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Author:Pastor Keith Davis
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Congregation:Bethel United Reformed Church
 Calgary, Alberta
 www.bethelurc.org
 
Title:A Lamp and A Light
Text:Psalms 119:105-112 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God's Law is Good
 
Preached:2020-11-08
Added:2020-11-18
Updated:2020-11-18
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

A Lamp and a Light

Psalm 119:105-112

Preached by Rev. Keith Davis 11-8-20

 

Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ, last week we looked at verses 97-104: O How I Love your law. As we said, there were several reasons for our love. First, it’s because we love the Author! God is the author of the Word, the Law. God’s Word is His love letter to us! It is where He speaks to us and we hear His voice!

 

Second, it’s because God’s Word reveals to us, it shows us the nature and character of the God we love and serve. It is from God’s Word – and His relationship with His people down through the generations – that we see His tender-mercies, His grace, His goodness; His longsuffering, His faithfulness, and His lovingkindness – we see that He is always faithful to His people and always True to His Word and always keeps His promises!

 

And we see how all of that that rings so true in our own lives – as we ourselves can testify of our own personal experience of God’s saving grace and tender mercies -- and we can see how God is truly the same yesterday, today and forever!

 

All of that – and so much more besides – forms the basis for why the Psalmist, and we ourselves, proclaim and confess “O how I love your law!”

 

Now, as we move to the next section of verses (105-112), I want us to see that there is a connection, a definite relationship between these two sections. In the previous verses he professed his LOVE for the Word, but now he is expressing his purpose, his heartfelt desire, his sincere intention to live out that profession each and very day! To live and walk in the light of God’s truth.  

 

And so we’re going to consider what it means that God’s Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.

1. The Declaration  

2. The Determination

3. The Delight

1. The Declaration:

Your Word is a Lamp unto my Feet and a Light unto my path. This verse says so much -- we can spend our entire sermon on this verse alone. But I just want to hit a few highlights here. I want to begin by showing you that this metaphor, this language about God’s Word as a light is used in passages throughout the Bible:  

 

Psalm 43: 3 says: Send me your light and your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.

 

Then King Solomon, David’s own son, spoke of this same illuminating power and quality of God’s Word: Proverbs 6: 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of instruction/discipline are the way of life...

 

1 John 2: 10-11 says this: Anyone who loves their brother and sister[a] lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

 

Finally, listen to the testimony of Jesus from John 12:35 Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.

 

Based on those verses, I want to make a few observations. To start off, I want to ask the boys and girls a couple of questions: Do you boys and girls have a night-light in your bedroom? Or in your bathroom perhaps? Why? Why do we need a night-light? It’s because at night the house (our room) becomes very dark – especially if you live out in the country -- on an acreage.

 

We need a night-light because when we have to get up at night to get a drink of water or use the bathroom, we want to see where we’re going. Other wise we may walk into a wall, or trip over our shoes, or stub our toe on the dresser. The night light shines in the darkness; it lights the way.

 

Several years ago, Laura’s mother stayed at our home for a week or so, and it was her first time visiting us so she did not know the layout of the home. We have a family room on the main floor that is a step down family room. The hallway that connects the kitchen with the bedroom and the bathroom is all on one level, but to go into the family room there’s just about an 8 inch step down.

 

Well I think it was the first night, mom went to bed in the bedroom right next to the family room. At some point she got up to go get her book that she had left on the piano in the family room. But it was dark. And when we’re in the darkness we can’t see the danger. Sure enough mom stepped from the main hallway into the family room and she fell down because she did not see the step.            

 

Thankfully, she was not seriously injured, but that’s a very simple and yet profound way to illustrate the purpose and power of the Word of God. God’s Word is a lamp, it’s a light that shines in the darkness. It lights up the path before us. It guides our feet, showing us not only the right way to go – but it also exposes the hazards, the potential stumbling blocks along the way.

 

For us who live in this world – we need that light because this world has fallen under the curse of sin. We live in the shadow and the darkness of sin and evil. The darkness of sin has blinded our eyes; it is made our minds foolish -- so that we deny the knowledge of God that is clearly displayed. It has made our heart deceitful above all things – so that we desire evil things and not good things.  

