Have you ever had the experience of being alone in a room that is so dark you can’t even see your hand in front of your face? If you have, you know that darkness causes you to become disoriented. Your mind becomes perplexed and loses perspective. It becomes impossible to make rational judgments because EVERYTHING is unknown, untested, untried, and unsure. Even if you’re not alone, if someone else is in the room with you, it actually doubles the problem because you both lose your bearings and become confused. Try to imagine living in a world with no physical light -- no sun, moon, stars, electric lights, flashlights, or candles -- just pitch darkness. How grateful would you be for one small match to light your way?
Did you ever think that is how the world would be without God’s Word? John 1:15 tells us that in Jesus is the Word, in Him was life, and the life was the light of men. In Acts 26:18, God sent the apostle Paul to preach the gospel to the Gentiles to open their eyes, in order to turn them from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sin. Colossians 1:12-13 tells us that as believers, our inheritance is in the light because God has delivered us from the power of darkness and Ephesians 5:8 reminds us to walk as children of light because we were once darkness, but now we are light.
Our world is filled with darkness. But the Bible also tells us that God has given us the prophetic word made sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place….(2 Peter 1:19). It is His Word that lights the world and enlightens our hearts. In this stanza of Psalm 119, the psalmist writes of God’s wonderful (119:129) words giving light.
129 Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul observes them.
130 The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
131 I opened my mouth wide and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
After Your manner with those who love Your name.
133 Establish my footsteps in Your word,
And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
134 Redeem me from the oppression of man,
That I may keep Your precepts.
135 Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of water,
Because they do not keep Your law.
Do you remember back in Psalm 119:105 the psalmist wrote that God’s word was a lamp to his feet and a light to his path. It lit his way so he could see clearly. But in the present stanza, he reveals that God’s word is also an inner light to his soul. This inner light gives understanding, even to simple folks (119:129-130). It also instills an inner longing for more of God’s word (commandments, 119:131). The psalmist’s longing for God’s word is so intense he says, I opened my mouth wide and panted (119:131). This made me think of a thirsty traveler in the desert panting for water. Just as a human body needs water to survive, the soul is sustained by God’s Word. How intense is your longing for the sustenance of your soul?
The psalmist loves God’s name (119:132), meaning he loves God himself and everything about God. He longs to stay true to God’s word, where God reveals Himself to us, so he does not sin. He asks God to establish is footsteps in Your word (119:133) and to protect him from those who might lead him away from it (119:134). How much do you love and honor God’s name? How much of a priority is it for you to establish your footsteps firmly in His Word so you do not fall into sin (119:132-133)? How often do you pray and ask God to keep you from sin so you can stay true to His Word (119:133-134)?
In this dark world, there are many who walk in darkness because they have no desire for God’s word to light their path and illumine their soul. The psalmist says it causes him to mourn (my eyes shed streams of water) when others do not keep God’s law. Would he shed tears for you? Who would you shed tears for now that you have read this portion of Psalm 119? What truths of God’s Word will you share with that person this week to bring some light into their world? God’s words are indeed wonderful (119:129). They give light in the darkness. Without them, people are hopelessly lost in the dark.
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I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.