps it was because my family vacationed at a cabin without electricity during my formative years that I am enchanted by kerosene lighting. There is something about the dancing glow, old-fashioned charm, necessity of close proximity for good reading light, and the heat and faint aroma of a well-cared for lamp. It gives a warm touch to a dark night.

Our text speaks of a lamp, a light, feet, and a path. When I was a youth pastor I took our teen youth group on a hike along an unfamiliar footpath through the woods on a dark night, each one carrying his own lit candle. “Twenty-something” teens made “twenty-something” candlepower to help pick our way along the path. Glancing away from the light on the trail disoriented the best of us and confidence grew as candle-carriers walked in line and progress was made.

An oil lamp in David’s pre-streetlight day was a great benefit to sandal-shod feet traversing an uneven way. The stray cat, the errant pebble, the forgotten toy could be a sure way to new bruises and broken bones were it not for that little oil lamp in one’s hands. Think of the other obstacles you would wish to avoid in those days before the automobile and trains.

Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is David’s masterpiece tribute to the quality of the Word of God: one hundred seventy-six verses about one subject divided into an alphabetic acrostic using every letter of the Hebrew language to begin eight verses each. God’s Word is worth celebrating for it is as crucial as that lamp in the darkest of places for the sure-footed safety of the traveler. It burns and throws its light for every step of the way. The broader the wick and the fuller the reservoir of oil, the greater the light. Held high, it gives a sense of the surroundings, and held down close to the intended place of each footfall, it gives a more intense reflection and greater contrast of the obstacles to be avoided. A smooth path is found by wisely using the light of the lamp.

There is no better light for a path than torchlight or daylight. It shows the way ahead and illumines the destination. As verse 104 points out, there are false ways. Our forefathers would create footpaths from one location to another with purpose, often choosing the shortest route that was practical, but always with a purposeful destination. False ways do not get you to the desired destination. Our Lord speaks of a path, followed by many, that is broad and leads to destruction. He also said there is a path straight and narrow that leads to life everlasting. The Light of the Word of God is the only sure way of following the God-ordained path to the destination of eternal life.

The Bible is God’s gracious gift to mankind of His revealed wisdom so that all men may profit by it. Those who choose to study, understand, yield to what its light reveals, and step in the light will find their way along the path whether it is smooth or rough. They will see their way clear to the destination God intends. Those who reject its light do so to their own daily peril and are on the path to eternal ruin.

Are you a student of the Word of God faithfully seeking practical application to your daily life? Do you freely share the wisdom gained from your candlepower along the path of life for the aid of others? Are you fitting your lamp with the broadest of wicks and with the fullest of reservoirs so that you are giving off a full light? Trust and obey.