The Light From The Lamp
Evangel Tabernacle | On 01, Mar 2018
By: Michelle Lao – 25 February 2018
KEY TEXT: Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Are you about to make a major decision in your life this morning? Major decisions meaning LIFE ALTERING ones which will entail risking ALL that you’ve got – your time, emotions, money, family. LIFE ALTERING decisions -where you simply cannot afford to make a mistake, not this time, not this one.
Major decisions as perhaps: Is this the right course to take in college? How could I be sure that this is the person that I’m going to marry? Should I work abroad and leave my husband and children? In my case, it was an important business decision which will cost us a lot.
What makes this particular decision so hard to make is the UNCERTAINTY of the outcome. My husband and I will be risking so much -with no certainty at all. I cannot see what’s ahead of me and I don’t know what’s out there.
I believe that you have been placed in a similar situation in one way or the other. Let me ask you how did you go about making your decision? Whose counsel did you seek? Did you allow the fickleness of YOUR mind to decide for you? How about the pressure from people and the world?
My aim is for us to learn about first, the LAMP which is His WORD and second, His LIGHT which is the UNDERSTANDING coming from the Word.
In MAKING DECISIONS our steps must be directed by both the LAMP AND LIGHT. We should not stop just by having the Word but we must always ask God to give us the proper understanding from the Word.
THE ANCIENT LAMP in Psalm 119:105
An ancient lamp like this (see illustration) is referred to in our key text. Obviously, one can’t go far using this one-wicker oil lamp for it is not designed for travel.
The verse,” Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” particularly relates GOD’S WORD to a “LAMP” and the UNDERSTANDING COMING from the WORD to a “LIGHT” that will DIRECT OUR STEPS.
As I’ve mentioned earlier my husband and I needed to make a very important business decision and since November 2017 I’ve been praying to God to SIGNAL ME WITH HIS WORD on whether we will proceed with it or not. However, NO WORD CAME not until Jan. 2018. I was in the dark for almost 2 months.
In business you have to be quick and decisive when an opportunity presents itself for there are many takers wanting the exact same offer. Our partners had been waiting for our confirmation and we can’t come up with one because we didn’t have His Word yet, or the understanding of His Word for that matter which later on you’ll know.
Also, Pastor Lily gave us a tall order- she said that BOTH husband and wife must have the SAME RHEMA which in my mind was most unlikely to attain.
I’ll tell you what was unusual. Somewhere around November, God had already been giving me Psalm 119:105 which is instrumental in leading me to my rhema chapter. For almost everyday this verse appeared in my mind as stubborn as a weed in making its presence understood. But despite its persistence I just KEPT MISSING THE MEANING BEHIND IT because my mind was just TOO OCCUPIED TO SEE.
God’s Word was there all along like a lamp to my feet but it just cannot light my path and direct my steps. Why? Because my MIND WAS JUST TOO OCCUPIED TO SEE. The word was there since November but I was not able to see.
That’s probably why the verse says LAMP TO OUR FEET AND NOT THE MIND because our mind can always run ahead, our thoughts are endless and undisciplined. OUR MINDS CAN WANDER OFF TO wherever they want to go like to some UNGODLY PLACES of fantasy, fear, worry, among many. Or in my case I was just plain busy and my thoughts carried me so far away from the light.
Ps 119: 14 ISV
I find joy in the path of your decrees, as if I owned all kinds of riches.
As I opened my Bible sticking to my reading guide on Jan. 14, God finally gave me UNDERSTANDING and I was able to see the meaning behind the verse and the chapter. Finally, He broke open His words to me.
My heart rejoiced immensely because I found a great treasure unlike any other and that is – the TRUTH FROM GOD’S MOUTH.
The Bible says that His Word is our greatest treasure and it is a treasure we can all possess.
My treasure was both – His LAMP which is His WORD signaling me which way to go and His LIGHT on my dark path which is the UNDERSTANDING from His Word.
Since Nov. I got a WORD but it took me almost 2 months to UNDERSTAND it and USE IT TO LIGHT MY PATH.
A UNITED RHEMA
The rhema God gave me signaled me to UNITE with those who fear Him and know His laws.
Let me be united with all who fear you, with those who know your laws.
What jumped out of this verse for me is the word UNITE or UNITED. It is highly significant on 2 counts.
