Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105
During World War II, Waldemar Semenov was serving as a junior engineer aboard the SS Alcoa Guide when—nearly three hundred miles off the coast of North Carolina—a German submarine surfaced and opened fire on the ship. The ship was hit, caught fire, and began to sink. Semenov and his crew lowered a lifeboat into the water and used the vessel’s compass to sail toward the shipping lanes. After three days, a patrol plane spotted their lifeboat and the USS Broome rescued the men the next day. Thanks to that compass, Semenov and twenty-six other crewmembers were saved.
The psalmist reminded God’s people that they were equipped with a compass for life—the Bible. He compared Scripture to “a lamp” (Psalm 119:105) that provides light to illuminate the path of life for those pursuing God. When the psalmist was adrift in the chaotic waters of life, he knew God could use Scripture to provide spiritual longitude and latitude and help him survive. Thus, he prayed that God would send out His light to direct him in life and bring him safely to the port of His holy presence (43:3).
As believers in Jesus, when we lose our way, God can guide us by the Holy Spirit and by the direction found in the Scriptures. May God transform our hearts and minds as we read the Bible, study it, and follow its wisdom.
By Marvin Williams
How have you experienced a particular verse or passage as a compass for your life in recent days? When are you tempted not to follow the directions the compass of Scripture gives?
Jesus, thank You that when I’m tempted to drift away, the wisdom of Scripture helps bring me back.
Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem using the twenty-two successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the lines in the first stanza (vv. 1–8) begin with the first letter Aleph; verses 9–16 begin with Beth, the second letter; and so on. This pattern is used as a device for memorizing the poem.
In our reading today (vv. 105–112), every line begins with Nun. Although the psalmist is scorned and threatened for trusting in God’s precepts, he doesn’t waver but resolves to remain fully committed to knowing and obeying God’s law. In the midst of life’s difficulties and dangers, he affirms that Scripture is his security—a lamp that illuminates God’s ways and a light that provides guidance on how to respond to the dark realities of life. The writer believes that God’s statutes will renew and strengthen him (v. 107). They’re his birthright and his joy (v. 111).
K. T. Sim