 

Think of it this way – the sun may be the brightest and most powerful light shining in the entire universe – yet as bright as the sun may be, a blind man cannot see it. A blind man gropes about in the darkness each day. And that is an accurate picture of mankind lost in his sin. Sin has cut us off from the presence of God. It has separated us from the love and knowledge of God.  

 

And we can’t find our way back. In fact, we suffer what could best be described as a double-darkness. Not only are we unable to see the right way to go – the path to lead us back to God, but even if we could see it, we’re incapable and unwillingly to follow that path. We’re cursed to stumble about in the darkness.  

 

So what do we need? We need the light. We need the lamp. And that leads us to see the second implication of this declaration: The Light that man needs to save him from the darkness must come from God. And this Light is not only revealed in God’s Word, but this Light is the Word – the Word of God incarnate.  

 

John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Later in John 8: 12 Jesus revealed himself as the light: I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life

 

And so it is God who in His grace and mercy and love has opened the way back to Himself – back to fellowship and union and communion with Him. And that way is Jesus Christ, God’s Son. John 14:6 I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

So when we read this declaration in Psalm 119: 104 Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path, we’re declaring that God has provided the Light – the only Light that this dark world needs. The Light of God came into this world, and by His suffering and death on the cross, He overcame the power of sin and rescued us from the power of darkness; He made the way clear for us --  so that all that we have to do to be saved is to put out trust and hope and faith in Him!

 

So boys and girls, Jesus is our Light. Jesus is our Lamp who shines the way for us to go. Just like Israel followed the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night all the way through the wilderness, and all the way home to the promised land of Canaan, so too we follow Christ, we trust Him to lead us and guide us all the way to our eternal home!

 

So this prompts some personal questions. First of all, have you seen the Light? I know we sometimes joke about that phrase/we poke fun of that phrase – but it’s a serious question. And what it means is this: Do you confess that Jesus Christ is your Savior and your Lord. That he has saved you from the darkness of your sin and set you free to live in the Light of His Word?

 

Second question: Are you walking in the light? Paul addresses this in Ephesians 5: 8-9 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth). If we love Jesus Christ, if we are truly grateful for the salvation we have received, we will live and walk in the Light.

 

2. His Determination

Secondly, we consider his determination to follow. Verse 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.

 

I want you to think for a moment of the oath, the vows that are taken by a bride and a groom on their wedding day: They promise to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, from this day forward – and then notice the terms, the conditions: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.

 

The bride and groom swear on oath before God and man to determine to love each other, and to never stop loving each other, come what may – because that’s what true love is; that’s what true love does; true love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

Now, let’s think of this oath in verse 106 in the same way. The Psalmist is determined to follow the ways of God, to walk in the Light, to neither wander or waiver to the left or to the right – no matter what. And the verses which follow show us the strength of his determination. The path that he must walk (which is true of our lives) is not an easy pathway.

 

It is a pathway of suffering. It is a pathway of danger. The truth is the darkness hates the light. This dark world hates the light of God. It rejects the Light. We saw that in the life of Jesus – He was the light of men, the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. That rejection was intensified on the cross – when for three hours, the Son of God, the Light of the World, was forsaken by God and made to suffer alone in outer darkness.

 

It was a thick black darkness that fell upon the whole world; it was a darkness that represented the wrath of God against all of our sin and guilt. It was a darkness that, thanks be to Jesus Christ, none of us who believe in Jesus will ever know or experience. The Light suffered in the Darkness. He died in the darkness, and his dead body was laid in the cold dark tomb all for the sake of our salvation. But on the third day Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, rose in glorious splendor from the dead – a victor over the dark domain.

 

Jesus lives next to die again! And I love the way the New Jerusalem is described in Revelation 22:3-5 3 No longer will there be any curse (the darkness of sin and Satan has been vanquished!). The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever!   

