Monday, February 6, 2017
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations. I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as you promised. Lord, accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations. My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions. The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments. Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight. I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end. Psalm 119:105-112(NLT)
The Psalms, Israel’s hymnal, is the longest of the Bible’s 66 books, and chapter 119 is the longest chapter, and it is also the center of the entire holy collection we call God’s Word. And in this holy text we find the Psalmist highlighting the importance of paying attention to this gift God has provided for our daily living. One author characterized how God’s living Word is a blessing too valuable to ignore:
It shows him the way; it prevents his stumbling over obstacles, or failing down precipices, or wandering off into paths which would lead into danger, or would turn him away altogether from the path to life.[ii]
A week ago, walking through our dark house in the wee morning hours with only soft slippers on my feet, I stubbed the same toe for the umpteenth time on the same obstacle I’ve met in the dark more times than I want to admit! Although I will not tell you exactly what words nearly fell from the preacher’s lips at that precise moment, I can tell you they weren’t pretty. And neither was it a pretty shade of swollen black and blue on my right foot’s poor, assaulted digit. I limped through the entire weekend.
Now, stubbed (and possibly broken) physical toes are a nuisance when you have to walk on them to get anywhere. But they are merely an inconvenience compared to the wounds we get from stumbling around in the spiritual darkness, away from God’s light.
Let’s face it, life is very much a rocky road, with plenty of opportunities to be tripped-up, causing us to stumble. In the physical realm there are so many accidents waiting to cripple and maim; there are so many diseases ready to drain the life from your being.
But all the rocks on life’s physical road are merely a stubbed-toe detour compared to the spiritual boulder jumble awaiting the pilgrim travelling through life’s journey. This is why the Psalmist proclaimed that, even though his life constantly hung in the balance, he would follow-through on his promise to follow the light of God’s Lamp.
It kind’ve makes me glad I smashed that toe again – no, I definitely don’t have a thing for pain – it’s just that every now and again it’s a good thing to be reminded of what greater damage can be done when you stumble around in the dark physically, or, worse, spiritually. And it’s so sad to think that there’s so much light available!
Meditating on God’s Word and praying for God’s wisdom can prevent a lot of spiritual broken toes!
[ii] Barnes’ Notes on the Old Testament, © 1999, Parsons Technology, Inc