Today’s Lent Project devotional is by Erica Claxton. She and her husband, Jon, are members of our Leadership Team.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Growing up in Virginia, I took occasional camping trips with my father. He is a man who enjoys the great outdoors and wanted to share his love of canoeing, fishing, and camping with his children. In many ways the trips would be exciting for a child anxious to explore and discover, but it never failed that by nightfall my adventurous side would cower to the darkness. As a child, I was afraid of the dark, and my night-light got me through many an evening. However, while camping, your surroundings are shrouded in darkness and your only defenses are the campfire and your flashlight. I can recall my genuine fear of the unknown and how frustrating it was to have my vision limited to just a few feet in front of me. What was out there? What did I hear? Despite these fears, when I relinquished control of the flashlight to my father, my path became clearer. You see, my father is 6’4, and when he holds a flashlight up it illuminates a much greater distance than that of an elementary aged child. His light showed me not just where to place my foot next, but the direction I was to follow to be protected from hazards along the way.
In a similar way, Psalm 119:105 states, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. The footnote in my Bible expands: “God’s Word provides illumination to walk without stumbling.” And in the sense of my camping story, it keeps you from tumbling over the thick root jetting up from the ground. While reading today’s passages, I found it is easy to forget how impactful this passage is after growing up singing songs and making skits about it. In this dark world, God has provided us with His infallible word as a tool to guide our lives. He’s granted us the ultimate light source to maneuver around stumbling blocks, offer us direction, and grant us safety.
Despite our best efforts, if we are not living by the word of God, then we remain in darkness because we ourselves cannot generate light. Likewise, having the scriptures and understanding the scriptures are not synonymous. The fact that I keep my Bible beside my bed and am reminded of it every time I go to sleep isn’t going to help me extract its knowledge. It would be like carrying a flashlight with the batteries in your pocket. You have the tools, but are choosing not to utilize them.
If you’re anything like me, you are a weary traveler with bumps and bruises. You were overconfident in your abilities and though you’ve done your best, without God you’re lost wandering in the woods. During this Lenten season, stop trying to lead the charge. Make room in your life to not just read but meditate on His word. Savor the knowledge, and implement it in your life. Allow God to graciously illuminate your path and guide your decisions.
“Thus is our passage in a dark and perilous way irradiated by the lamp and light of the word. But except the lamp be lighted – except the teaching of the Spirit accompany the word, all is darkness – thick darkness. Let us not be content to read the word without obtaining some light from it in our understanding – in our experience – in our providential path.” Exposition of Psalms 119 by Charles Bridges