Light in the dark


by Michael E. Brooks

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105 NKJV).

One of the very first things which I put on any packing list for international travel is a flashlight and extra batteries. Actually I normally pack at least 2 or 3 lights for my personal use and sometimes several others as gifts.

I find a variety of sizes to be handy, and there is always the possibility of loss or the need for a loaner.

Light is essential. In many of the places to which I travel there is no electricity and thus little illumination after dark. Flashlights are invaluable.

Over the years there have been numerous incidents involving lights, or their absence. There was the late night when 15 or 20 of us walked three miles back from our tent meeting with only one small flashlight to share between us.

When some of the group left us to go down the hill on a narrow path through the jungle to their village they took the light, leaving us to travel in the dark on the wider road where the moon and stars helped us to see at least a little bit.

On another occasion we were trekking in the Himalayas at night, using a Chinese-made gasoline lantern (somewhat like the Coleman Lanterns familiar to campers in the U.S.).

This one was faulty, and we could not keep it burning. This trek was over narrow paths that frequently hugged the sides of the mountains with sheer drop-offs. Needless to say, we progressed quite slowly, and arrived at our destination quite late.

One of my favorite memories is of wading through Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem by the fading glimmer of an old flashlight whose batteries were almost dead. Even that faint glow helped to find the way.

The author of Psalm 119, describes the great worth of God’s word at length. Perhaps his best known expression is that quoted above: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Just as I go to great lengths to ensure that I will not have to walk in the dark without illumination, so the Psalmist depended upon God’s laws to direct his feet.

Many have used the analogy, “life is a journey.” The apostle Paul frequently talked about “the way”, meaning Christian faith and the Christian life (Acts 24:14).

We are traveling through this world, seeking a final destination which will reward us and bring us peace. We need light for that journey.

God has provided light-his inspired word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). His word reveals himself to us, along with his will for us. It tells us from whence we came, and to where we are going. It identifies dangers, and highlights rewards. To ensure success in our journey we must walk in the light (Ephesians 5:8-14).

The study of the Bible is not a burden or some difficult duty. It is as helpful and practical as turning on a flashlight to find one’s way. Walking dangerous paths in the dark is foolish. Living in this sinful world without God’s word is even more so.

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