Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
I have sworn and confirmed that
I will keep Your righteous judgments.
I am afflicted very much;
Revive me, O LORD,
according to Your word.
Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings
of my mouth, O LORD,
And teach me Your judgments.
My life is continually in my hand,
Yet I do not forget Your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
Yet I have not strayed
from Your precepts.
Your testimonies I have taken
as a heritage forever,
For they are the rejoicing of my heart.
I have inclined my heart
to perform Your statutes,
Forever, to the end.
I remember fondly the night I asked my wife to marry me. The setting I had chosen was a scenic glen with trails which led back to a beautiful waterfall, and my intention was to complement her beauty while in such a splendid place. The only problem with my plan was that I had failed to anticipate the early onset of winter darkness which would make navigating the trail treacherous at best. Of course, the simple solution would have been to take along a light by which to illuminate the path, but the anticipation of her affirmative response clouded my thinking, and I forgot. As a result, we walked by moonlight as far as we could until the shadows blocked our path completely and we feared to go any further. I did not propose to her in an idyllic scene alongside a stunning waterfall, but in a cold snowbank in the very dim moonlight.
At some point, each of us has probably been in a similar situation, out in some dark place, unable to see the obstacles in our path, and even finding it difficult to see the boundaries of the trail in front of us. In this stanza of Psalm 119, we find that God’s word is the solution to our need. No, it will not help you find your way through the woods on a dark night, but it will illuminate the way that you should go in life, showing you both the obstacles which will cause you to fall and keeping you on the right path. The Psalmist had committed himself to keeping God’s law, knowing that his faithful obedience would protect him from falling down or wandering from the righteous way. Even in affliction, he kept his gaze steady on the Lord, offering the praise of his lips as a sacrifice to the God who gave him life. Holding his life constantly in his hand means that he was always in danger of losing it, yet his focus was not on keeping his life but on keeping God’s law. Though his enemies set traps along his path, he trusted God’s word to lead him in safety and reveal the dangers ahead.
No matter where the way leads, the Scriptures light the path before us until the end, not simply of our lives but the end of the trail. With joy in our hearts and confidence in our steps, we can follow the path of righteousness without stumbling or straying, not because of the great wisdom which we have obtained in this world, but because of the wisdom which God has promised in His word. Would you like to succeed in this life until you finish your course? Allow the Scriptures to light the path beneath your feet, choosing God’s wisdom instead of man’s.