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Your Word Is a Lamp and a Light_ God Is Light (8)

Manmin News   No. 621
December 16, 2018

Dr. Jaerock Lee, Senior Pastor of Manmin Central Church

"I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Your precepts Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:110, 105).

"When you observe God's precepts, you can clearly see your path through understanding you get from God. Then, you will never be lost and can even find the shortcut."

Even if you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you do not have to fear nor worry. If God who is Light becomes a lamp to your feet and a light to your path, you may not have any obstacles or any difficulty in life.

How, then, can we be saved from all kinds of tests and trials and guided to life and peace? When you observe God's precepts, you can clearly see your path through the understanding you get from God. Then you will never be lost and can even find the shortcuts. You can glorify God greatly.

1. The Word of God Is a Lamp and a Light in Your Life

Psalm 119:100 says, "I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Your precepts." 'Understanding' spiritually means 'getting a view of one's path.' Thus, the verse implies one who has observed God's precepts can get a view of his/her path and understand things better than the aged.

Why are the aged mentioned here? The aged do not simply refer to people who are old, but to wise people who can discern things properly based on wide life experiences and wisdom. Those who have good understanding due to their wide experiences over time are likened to the aged.

If you are presented the path of understanding by such experienced people, you may have the opportunity to lead a better life. But if you rely on God who is the source of the wisdom, how much better life might you be able to live!

Since God is almighty, He foreknows everything and has let the beginning and end of human history be recorded in the Bible. So, when we rely on God and observe His precepts, we can go the path that is more certain and firmer than any path of the world. The path will never fall short nor wonder to the right or left.

Thus, the path to making your life valuable is in having the precepts of God as a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.

2. To Have the Word of God as a Lamp to Your Feet and a Light to Your Path

First, you must restrain your feet from every evil way.

Psalm 119:101 reads, "I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word."

The reason you must restrain your feet is that feet are the body parts that put your decision concerning where to go into practice. So, 'feet' spiritually symbolize overall processes of human life including the passing of time and what people pursue in life. Thus, 'to restrain your feet from evil way' means you do not do evil, nor take part in anything evil, but only do something good throughout your life.

King Uzziah, the 9th king of Judah, succeeded to the throne at the age of sixteen. He ruled the kingdom wisely during the early years of his reign and made his nation prosperous. By humbly relying on God, he expanded its territory and other nations paid tributes to him. It was the most prosperous time after the reign of King Solomon.

However, he became arrogant though it was by the grace of God that the nation became strong, and finally he went the way of evil. He did something that over-extended his authority by doing what only priests were allowed to do (2 Chronicles 26:16). This incident enraged God and His fury came upon him and leprosy broke out. He had to live in a separate house until he died. Even after he died, he was not buried in the tomb of the kings.

Unlike Uzziah, Joseph did not go the way of evil. He only took the right path before God. Even though he was falsely accused and imprisoned, his afflictions turned into blessings. He interpreted the dream of the Pharaoh by the wisdom from God and became the second-in-command ruler of Egypt. When we also restrain every evil way and live by the Word of the Lord, we will receive the wisdom and understanding from above and be led to prosperity in every matter.

In other words, to cast off evil is the first thing we must do to observe the precepts of God, and that is also the way to gain better understanding than that of the aged. Therefore, I hope you will remove every form of evil from your heart and humbly rely on God.

Second, you must not turn aside from the God's ordinances.

Psalm 119:102 reads, "I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, for You Yourself have taught me."

The ordinances refer to God's commandments such as the rules and the law that were given to the Israelites so that they could keep them from generation to generation (Exodus 12:17; Leviticus 16:34; 1 Chronicles 23:31). But it was not only for the Israelites but also for all those who believe God even today.

Of course, it does not mean we must conduct all the forms of worship and rites the Israelites in the Old Testament time conducted. While the Israelites did physical circumcision in the Old Testament time, people in the New Testament time have circumcised hearts. In such a sense, they can keep the law when they understand spiritual meanings of it.

Anyone can refrain from evil way as they hold fast to the ordinances of God. To the extent that people depart from the ordinances, the enemy Satan is more likely to fill their hearts with untruth and evil. But if they fill their hearts with the Word of God which is the truth, they have no time to let untruth pile up in their hearts and they can change themselves into holy and perfect people. This is the fundamental reason you need to keep the ordinances of God.

