The Next Step

I first came across Psalm 119: 105 through a song recorded by Amy Grant back in 1984.

Some of the lyrics I remember are:

When I feel afraid Think I've lost my way Still, you're there right beside me And nothing will I fear As long as you are near Please be near me to the end

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path

Songwriters: Amy Lee Grant / Michael Whitaker Smith

© 1984 Curb Word Music (Admin. by CopyCare Pacific Pty. Ltd.)

Meadowgreen Music Company

With 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm in the Bible. Commonly known as the ‘Everest of the Psalter’, it is roughly the same length as the book of Philippians.

It is a celebration of God’s commands. Beautifully constructed around the Hebrew alphabet, we are reminded of the countless blessings that flow into our lives when His Word and our hearts combine. God’s law brings comfort (v 52), wisdom (v 98), understanding (v 30) and joy (v 111).

About two-thirds of the way through, the psalmist seems to pause for a moment, and then utters the words that have become known as verse 105: ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path’.

I imagine a traveller passing through a thick, dark forest in the middle of the night. With one hand she grips the lapels of her coat tightly against her chin to shield her from the cold, and with the other hand, she holds a lantern.

The warm glow of light emitted from the lamp is enough to see what is directly in front of her and to safely take the next step, but she can see no further. She only knows the direction, the path she must go and where to place her feet right now.

I have sometimes found myself praying, ‘Lord, could you give me the next five years in detail?’ I want to know how things are going to work out, whether the work I am putting in is going to be worth it. But when I read this verse, I think God is reminding me that He is faithful to grant me enough light for just the next step. And that is sufficient for now.

The idea of going on a journey or walking along a path is a recurrent theme in this psalm. The author deeply desires to avoid the wrong path, but he finds delight (v 35) and freedom to live a pure life on the right path centred on God’s Word.

Our path through life may sometimes feel like we are walking through a cold, dark and confusing forest but God’s Spirit is in us and His Word never leaves us. As we learn to trust the warm glow of his commands and decrees, responding with simple baby steps, one after the other, we eventually find the clearing and the light of day.

And along the way, we can celebrate His Word with a simple song in our hearts: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Are you ready to take the next step?

The best is Yet to Come. God bless - Terry

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