 

And all those who believe in Jesus Christ are now abide in the Light as He is in the Light. And it is the risen Christ that gives us the power, the strength, the hope to live in this dark world and to persevere in the face of all suffering and to avoid the snares and temptations of the evil one – or at the very least not to remain ensnared.  

 

There’s one other thing I want us to see as it relates to this determination to follow God’s righteous laws. It is a determination to not just be a hearer of the Word, but a doer of the Word! This was one of the main complaints that Jesus made against the Pharisees and the teacher of the law in His day. Those men were zealous for the law. They know the law of God. They had memorized God’s law. They were experts in the law.

 

But time and time again Jesus exposed the fact that they did not truly keep the law. They were legalists who observed the letter of the law, but they ignored the spirit of the law. They created loopholes for the law where a son would not have to honor his parents by support them financially, if he had decided to give his gifts to the treasury in the temple – as if that was more honorable. 

 

And, they loved the outward displays of righteousness, to show everyone how holy they were, but they neglected the main duties of the law: to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly before the Lord. As Jesus said in one passage: they strained a gnat but swallowed a camel.

 

James 1:22-23 says: Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.   

 

Are we those who simply hear the Word of God preached each Sunday and walk away unchanged, without conviction, without conversion – thinking that we’ve already done enough just by coming to church? Or are we asking God’s Holy Spirit to give us ears that we may hear, and hearts that we may love, and a will that we may want to submit – and thus be DOERS of the Word?!  

 

3. The Delight

Verses 111-112.

Your statutes are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.

 

What’s he saying here? He’s saying “Lord, my deepest joy is in what You have promised me in Your Word, that is my inheritance.”

 

I know that as we grow older we’re to look to the future. We’re to plan for the future. There are retirement calculators that can supposedly help us figure out how much we need to set aside/invest/in order to live comfortably in our retirement years.

 

But the best retirement plan anyone can invest in is the kingdom of God and the rich promises of God’s Word – of the Gospel – that is we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved; we shall have the gift of everlasting life!

 

That is the greatest gift of all – that is the lasting heritage that no one can we seek (that as 1 Peter 1:3-4!!0 That is all the hope we need in this world and the next.  

 

At the end of life, we don’t want to have everything but Christ. We would rather have nothing but Christ. To have everything but Christ would be a tragedy. But to have nothing but Christ – that would be a great Victory!  Hallelujah, Christ is all I have!!

 

The last words of verse 112 remind me of the beautiful words of Paul. “I have fought the good fight. I’ve finished the race. I’ve kept the faith.” It means that he persevered to the end. And that is what we want to do. We aspire to finish the race; to remain faithful; to honor God and follow Christ and live our lives in such a way that we show our gratitude to God for the gift of salvation – we do that in a simple way. We do that by our child-like obedience to His perfect law. Amen.

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Pastor Keith Davis, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


Service of Praise & Profession

  

* Call to Worship

 

* Declaration of our Dependence upon God  

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

* God’s Greeting

 

* Song of Praise:  “Jehovah is My Light”                                                      # 27 B: 1-3,5

 

* Profession of Faith - Apostles’ Creed - p. 851 TPH

 

* Gloria Patri:  “Glory Be to the Father”                                                                   # 571

 

   Congregational Prayer

 

* Song of Preparation:  “O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright                           # 209: 1-4

 

Service of God’s Holy Word

 

   Scripture Reading:  Psalm 119: 105 -112

 

   Sermon:  “A Lamp and a Light”

 

   Prayer of Application

 

* Song of Response:  “Your Word Sheds Light upon My Path”                                                                # 119 N

 

* Benediction           

                                                    

* Doxology:  “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise”                                     # 160

 

“Savior, again to thy dear name we raise with one accord our parting hymn of praise.  We stand to bless thee ere our worship cease, and now, departing, wait thy word of peace”.

 

“Grant us thy peace upon our homeward way; with thee began, with thee shall end the day; guard thou the lips from sin, the hearts from shame, that in this house have called upon thy name”.




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Pastor Keith Davis, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
The source for this sermon was: http://www.bethelurc.com/?sermonPage

(c) Copyright 2020, Pastor Keith Davis

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