Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
This morning I would like us to consider a cooking illustration. Do we view God’s word like recipe cards? They sit on a shelf or in a drawer until we want to cook a dish where we need the specific recipe. Even then, we might think we are familiar enough with the recipe so we go ahead without looking for it. I did this with one of my favorite casseroles lately – twice – and both times I forgot something.
We’ve all grown up around kitchens, so we have a familiarity with cooking. We can fry eggs; make sandwiches; use the microwave to warm up a dish; etc… Typically, the ladies who have raised families are much more knowledgeable about cooking because they’ve had to learn. They answer our questions like, ‘What temperature do I use?’ ‘Where do you keep the blender?’ ‘How do I keep it from sticking to the skillet?’
We are able to function in a kitchen because of familiarity – so long as it’s kept simple. Just don’t ask us to make a soufflé! Or gravy! Or pie crusts! This issue of familiarity can be a very serious problem in our lives as Christians. We’ve been around church and have a general sense of things to do or not do. We’ve read parts of the Bible so we have a ‘feel’ for what the Christian life should be. The problem is life is filled with ‘soufflés’. In fact, the Christian life requires us to live in the ‘cookbook’ not just hunt for a recipe card on occasion.
Today’s verse offers a nice parallel. If we have to walk in the dark, we would always have a light with us, even if we are familiar with the path – let alone if we are dealing with rocky, uneven or unknown terrain. It enables us to walk safely and securely – avoiding unexpected obstacles. Familiarity with the Christian life is no substitute for having an intimate, thorough knowledge and understanding of God’s word. Life is filled with ‘darkness’ even in the middle of the day, where decisions have to be made right then. God’s word within us provides the ‘light’ to guide our steps no matter how difficult or unfamiliar the terrain.