First, this verse signaled me to UNITE WITH OUR PARTNERS because they are God fearing Christians too.
Next, this verse signaled me to UNITE WITH MY HUSBAND and altogether proceed because his rhema and my rhema were IN AGREEMENT, containing the SAME MESSAGE and even coming to us both at the SAME TIME.
Mine is about the Lamp and his about the Lord’s Prayer and BOTH talks about the SAME THING.
THE LORD’S PRAYER and the LAMP
My husband’s rhema was the most famous prayer of all – the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father.
Mt 6:11 says, “Give us this day our daily bread…” This verse talks about the need to depend on God for our DAILY provision on a DAILY basis. It reminds us of the biblical truth that God only promises us one day at a time.
Like the lamp to our feet – it’s always been ONE STEP, one day at a time!
Given our united rhema we now have the CONFIDENCE TO START, to take that ONE STEP OUT IN THE DARK since we know that our steps are directed by His Word. What we have now is the CERTAINTY OF HIS WORD and this is more than enough. For this is how GOD LEADS US – just A STEP AT A TIME in a future that is filled with uncertainties.
THE TREASURE OF THE LAMP in Psalm 119:105
Psalm 119:105 offers confidence that GOD’S WORD would illuminate our way like a LAMP.
How is that illumination like coming from a lamp?
JUST ENOUGH LIGHT TO ILLUMINATE ONE STEP AT A TIME. It would have been SLOW, but one step at a time is sufficient.
Honestly speaking, in my heart I want TOTAL CERTAINTY regarding the future and not GRADUAL REVELATION. I would have appreciated a LASER BEAM shooting into the darkness for miles. This light would have been perfect for me SINCE I WANT- to know- what’s OUT there in the distance. With nothing unknown I would be comfortable to step out as we are investing so much into this business deal.
But the TREASURE OF THE LAMP suggests a LAMP which DOESN’T GIVE MUCH LIGHT AT ALL. As you take a good look at the picture you see the man in the dark holding the lamp down on his path with JUST ENOUGH LIGHT for him TO GO ONE STEP AT A TIME.
Because the lamp doesn’t give much light, we need to KEEP IT LOW, DOWN ON OUR PATH so that WE CAN KEEP TO THE COURSE GOD HAD SET FOR US.
The light coming from a lamp scenario is so hard to imagine in our world now because of electricity.
When we flick a switch the light instantly fills every nook and cranny, banishing all darkness.
The darkness vanishes yes as we are surrounded by the LIGHT that SEEMS TO BE EVERYWHERE but our eyes are not particularly drawn to the light-source am I right?
Its highly ironic that we can find the TREASURE OF THE LAMP in A LAMP THAT DOESN’T GIVE MUCH LIGHT AT ALL. But the lesson is clear, ONLY THROUGH THE LAMP that we should draw our light from and avoid the THE LIGHT that SEEMS TO BE EVERYWHERE so that we can stay on course and not slip.
We may think we need more – but one step at a time is all God promises us.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
The BASIC PRINCIPLE OF DIVINE GUIDANCE is this: GOD LEADS US ONE STEP AT A TIME.
God uses the word STEP when he reveals His plan for our lives. While God has the whole journey mapped out ahead of time, he conceives of that journey as a SUCCESSIVE SERIES OF SMALL STEPS.
Like an ancient traveler carrying an oil lamp -the oil lamp illuminates the path before him, one step at a time, and GRADUALLY as he walks.
That is how God uses his Word to guide us. He does not promise a brilliant blaze of light to illuminate the road for miles ahead. He promises a LAMP TO OUR FEET which is just ENOUGH LIGHT FOR THE NEXT STEP.
If we set our minds on seeing the WHOLE PICTURE, we are likely to overlook the NEXT SMALL DETAIL OF DIRECTION that God is trying to give us. We look for an elaborate road map when GOD SIMPLY WANTS TO TELL US WHICH TURN TO TAKE NEXT.
God knows that it MAY NOT BE BEST FOR US TO SEE- TOO FAR, DOWN THE HIGHWAY OF OUR LIVES.
If He showed us the WHOLE PLAN AT THE START, WE MIGHT DECIDE THAT WE DO NOT WANT TO FOLLOW IT.