King Ahab of Northern Kingdom of Israel was more wicked than any other king before him. He infuriated God by worshiping idols of Gentile nations. Over the same period of time, King Jehoshaphat ruled the Southern Kingdom of Judah. He did right in the sight of God. He once joined in the war against Aram to help Ahab. Ahab disguised himself as one of the soldiers because he was afraid that the enemies would recognize him and kill him, while Jehoshaphat was still in a royal robe during the war. But it was King Ahab who was killed by the army of Aram while in the intense warfare. He was disgraced even after he died because the dogs licked up his blood just the way Elijah had prophesied. It clearly shows the example of the end of evildoers who turn aside from the ordinances of God.

Hezekiah, the king of Judah, also did right in the sight of God and relied on Him. Since God was with him, he prospered wherever he went (2 Kings 18:6-7). When his kingdom was in a danger due to the Assyrians' invasion, he prayed to God. Then it happened that night that the angel of God went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, all of them were dead (2 Kings 19:35).

In brief, if you do not turn aside from the ordinances of God, you will be given understanding to look ahead and set up methods according to it. Then, you can be guided to prosperity.

Third, you must long for the Lord's words sweeter than honey.

Psalm 119:103 states, "How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" A biblical example who longed for the Word of God like this is Daniel.

Daniel was royalty of Judah, but he was taken captive by Babylon in 605 BC when Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king invaded the kingdom of Judah. The empire of Babylon took some captives to the palace who were worthy to be trained as its harmonizing policy. Daniel was one of them. He was supposed to eat the king's choice food and wine for three years.

But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine although he was just a captive; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials. Daniel asked the commander to test him for ten days, that is, let him be given only some vegetables to eat and water to drink. It was because he was afraid that there were things that had been sacrificed to idols or meat of detestable animals which God prohibited.

The commander listened to him in this matter and tested him for ten days. At the end of ten days his appearance seemed better and he was fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king's choice food. So, the overseer continued to withhold his choice food and the wine he was to drink, and kept giving him vegetables. In this manner, Daniel kept the Word of God that leads to eternal life and considered it as sweet as honey. That is why his life was of value and his life was prosperous. He was a captive but became a commissioner of the Babylonian kingdom. Even when he was thrown into a lions' den, he was not hurt at all and glorified the living God greatly.

If you feel the Word of God sweeter than honey and consume it with longing, in other words, if you consider it more important and precious than anything else in the world, you will be able to have the Word as a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. Then, you can be saved from any kind of test and be led to life and peace.

Fourth, you must hate every false way.

Psalm 119:104 states, "From Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way." Why then will we hate every false way when we get understanding from the precepts of God?

When you observe God's rules you will be given solutions to any problem and be shown the path. Once you can discern between right and wrong, good and evil, and life and death through understanding you get, you cannot but hate evil that perverts the truth and leads to destruction.

A baby does not care when his body or clothes get stained with filth. He may just keep playing for he knows nothing. As he grows up and learns things, he learns that filth is dirty. He then tries to wash it away when he gets dirty. It is very important to distinguish the clean from the dirty and filthy.

This principle of relativity applies to the spiritual realm as well. When people do not know what sin is and how dirty and filthy it is, they do not take it seriously, though they have sin in their hearts. But once the word of the truth sheds light on their hearts and they come to realize sin, righteousness, and judgment, they will hate and stay away from sin.

Let's now delve into every false way we must hate to get understanding in the Lord.

First, the evil way refers to some words from lips such as evil words, perverse words, dishonest words, crooked words, lies, slanders, futile words, and words of resentment.

Second, it includes deception. If you deceive others and sell your product at an exorbitant price, if you say something right is wrong, or if you break your promise, it is deception of others.

Third, it also indicates the desire for reaping where you did not sow. If you want to gain more than what you did, want to make a big fortune on a single occasion, or desire to have something extremely unrealistic, all of these are the acts of ignoring the justice of God, and God hates them.

To 'hate every evil way' does not mean you must have ill feeling or burst into an anger when you see evil. 'Hating the evil way' spiritually means casting away evil, overcoming evil with goodness, and committing everything to God without seeking revenge on enemies.

Also, when you hate evil, you may hate sin, but you may not hate those who commit the sin. You may forgive them even up to seventy times seven, show mercy to them, and take care of orphans, widows, and other neglected neighbors. Such acts are the acts of hating evil. When you hate evil ways and follow only the truth, your body and soul will be safely protected, and you will enjoy prosperity in everything.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I hope the confession, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path," will be yours. I pray in the name of the Lord that you will have God as your shelter and live happy, beautiful, and successful lives in prosperity in everything.




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