Day 4: Psalm 119:105-106
Your word is a lamp for my feet
and a light on my path.
I have solemnly sworn
to keep your righteous judgments.
1. Psalm 119 is a long poetic self-examination of the person who would commit themselves to God and living a life pleasing to him. Some of it is argument, some is pithy wisdom statements, but it all lands on the beauty, authority, and endless benefit of the word of God. In the original context, this almost certainly meant the Torah, the first five books of our modern Bible. By the time of Christ is included for many Jewish people the Prophets and Writings as well, which constitute the rest of our Old Testament. As a Christian reader we know God’s word as the Scriptures that lead us to Jesus, the incarnate Word of God. The Psalmist here makes two statements: that the word is his light and lamp, and that he has solemnly sworn to keep it. Both point to the Word of God as guidance. It is not just communication but a rule for life. The word of God to the Psalmist is not just a thing to know, it is a way to live.
2. Jesus is the lamp that shows us how and where to step. He is the light that reveals the road before us. He is the Word we look to for guidance. He is the righteous judge to whom we swear allegiance.
3. Our lives are filled with questions about which way to step, how best to walk, and where to go to make the “right” choices. Psalm 119 invites us to look to the Word of God for the answers to all such questions. For many, the Scriptures are merely information and communication, but the Psalmist understood that they were far more. Paul agrees: faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Scripture is not just how we know about Jesus. The practice of reading, considering, chewing on, and reviewing Scripture is how we develop the ability to know God’s will, and so make the “right” choices. Very often we want to hear a momentary answer from God for the most pressing question on our minds at this moment. But the Psalmist understood that knowing God’s will is a long game, and it begins with a hunger for the Word of God.
4. The righteous judgments of God began long ago, continue today, and will reach their conclusion on the last day. We know that it is by the hand of Jesus, the incarnate Word, that the world will be judged (John 5:22-30, 9:39 Acts 10:42, 17:31). On that day of judgment we who have solemnly sworn allegiance to him will be found righteous. Not because of our obedience, but because of his. Scripture first guides us to the source of life, then that source of life enables us to live through the words of Scripture. The last and final righteous judgment will come and enable us to finally live in complete accord with the word of God without error.