“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules.
I am severely afflicted; give me life, O LORD, according to your word.”
These words are a recognition of the light and truth of God’s word in a dark and deceptive world. They are a commitment on behalf of the psalmist and God’s people to embrace God’s covenant promises from the heart come “persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword,” to quote the Apostle Paul. All of these dangers were all too real in this ancient culture, and though we have had our share of war in this century and in centuries passed, we have still been relatively insulated from day-to-day danger. But, all of that has changed these past few months.
Some of us are fearful that this virus has the power to kill hundreds of thousands. We watch the news, read the reports, follow the NIH, CDC, and WHO projections and we are either properly cautious or scared out of our minds. On the other hand, maybe you fall into the camp that believes there is “something more going on,” that all of this is a hoax to allow the government to chip away at your freedoms and bring you more under the hand of governmental oversight and control. Perhaps you are somewhere in between.
Wherever your mind and heart are taking you during this time, whatever unsteadiness is afflicting you, God’s word is the light unchanged by the darkness, the lamp that lights your feet, the light along the path on which you find yourself. It is this light that cannot be overcome by the darkness that surrounds your path. It is steady and unchanging. Though roots and rocks cause us to falter, though muck and mire threaten to take us down with it, God’s word remains the beacon by which we journey.
Furthermore, God makes these promises through his word apart from our actions or response. Should we stray from the path of his word, he doesn’t put out his lamp and leave us in the darkness; far from it! His lamp remains the guide on which our eyes are re-centered and re-focused the arduous journey ahead.
I am reminded by this insight from John Calvin, Swiss pastor and Reformer: “It is better to hobble along the path of God’s word than it is to run with all speed outside it” (my paraphrase). In these uncertain and strange days, let us hobble along the path of God’s word together, friends. The Word of the Lord is our sure and certain hope in an uncertain and ever-changing world.