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Psalm 119:105

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet. We are walkers through the city of this world, and we are often called to go out into its darkness; let us never venture there without the light giving word, lest we slip with our feet. Each man should use the word of God personally, practically, and habitually, that he may see his way and see what lies in it. When darkness settles down upon all around me, the word of the Lord, like a flaming torch, reveals my way. Having no fixed lamps in eastern towns, in old time each passenger carried a lantern with him that he might not fall into the open sewer, or stumble over the heaps of ordure which defiled the road. This is a true picture of our path through this dark world: we should not know the way, or how to walk in it, if Scripture, like a blazing flambeau, did not reveal it. One of the most practical benefits of Holy Writ is guidance in the acts of daily life: it is not sent to astound us with its brilliance, but to guide us by its instruction. It is true the head needs illumination, but even more the feet need direction, else head and feet may both fall into a ditch. Happy is the man who personally appropriates God's word, and practically uses it as his comfort and counsellor, -- a lamp to his own feet.

And a light unto my path. It is a lamp by night, a light by day, and a delight at all times. David guided his own steps by it, and also saw the difficulties of his road by its beams. He who walks in darkness is sure, sooner or later, to stumble; while he who walks by the light of day, or by the lamp of night, stumbleth not, but keeps his uprightness. Ignorance is painful upon practical subjects; it breeds indecision and suspense, and these are uncomfortable: the word of God, by imparting heavenly knowledge, leads to decision, and when that is followed by determined resolution, as in this case, it brings with it great restfulness of heart.

This verse converses with God in adoring and yet familiar tones. Have we not something of like tenor to address to our heavenly Father?

Note how like this verse is to the first verse of the first octave, and the first of the second and other octaves. The seconds also are often in unison.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 105. -- Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light, etc. David was a man of very good wit and natural understanding; but he gives to God the glory of his wisdom, and owns that his best light was but darkness when he was not lightened and ruled by the word of God. Oh that we would consider this, that in all our ways wherein the word of God shines not unto us to direct us, we do but walk in darkness, and our ways without it can lead us to none other end but utter darkness. If we hearken not to the word of God, if we walk not by the rule thereof, how is it possible we can come to the face of God? -- William Cowper.

Verse 105. -- Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. The use of a lamp is by night, while the light of the sun shineth by day. Whether it be day or night with us, we clearly understand our duty by the Word of God. The night signifieth adversity, and the day prosperity. Hence we may learn how to behave ourselves in all conditions. The word "path" notes our general choice and course of life; the word "feet" our particular actions. Now whether the matter, wherein we would be informed, concerneth our choice of the way that leadeth to true happiness, or our dexterous prosecution of the way, still the word of God will direct a humble and well disposed mind. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 105. -- Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, etc. Basil the Great, interpreting the "word" as God's will revealed in Holy Scripture, observes that the Old Testament, and in especial the Law, was only a lantern (lamp or candle) because an artificial light, imperfectly illumining the darkness, whereas the Gospel, given by the Lord Jesus himself, is a light of the Sun of Righteousness, giving brightness to all things. Ambrose, going yet deeper, tells us that Christ is himself both lamp and light. He, the Word of God, is a great light to some, to others he is a lamp. To me he is a lamp; to angels a light. He was a light to Peter, when the angel stood by him in the prison, and the light shined about him. He was a light to Paul when the light from heaven shined round about him, and he heard Christ saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" And Christ is truly a lamp to me when I speak of him with my mouth. He shineth in clay, he shineth in a potter's vessel: he is that treasure which we bear in earthen vessels. --Neale and Littledale.

Verse 105. -- Thy word is a lamp...and a light. Except the "lamp" be lighted -- except the teaching of the Spirit accompany the word -- all is "darkness, gross darkness" still. Did we more habitually malt to receive, and watch to improve, the light of the word, we should not so often complain of the perplexity of our path. --Charles Bridges.

Verse 105. -- Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, etc. What we all want, is not to see wonders that daze us, and to be rapt in ecstatic visions and splendours, but a little light on the dark and troubled path we have to tread, a lamp that will burn steadfastly and helpfully over the work we have to do. The stars are infinitely more sublime, meteors infinitely more superb and dazzling; but the lamp shining in a dark place is infinitely closer to our practical needs. --From "The Expositor", 1864.

Verse 105. -- Thy word is a lamp unto my feet. Going two miles into a neighbourhood where very few could read, to spend an evening in reading to a company who were assembled to listen, and about to return by a narrow path through the woods, where paths diverged, I was provided with a torch of light wood, or "pitch pine." I objected; it was too small, weighing not over half a pound. "It will light you home", answered my host. I said, "The wind may blow it out." He said, "It will light you home." "But if it should rain?" I again objected. "It will light you home," he insisted.

Contrary to my fears, it gave abundant light to my path all the way home, furnishing an apt illustration, I often think, of the way in which doubting hearts would be led safely along the "narrow way." If they would take the Bible as their guide, it would be a lamp to their feet, leading to the heavenly home. One man had five objections to the Bible. If he would take it as a lamp to his feet, it would "light him home." Another told me he had two faults to find with the Bible. I answered him in the words of my good friend who furnished the torch, "It will light you home." --From "The American Messenger," 1881.

Verse 105. -- A lamp unto my feet, etc. All depends on our way of using the lamp. A man tells that when a boy he was proud to carry the lantern for his Sabbath school teacher. The way to their school led through unlit, muddy streets. The boy held the lantern far too high, and both sank in the deep mud. "Ah! you must hold the lamp lower," the teacher exclaimed, as they gained a firm footing on the farther side of the slough. The teacher then beautifully explained our text, and the man declares that he never forgot the lesson of that night. You may easily hold the lamp too high; but you can hardly hold it too low. -- James Wells, in "Bible Images," 1882.

Verse 105. -- Light.

Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom Lead thou me on. The night is dark, and I am far from home, Lead thou me on. Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see The distant scene; one step enough for me. --John Henry Newman (1801).

Verse 105-106. -- A light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, etc. I have looked upon thy word as a lamp to my own feet, as a thing nearly concerning myself, and then I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. It is a mighty means to stir up a man's spirit, and quicken him to obedience, to look upon the word as written to himself, as a lamp and a light for him. When you come to hear out of God's Word, and God directs the minister so that you apprehend the truth as spoken to you, it will stir and awaken you, and you will say, "Oh me thought this day every word the minister spoke was directed to me; I must take heed thereto." And so every word in the Scripture that concerns thee God writes to thee; and if thou wilt take it so, it will be a mighty means to stir thee up to obedience. --Jeremiah Burroughs, 1599-1646.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Outlines Upon Keywords of the Psalm, By Pastor C. A. Davis.

Verses 105-112. -- The word a lamp. For guidance ( Psalms 119:105-106 ). For life in affliction ( Psalms 119:107 ). For preservation in peril of enemies ( Psalms 119:109-110 ). For joy of heart (Ps 119:111-112).

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 105-108. --

  1. Illumination ( Psalms 119:105 ).
  2. Decision ( Psalms 119:106 ).
  3. Testing: "I am afflicted" ( Psalms 119:107 ).
  4. Consecration ( Psalms 119:108 ).
  5. Education: "teach me," etc. ( Psalms 119:108 ).

Verse 105. -- The practical, personal, everyday use of the word of God.

Verse 105. -- Lamp light.

  1. The believer's dangerous night journey through the world.
  2. The lamp that illumines his path.
  3. The eternal day towards which he travels (when the lamp will be laid aside: Revelation 22:5 ). - -C.A.D.
Read Psalm 119:105