Psalm 119: 10-11, 105-106 (NRSVA)
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
do not let me stray from your commandments.
11 I treasure your word in my heart,
so that I may not sin against you.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to observe your righteous ordinances.
So recently I have been using this new vacuum cleaner, it has a little light at the front shining right at the floor to show you what you’re about to vacuum up and let me tell you it is very illuminating! I looked at the floor and thought, “Hey, it’s not that bad but I’ll give it a once over.” I turn this vacuum on and suddenly I can see all these bits I couldn’t see before and I’m very glad I had the notion.
I’m not sure that is exactly what the psalmist had in mind when they wrote ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’ But when people write poems they often wrap up layers of meaning in a few words, it’s why words are so wonderful. Here we can almost be sure they mean much more than just ‘walk this way.’
Yes, sometimes all we need is an idea of where God wants us to go, and sometimes that is all we can cope with or all that is on offer. Maybe though, for some of us, the words in this psalm mean: look at your path carefully, use the light of God’s word in your heart and observe. Is there something there that you didn’t see before?
Dear God of our paths,
Guide us as we step into a whole new year with you
Love us through any hardship we may be feeling or are yet to feel
Shepherd us through big decisions and unexpected turns
Illuminate for us the things we are now ready to see