November 10, 2012

Psalm 119:105-106 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.
I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.

Verse 105 is widely quoted and sung, but verse 106 seldom is, which is unfortunate, because it explains why verse 105 can be true. We often say we want God to guide us, and we sing verse 105 to any of a number of musical arrangements, but until we commit ourselves to do what God says, the Bible is not “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path,” it’s just a good luck charm. The vast majority of people largely ignore the Bible. A smaller number revere it, and keep it on their shelf, coffee table, or desk. However, for it to be the guide that we claim it is, it has to be our constant companion, not necessari­ly physically, but in our hearts. Just ahead of today’s passage there’s a very interesting sequence of three verses, 98-100. The writer is claiming more wisdom than his enemies, more insight than his teachers, and more understanding than his elders, and I’d say he was probably right. That’s because the Bible was constantly with him, he meditated on it, and he obeyed it. For the Word of God to be all to us that it can be, and that we claim it is, we must make it an integral part of our daily lives, not just reading it and going on, but thinking about it and most especially, putting it into practice. When we do that, our way is indeed bright through the light of the Word.

The Bible has been integral to my life since infancy, because of the incredible blessing of having parents who were committed to God and His Word, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always followed through with the second and third of the steps outlined above. As a result, I have at times acted very foolishly, and I have suffered the conse­quences. I have learned the hard way that until we follow through with putting God’s Word into practice, it’s not much more than an accessory to our lives. As a pastor, I seek to impart a love for God and His Word in others, but I must extend to them the grace and patience that have been shown to me. It has been very strange to me to have some people get started in the SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) devotional system I use, talk about how wonder­ful it is, and then not continue in it. Perhaps part of the problem, on top of the time pressures of modern life, is being uncomfortable with the pressure to apply what they read. We tend to like verses that com­fort or encourage us, putting them up on our walls as decorations, but we are less enamored of verses that call us to faithful obedience! I am to be faithful in my own obedience, which means speaking the truth in love at all times, so that people will have every opportunity to make and follow through with the commitment that will bring them all the riches of God’s Word.

Father, I remember one couple that complained I wasn’t “preaching the Gospel” enough. They also said I talked a lot about commitment, but they didn’t see that so much in the Bible. I wonder what Bible they were reading?! Help me be faithful in communicating Your whole Word, calling people to the relationship with You and Your Word that You desire and intend, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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