Sunday, June 19, 2016
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
What does, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path mean?” The passage is from Psalm 119:105. I will give you a brief historicity about the verse, present the denotative meaning and expound on three symbols: the lamp, the word and the Psalmist to build the connotative meaning. Why does David need a lamp unto his feet and light to his path? What does that mean for us today? Considering that it is a metaphor, there is a hidden meaning from just the word as a lamp unto his feet, and a light unto his path.
In those days, the people made oil lamps with ropy handles to guide their path around when it was dark. The oil lamp had a wig that was dipped into a container of oil. They lit it at nighttime, but they blew it out during the day. David had many enemies before and during his reign as a king. Before he became king, he was a 15 year old shepherd boy who tended the sheep of his father-Jesse. He needed a lamp to see his way through the night. After he killed Goliath, it compounded his misery with the women praising him as better than Saul. This provoked jealousy in Saul who sought to kill him. David spent days and nights running from Saul to save his life, during which he slept in caves and trenches, using a lamp at night to see his way. During his reign as king, David had to run away from his son-Absolom who staged a coup d’état to replace him. While he is running away, the wilderness becomes his world, needing a lamp to his feet and a light to his path.
Psalm 119 is an acoustic poem (because the beginning letters of the stanzas come from the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet) that flashbacked on the word of God during all his afflictions. How can the word be the lamp to his feet and a light to his path?
The wilderness of David is symbolic of our world today (Is 14:17), and it has its own rudiments whereby they survive (Col 2:28). Just as David needed light in the wilderness, we need light in this world of ours because the world is an evil place (Is 13:11). Sin entered the world through Adam (Rom 5:12). This ephemeral world (I Jn 2:17) in which we brought nothing (I Tim 6:7) and will carry nothing out of it, brings with it a special type of care, worry or anxiety for the riches of the world (Mt 13:32; Rom 11:12). The world is the field where both Satan and Jesus plant their seeds. Just as David fought the wild beasts, Goliath and resisted Saul and Absalom, so do we wrestle against Satan and his principalities, powers and rulers of darkness. Albeit, Satan is the prince of this world. Herein live the children of the world who trade their stocks in evil and are distinct from those of God (Lk 16:18).
The feet and path are metonymical as they represent his life. In the first part of the verse, "your word is a light to my feet," the word creates a syntheresis, and in the second part,"a light unto my path," the word enables him with a syneidesis. That is why John told the disciples, " Beloved if our heart condemns us not, then have we confidence after God (I John 3:21)." The word helps him to distinguish between good and evil, and then it guides him as he lives his daily life. The world does not know God. Those who preach against evil are considered troublemakers, bigots, retards and many other names. Through the word of God, the pilgrim understands that sometimes the base things of the world are instead the ones God honors (I Cor 1:28). That is why he does not want us to conform to the world (Rom 12:2). If the world was a pleasant place, why would God from whom every good gift proceeds prevent us from being partakers of that enjoyment? The Christians are now required to shine as the light of the world (Philippians 2:15). What then was the word?
The word that was a lamp to David’s feet and a light to his path is symbolic of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the word (John 1:1). The word came to shine the light into the world, so the world will hate Him. The world will hate anyone who testifies of its evil (Jn 7:7; Jn 15:18-19; I Jn 3:13). Jesus said that he is the light of the world (Jn 9:5; 12:46), and He came to give light to the world (Jn 9:39). Walking in darkness is synonymous to walking in sin (Jn 11:9). Therefore Jesus becomes the embodiment of the word we read.
Jesus said to the disciples, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Mt 5:14:16). The Christians then become the light of the world because they have the word which lights their synteresis and guides their syneidesis. It was the word that made David the overcomner because it helped him to find his way around the difficulties. That is why he could say, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all (Psalm 34:19).” Through this, those who believe in God and keep his word in them would become overcomers too (I Jn 5:4). How much light would you have been to this world? Suffer that i end with the words of Christian in the Pilgrim’s Progress, “Here is a poor burdened sinner. I come from the City of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion, that I may be delivered from the Wrath to come; I would therefore, Sir, since I am informed that by this Gate is the Way thither, know if you are willing to let me in?” Let the word of God guide your path into heaven, our celestial city.
Until then, I hope you understand.
St Arrey of Ntenako
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