Yesterday we started looking at what the Bible says of itself and saw in Jeremiah 23:29 that the Word of God says it is like a fire and a hammer. Today we continue seeing what the Bible says it is like …
3) The Bible is like a lamp.
Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
In our country we are all aware of what happens when there is no electricity supply. Our power supplier informs us that its capacity to generate power is limited at best because of aging generating plants. From time to time we experience load shedding. Supply is cut for 2 to 2 ½ hours at a time and depending on the “load reduction stage” we could have such cuts between once to three times a day. When you think backwards to the days of the Psalmist, you quickly see that power supply was limited to wood and coal with oil lamps for lighting. Travel movement at night was limited and hazardous because of robbers, hijackers and criminals. Lamps were there for safety and to provide light … much like today. Our street’s lights are off at night more than they are on. Without street lights, our security cameras don’t work well. So protection and vision are limited. The Middle East streets were narrow with houses on either side. They were terribly dark and if it rained the sandy roads were mud … and often there were potholes. Without lighting danger lurked for night time travelers. Just as you cannot walk a street in pitch black darkness! Take the people living in rural areas who have to walk many kilometers on sand / gravel streets without any street lights. They leave for work in the early morning before its light and return home after the sun has set. The uneven roads, the potholes, the mud when it rains and the possibility of being robbed, raped or killed is a constant reality. Joshua worked for us at the church in Tshwane. To get his connecting trains, he left home at 3.30am each morning. On one occasion he was mugged in the dark and shot. Fortunately the bullet hit his knee and not his body where his vital organs are. This was in the dark. Now think of the Word of God. The Psalmist says God’s Word is a lamp to the feet. It gives spiritual light for spiritual travel. We might think we have wisdom for living life but we cannot live and exist without God’s wisdom. Think again of the function and purpose of the Bible:
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Life’s journey is a train smash without God’s Word. How will you know the right pathway without being taught? There will be no rebuke to point out sinful dangerous spiritual paths. There will be no correction for no one will be able to tell you what the right spiritual pathway is … and there will be no wisdom available to train you in right living (righteousness). You need the light of the Word to lighten up your spiritual pathway or you will venture onto evil paths that will endanger your soul. At the same time, the Word gives spiritual protection … it is “a light for my path”. I was chatting to a young man tonight at a wedding reception. His trade is “wheel alignment” correction and maintenance. He oversees a logistics company’s trucks that travel throughout the country. Do you know how important wheel alignment on a vehicle is? The top five reasons for the need to have good wheel alignment are … 1. To centered your steering wheel. 2. To prevent your vehicle pulling to one side or the other. 3. To prevent abnormal tyre wear. 4. To prevent loose handling when driving and 5. To prevent your steering wheel from not returning to center. Bad wheel alignment shouts out danger and excessive cost. The Bible being a “light for my path” is saying it is your spiritual wheel alignment. It wants to correct your travel. It wants to prevent spiritual accidents by keeping you on the narrow pathway. Young Timothy was instructed to
1Ti 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Where does doctrine come from? From the Bible! Doctrine divides … truth from error. Why was it necessary for young pastor Timothy to protect himself and his flock by the use of doctrine? To “save” themselves! Remember that in those early days of the Church … just like today … there were many spiritual gangsters!
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
This is the reason for spiritual protection. It is vital to protect God’s people from spiritual disaster by giving them spiritual light for their path of travel. They need spiritual wheel alignment if they are going to travel along spiritual pathways that are, for time to time loaded with spiritual mud, spiritual potholes and spiritual dust and dirt. This is why Timothy is instructed.
2Ti 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
Preach the Word. There is no substitute for preaching (teaching) the Word of God. As soon as a church (or pastors) use gimmicks to liven up worship services they neglect the Word and when they neglect the Word they are saying to the congregation … you don’t need the Word as a lamp to your feet and a light for your path! All you need are these “un-Biblical” things we are giving for your itching ears! Remember that Church signboard I referred to sometime ago … “Beyond the Word”. They put the Word aside for what they called the “supernatural” … as if the Word of God is not supernatural! O my friend, never neglect the Word of God … and for that, never remain in a church where there is no expositional preaching. It will cost you your spirituality. By the Spirit, the Word links you to the occupant on the Throne!
Dear Father, glorious Lord Almighty, thank You for giving us Your Word to be that spiritual lamp for our spiritual travels and that light to expose all the spiritual mud, potholes and dirt we need to negotiate away from as we seek to become spiritually mature in preparation for the day You call us to higher service in Glory. Amen.