The Light of the Word

 I took a friend hunting (or as we like to say here because of the loss of wildlife due to the wolves, lions and bears, “hiking with our guns”) last Friday. We covered quite a distance in the mountains and had some rather difficult going at times due to all the fallen trees on the forest floor creating a very challenging obstacle course. Since we weren’t on a road or trail much of the time, I needed to be aware of where we were headed so that we didn’t get turned around (some might call it lost!). I have hunted the area for many years so know it quite well but still have to be careful to watch for landmarks to reach the destination, i.e., to get safely back to our vehicle at the end of the hunt!  Since there were so many logs and branches to step over and around, we had to watch where we placed our next step, but also had to take time to survey the next situation ahead to know which would be the best route to take to best avoid the obstacles.  Oh, and then to look for deer and elk sign, or even better, animals making the sign too!

    I was reminded of a verse I had memorized many years ago from the longest chapter in the Bible: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105).  As we walk in this world, with a goal of becoming more and more like Christ, we definitely need to be looking forward to the direction our current path will take us and also to where we place our next step. God has enabled us to do that through using His Word to shed light both on the steps we take as well as on the path that will take us.  There are many paths which we could choose that will lead us away from our goal.  Solomon wrote this in his “Book of Wisdom”: “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” (Pr. 4:18).  This beautiful promise is inserted in the midst of a sober warning against taking the broad, well-traveled path of the ungodly: “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn away from it and pass on… The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know over what they stumble”  (vv.  14,15,19). 
     As we go about our daily lives, we are continually making choices (making the next step) that affect the direction our life will take. In order to live a life pleasing to God and to grow in His likeness (Ro. 8:29), we need the light of His Word to make wise choices that keep us headed in the right direction. As the sun provides physical light for the world, so Jesus Christ is spiritually “the light of the world” (Jn. 8:12). However, we clearly can see His light only through the light holder, the lamp, as it were, of His written Word. Without the Holy Scriptures, this world would lie in the deepest darkness, but “The unfolding of Thy words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psa. 119:105). Unfortunately, when Jesus, “The true light” (Jn. 1:9), came into the world, most refused to receive Him (Jn. 1:11), choosing rather to continue living in darkness (and still do). “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifest as having been wrought in God” (Jn. 3: 19-21). 
     Similarly, we have now had the complete written Word of God for some 1900 years, but men still reject and ridicule it, and the world still lies in darkness. Nevertheless, for those who receive it, there is wonderful light. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). The Apostle Paul wrote: “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (II Cor. 4:6); “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13).  Peter, in his first epistle, wrote: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light“‘ (I Pet. 2:9).
     Most of us who have spent time hiking or hunting in the mountains know what a terrifying feeling it is to be “turned around” and not know for sure where you are or the way to go. You have a tendency to panic, especially as night is fast approaching and you think you need to start going faster, although you don’t know which way. That must be how it is for those in this world who are “walking in (spiritual) darkness.”   It is no wonder we are seeing the decline of our own nation as our leaders make decisions which are contrary to God’s directives in His Word. Many are choosing paths that lead to destruction, and, as a person who is lost in the woods, seem to be going faster and faster–in the wrong direction. Solomon wrote of such people: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Pr. 14:12); “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes…” (Pr. 12:15).
     The world system is governed by the “rulers of darkness” (Eph. 6:12), so, as believers, we need to make sure we are using God’s Word as our final authority for the choices we make, the stand we take, and the path we pursue. “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8).  Let God’s Word, not the world, by your guide as you walk each day. Let His Word be a “lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path” (Psa. 119:105).  A Bible teacher once held up his well-worn bible and said, “Every believer should wreck a copy of the Bible every ten years!”  In other words, we should use our Bibles so much that they gradually wear out. Someone else said, “A Bible that’s falling apart often belongs to someone who isn’t!”  Is that true for you? The Bible is meant to be bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions. “Each of us should use the Word of God personally, practically, and habitually, as we make our way through this dark world”‘ (J. Vernon McGee).
 
                                                                                                    Forever His,
                                                                                                            Pastor Dave
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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