Safe Steps in Dark Places – Psalm 119:105-112

For the past two years we have had a new and different infestation at our house (I did not say IN the house!).  No, not stink bugs; I guess we’ve all accepted that having a few of them is going to be the new normal. In a way, our new problem is even just a bit more gross!  I never saw one of these things before last year, and I suppose it is due to the damp conditions we have had compared to many other summers. Of course, I am speaking of the Limax Maximus (did I tease you enough? If you don’t know enough Latin to know what that is, you can look at the picture below the Scripture today.)

These things come out at night. And though they mainly hang out on the sides of the house, they sometimes cross the sidewalk. And since they move at a speed of about three feet per hour, it is not like they are able to get out of the road if you are walking toward them.

I’m sure you can all imagine how Diana is totally grossed out by these slimy things! So, whenever she comes home after dark, she uses a flashlight app on her iPhone to light every exact step she is going to take. And honestly, stepping on a four-inch version of one of these creatures – though rare – is not dissimilar to stepping in dog … ah … stuff … and tracking it into the house.

The application to our passage today is immediately evident when you read the opening verse 105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Imagine yourself living in the ancient world when this was written. There are no street lights at night. The darkness is probably beyond our experiences, apart from something like camping in a remote portion of northern Canada. Anyone who journeyed outside would have to carry a lamp sufficient to light the immediate steps ahead.

But the second phrase uses a different word – one that speaks of a bright luminary – something sufficient to light not just the steps, but also the visible path ahead. That word for a pathway or road (which is the Hebrew root for the boy’s name “Derek”) was one used not only in the literal sense of a path upon which to walk, but also of a proper way of going – the appropriate course to follow (as when Jesus said “there is a way that seems right to a man but whose path leads to destruction”).

Surely as TSF people, you can now see why we immediately jumped on this verse for our series we had decided to call “Pathways” – describing our way of going forward as a church. God’s Word is critical to success! It is true for individuals; it is true for the church. Without God’s Word, we do not have vision for safe immediate steps, nor capacity to have dangerous pitfalls enlightened. As well, we are dependent upon the Scriptures to have a vision for the pathway that we follow into the horizon. It cannot merely be something that is modern, cool, hip or current-culture market sensitive; it has to be grounded in eternal truth and realities. It cannot be something that merely appeals to our tastes, it must be grounded in truth and vital connection to God.

We are dependent upon the Scriptures for everything, so they must be taught and understood – no matter how hard that is to do, or whether it is culturally popular. Otherwise, we end up corporately stepping on slugs and tracking slug guts into the church – you get the picture and its application!

Psalm 119:105-112

נ Nun (This is the Hebrew letter equivalent to “N” … as this is an acrostic psalm/poem that is built section by section on the Hebrew alphabet.)

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.