The children of Israel were led through the wilderness on this DAY-BY-DAY BASIS. They followed God’s guiding cloud wherever it went. When it moved, they moved. When it stopped, they set up camp. If it remained one day, they stayed one day. If it remained a year, they stayed a year. But then when it lifted, they broke camp and followed.74
They never knew for sure where it was taking them, but they trusted their faithful Shepherd to lead them and He brought them safely to their promised land.
This is the way God led the Apostle Paul as well. The day he met Christ, he asked, “What shall I do, Lord?” And the answer came back, “Arise and go to Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.”75
So he obeyed that command and TOOK THAT ONE STEP to Damascus. Paul took the next step in God’s plan without any specific knowledge of where it would lead him. AFTER TAKING THAT ONE STEP, THE DETAILS CAME ONE STEP AT A TIME.
Whenever Paul needed DIRECTION, God was right there to provide it and God was never late in telling him what to do and where to go next.
DIRECT MY STEPS BY YOUR WORD
The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.
The simple believes everything and so he is easily misled but the prudent man CONSIDERS WELL EVERY STEP HE TAKES whether it is AGREEABLE OR CONTRARY TO GOD.
In making our decisions we should make sure that our feet with its every step are DIRECTED BY HIS WORDS and we are not misled by the LIGHT that SEEMS TO BE EVERYWHERE.
Many today want to direct their steps by something else, anything else other than the Word of God.
– Direct my steps by my feelings and opinions.
– Direct my steps by my family and friends.
– Direct my steps by pressure and comfort.
– Direct my steps by my poverty and money.
Are you directed by any of those mentioned above? Are you the type who compartmentalizes God? By it meaning that you turn to Him but you also turn to your OTHER gods in some areas of your life? Do you seek your LIGHT from other sources aside from the Word of God when you make your decisions?
Like when you do business do you consult gods of fortune because you believe more on what they say than on what the Bible says?
Or do you uphold your value judgments and practical opinion more than the word of God and you allow them to direct your steps?
Saying Jesus is our Lord means that we are allowing Him to take charge of ALL aspects of our lives. For if He is not the Lord of everything in us, then He is not our Lord at all.
The Word of God is our SIGNAL LAMP.
The principal value of a lamp is that IT SHOWS US THE WAY – either we should STOP, GO OR WAIT. It directs the traveler to a STARTING-POINT.
In my case, if I will allow my MIND to continue speculating about my future’s uncertainty I would be immobilized because of fear. But not so, if I have the Word of God to DIRECT MY STEPS and SIGNAL ME TO MY STARTING POINT. I HAVE THE CONFIDENCE TO START NOW BECAUSE OF THE CONFIDENCE THAT I HAVE IN HIS WORD.
God knows our future, in fact He is the only one who knows it. We can entrust our future to Him because He already knows what is going to happen and He does not ask us to go where He has not provided the means to help.
Ps 119:125 Msg Bible
I’m your servant – help me understand what that means, the inner meaning of your instructions.
As we go out into the darkness, we should always pray that the TRUE MEANING of God’s Word will be revealed to us so that we will always know our way.
The lamp is for the FEET. It is not for the head to fill you with all kinds of non-sense and curious thoughts.
As it is a light for the feet, we must HOLD IT LOW, down on our path so that we will see where we are going.
The Word of God is our SAFETY LAMP.
Many times we don’t know if our feet will step on good or dangerous ground but God’s word will be a lamp to our feet. It will always warn us when danger is near and will show us the way out of it.
I remember when we went to Phnom Penh last year to start our first foreign mission –we have nothing else but God’s word. We don’t know people, places nor can we speak their language. I recall one scene in the hotel lobby where my companions were in an animated discussion for they realized that their rhemas all spoke of the SAME THING. God UNITED us and HELD US TO SAFETY with His Word in Cambodia. You can very well say that there is safety in numbers but more so -there is SAFETY IN THE REVEALED WORD OF GOD.
As we walk in an unknown path, the word of God is our safety lamp. It will show OUR FEET where to STEP, the NEXT FEW STEPS TO TAKE and THE PATH WE SHOULD REMAIN UPON.
Ps. 119 49-50
Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my trouble.
This is what sets us apart. Believers who continue to focus on God’s promises will see their way out of trouble. They know that only by remembering His promises can they be PUT TOGETHER AGAIN and remain on course.
But this is not so for THOSE WHO PROCEED WITHOUT HIS WORD. They will easily perish in the dark or perish in the multitude of lights around them because they don’t have the word of God to steady their steps.
