A lamp to my feet
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. – Ps 119:105
106 I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations.
107 I have suffered much, O LORD; restore my life again as you promised.
108 LORD, accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations.
109 My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions.
110 The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments.
111 Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight.
112 I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end.
113 I hate those with divided loyalties, but I love your instructions.
114 You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.
Electricity was not understood nor was its power harnessed in the ancient world. There were no such things as electric lights as we have today. Instead, throughout the Mediterranean region before the time of Christ, they used terra-cotta oil lamps
Clay lamps are among the most common pottery pieces found by archaeologists in Mediterranean dwellings and tombs. They were very simple and cheap to make. They were a crucial part of life in many cultures between 1500 BC and 800 AD. Practically speaking, they were a source of portable artificial light, much like a candle or modern flashlight. They were also frequently used in various religious ceremonies and placed in burial chambers.
The common style of lamp in ancient Israel was a small bowl with a pinched lip which was used to support a wick. It resembled a flattened teapot. The wick was usually made of flax.
These lamps were normally filled with olive oil. Olive oil was plentiful in the ancient near East. It made excellent fuel for lighting.
Exodus 27:20 Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually
There are two words in Hebrew that are translated as lamp or lampstand. The common Hebrew word used for terra-cotta lamps is ner. This term is used 49 times in the Old Testament.
The second Hebrew word normally translated as lampstand is menorah. A menorah was a seven-pronged candlestick or lampstand. The Father directed Moses to place a menorah in the holy place of the tabernacle. This term is used 42 times in the Old Testament.
REFLECT & PRAY
“Left to ourselves, we often don’t know which way leads to life and which way ends in death; we remain in the dark. But God’s Word provides us with a searchlight to cut through the darkness and lead us to safety” (Stanley).
Father I want to follow You with all of my heart soul and mind. I want to live by the principles and truth of Your Word. I want to get this right, but I know will make mistakes and fail. Guide me one step at a time along the path You have chosen for me.
But there is more!
As people would walk at night, they would tie tiny lamps to their feet to illuminate their way. The lamp could only provide enough light for only one footstep at a time. It would illuminate the path just one step ahead. Rather than being able to see the whole route in front of them, they could only see one stride ahead in the darkness. Every time they took a step the light moved that much forward.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
This provides a beautiful word picture for how the Father leads and guides each child of the King. A lamp to my feet means “a light that lights up the path I walk on” (USB). We walk by faith and follow the Word of God. Each step we take in obedience illumines the next. Eventually, we arrive at the destination the Father intends. At the time when David wrote the Psalm, the Word of God consisted of the Law of Moses. The Torah guided moral choices and provided information to help determine the Father’s will.
“Two familiar biblical images combine in this verse: life is a path and God’s Word is the light that helps us follow the right path” (Wiersbe).
The Word of God provides light for the path of life. The Psalm is written in Hebrew poetry which rhymes ideas rather than sounds. My feet and my path are synonyms referring to the psalmist’s conduct, that is, his behavior and way of life.
The world in which we live is very dark. It is natural and normal for people to walk in darkness and become accustomed to it. The Lord Jesus Christ came to planet Earth as the light of the world. He provides light so that we do not have to walk in darkness. As we learn the Word and follow it, the Father enables us to walk in the light. The Father through His Word will reliably guide us one step at a time.
7 Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end. nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.”
“But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.”
“Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone” (Thomas Merton).
Psalm 19:8 The precepts of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living.
© Dr. H 2022