In times of trouble, we should PLEAD HIS PROMISES BACK TO HIM IN PRAYER for His Words are our COMFORT and COUNSELLOR – a lamp to our own feet and a light to our path.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN the LAMP AND LIGHT
At this point it is important to differentiate between LAMP and LIGHT. Is there a difference between the two? My answer is yes.
It is the LAMP that produces LIGHT. It is the source of the light, a concrete location from which the light originates.
Proverbs 6:23 AMP
“For their commandment is a lamp, and the teaching (of the law) a light, and the reproofs (rebukes) for discipline are the way of life…”
In the verse, the LAMP AND THE LIGHT are DIFFERENT things. The lamp is needed to hold the light as the commandment is needed to bring the teaching to us.
In reading the Bible, let us always endeavor to seek the LIGHT FROM THE LAMP or the UNDERSTANDING FROM THE WORD.
And the only way that we can have UNDERSTANDING is if we LET THE TEACHING OF THE SPIRIT ACCOMPANY THE WORD.
For this quarter where our emphasis is on Essential Christ we should not be content to JUST READ THE WORD or STOP after getting the word but we must ALWAYS strive to OBTAIN UNDERSTANDING from THE WORD. In making important decisions, both WORD and UNDERSTANDING should direct our every step.
WHY WE CAN’T SEE BEHIND THE MEANING OF THE WORD OF GOD? WHAT IS CAUSING THE BLINDNESS?
In this case, it is DIVIDED LOYALTY.
I hate those with divided loyalties, but I love your instructions.
There are many things than can obscure the LIGHT FROM THE LAMP or our understanding of His Word but I will just focus on one answer based on my personal experience.
Our THOUGHTS are DIVIDED if we BOTH have GODLY AND UNGODLY THOUGHTS AT THE SAME TIME or if we FILL OUR MINDS MORE with MORTAL THOUGHTS than GODLY ONES.
Instead of magnifying GOD’S HOLY THOUGHTS AND WAYS sometimes we put God on one side and CASUALLY turn MORE OF OUR ATTENTION to WORTHLESS THINGS. WORTHLESS because they distract us from things that are truly worthy and yet we allow them to INNOCENTLY OCCUPY not only our eyes and time but our hearts and minds as well.
NLT uses DIVIDED LOYALTY while other versions use DOUBLE-MINDED PEOPLE. King James uses VAIN THOUGHTS. And Msg. Bible uses CASUAL IDOLATRY, Not giving TOTAL allegiance to God means divided, double minded, 2 faced, 50/50 –and definitely not pursuing God single -mindedly.
The months of November and December 2017 were crazy busy for me. It was not only my body that indulged in TOO MUCH food during the holidays but MY MIND INDULGED in TOO MANY THOUGHTS as well.
The light from His lamp cannot shine because I was extremely BUSY. I was dazzled by the many displays of lights during the holidays that I failed to see the illumination coming from His lamp that was sitting in a dark room. .
Loyalty to God is ours to give WHOLLY, it is not for us to DIVIDE. We must be careful not to divert our eyes towards the toys and trinkets of the world, for if so, then we cannot be able to break open His word and see its meaning.
A Bible scholar said this: The WORD OF GOD is only so to a man whose EYES ARE OPENED and ENLIGHTENED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD.
It follows then that having the lamp will not necessarily give us the light that’s why we should always stay focused on His holy thoughts and to pray for understanding.
There are many different ways to walk but as Christians WE SHOULD WALK IN THE LIGHT- in THE LIGHT OF the UNDERSTANDING coming from His WORD.
After getting the Word and the understanding from the Word we finally entered into a formal agreement with our partners. One thing about making this particular decision was I removed my human choice and let His word made the decision for us.
In making major decisions, remember this- never fail to SEEK FOR HIS WORD AND ASK FOR UNDERSTANDING. Don’t proceed without the WORD and the UNDERSTANDING from His Word. Let nothing or no one obscure the light from the lamp. Once you have both the Word and the UNDERSTANDING from His Word DON’T SWERVE an inch FROM GOD’S COURSE. Keep to the course He set.
Many turn the lamp skywards, backwards, the right or left side. But the Bible says that you hold the lamp down on your path. Let the lamp bear light on the path you are to take. Let it light up the steps AHEAD of you, ONE STEP AT A TIME.