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Up and clown this vast land of ours from the Canadian to the Mexican borders, from the Atlantic coast to the shores of the Pacific’ Ocean children, young men and young women, men and women have graduated from institutions of learning. Hundreds upon thousands of diplomas have been handed to those who finished their prescribed courses. Degrees have been conferred. Congratulations have been extended. But if that instruction was not in the fear of the Lord, wisdom has not been imparted by those who taught. The fear of the Lord is the beginning, the principle of all wisdom. If we miss that fear of the Lord, we miss wisdom completely. In I Timothy 6:20 Paul speaks to Timothy of “science falsely so called.” That is what all knowledge is apart from the fear of the Lord. Science is a system of knowledge. The very word science comes from the Latin verb “to know.” Our word conscience as well—which clearly contains the word science in it—also comes from this same Latin word which means to know. Only here you have “to know with.” But any system of science that rules out God and is conducted apart from His fear is utter folly and will only lead man to folly and destruction.

Scripture teaches us in the Book of Revelation not only but throughout its pages that all that which man has made, all the achievements of which he now boasts, all the goals he has reached apart from God will all go up in smoke. And their works shall not follow them. In hell there will be no skyscrapers and majestic suspension bridges, no colleges and universities, no television sets and jet planes, no trips to the moon, no delicious meals and museums full of graceful sculpture work, paintings and ceramics, no beautiful literature and symphony orchestras. All these the ungodly will leave behind the day they die and they will find nothing of the kind in their everlasting habitation in hell. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; but those devoid of that fear shall soon learn the folly of their empty and godless life.

And so we speak to you about the Word of God that ought to be the light for our path. These are the words of the same psalmist who declared in Psalm 119:98-100. “Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I have kept Thy precepts.” This same psalmist declares in verse 105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” ban all those who graduated this past month say that? Was the Word of God the tight that shone on their pathway? In its light do they now intend to walk? Sad to say this is true of such a few. Yet every one of God’s people ought to be able to say, Thy word is a light for MY feet and for MY path.

From birth to death we all have our own individual pathway on which we must walk. It may be long or it may be short. It may lead us into fields of misery or in pleasant places. But each has his own path on which he must walk and shall walk. No two walk on that same pathway, not even identical twins. The beginning, the end and all that lies between is distinct for every man, woman and child, designed by God from all eternity with all its details. Paul says that inEphesians 2:10 when he says that our good works are “before ordained that we should walk in them.” The psalmist says the same thing when he writes in Psalm 139:3, “Thou compasseth my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.” And again in verse 13, “For Thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” Nothing comes by chance or accident. All is ordered by God. That is exactly why He knows the day of Christ’s return. That is why He knows the end from the beginning. All the prophecies of Revelation shall be fulfilled exactly as they are there presented exactly because God has it all planned. It is all in the book with the seven seals to the last detail in the life of every man, woman and child. No wonder the psalmist says in Psalm 139:6, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain to it.”

But that individual way on which each and every one of us walks is not the pathway of which the psalmist speaks when he says that God’s Word is a light unto his path. It is true that he speaks of his path. However he does not mean this in the sense of my distinct, individual path but rather for him, not for all, there is a light upon the path on which he walks. The whole psalm speaks of another way, another path. It is the one on which all men travel or rather must travel. And it is the path on which the regenerated child of God does travel. It is the way of life. It is the way of God’s law. Each one upon his own individual way must walk on that path. Only a few do and attain to the life that is at its end. It is the way of love to God and leads directly to everlasting life before God’s face.

That path runs through the night of sin and death. In Paradise the sun went down behind the mountain of guilt and sin. The light was cut off and man cannot see or find that path. The sun has gone completely behind the horizon and not the smallest part of light now shines in this world. We live in a world that is as dark as the darkness in Egypt and at the cross of Christ. A darkness it is that can be felt. A total eclipse of the sun of spiritual light has taken place, so that we cannot see the path, and we know not where to put our feet.

And that way is as straight as an arrow and very narrow.

That way leads directly toward God and points the man who walks upon it unwaveringly toward the Living God. The difficulty is not that the way winds and twists so much that we have difficulty following it. The way is straight, as straight as an arrow. But the fault is in us. We cannot walk straight but always turn to the right or to the left, even after God puts our feet on that path. We are born off that path. And we are born with one leg shorter than the other so that in the darkness of that night of sin we walk in circles, always being drawn and inclined to go away from the straight line of God’s law. We are told that a man lost in the woods always gets himself deeper and deeper into his troubles exactly because we cannot walk in a straight line, because even in the physical sense of the word, one leg is slightly shorter than the other, and we always are inclined to walk in circles. Spiritually this certainly is true. We have the old man of sin with us as well as the new man in Christ in us. There is the flesh that always pulls us off that path that is so very, very straight.

Not only that, but consider also that this path of God’s law, the way of life is so very narrow. It is just wide enough for one foot at a time! To walk on it we must place one foot in front of the other in a straight line or we put that foot off the path. It is not a comfortable road to travel. There is a broad way that gives men much leeway and does not hem us in or limit our movements. But that is the way to destruction. This way on which all are called to walk is very, very narrow. And therefore it requires our attention every step of the way. We cannot be careless to walk upon it. We will not accidentally keep our way upon it. One glance away from that path for a fleeting moment, and we may be sure that our foot has left the straight and narrow line to the right or to the left. We will not be walking upon it. The psalmist speaks of a lamp for his feet because those feet need watching to keep on that narrow and perfectly straight path.

And horror of horrors! that path runs, as we said, through the night of sin and death. It is bad enough that we have to walk such a narrow and such a straight way. It will take all our concentration in the broad daylight. But it is night! And the night is so very, very dark! You cannot see your hand before your face. How can we see our feet and that narrow path on which we are to travel? We will need a light. Without a light it will be quite impossible and hopeless. How awful to drive a car in the dense fog when the white or yellow line in the middle of the road cannot be seen! How awful when you cannot see the front of your car and do not know where you are! Imagine driving on a mountain pass with a winding, twisting road on a dark night and the lights on your car fail. Even when the light is very faint, you will proceed at a very slow speed and almost feel your way over that mountain pass.

And though our way is not a winding, twisting mountain trail, it is lined with hazards and dangers far more terrible. There are swamps and marshes of filth and sin along that way which swallow the man who leaves the path. There are quick sands which open up to receive him but refuse to let him go. There are steep chasms with sharp, jagged rocks at the bottom which threaten instant and awful death. There are wild beasts lurking along that way who glory in the dark and seek to devour the traveler who has no light. There are sweet siren songs that come floating out of the woods to lure us into traps and snares. There are serpents who fear and hate that light and are always to be found alongside of that path. They are ready to bite the heel and kill the traveler who seeks to walk that narrow way.

It all underscores the truth that we need a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. None is so strong in himself that he does not need it. None of himself has such keen eyesight that can pierce this awful and total darkness to see the way, to recognize the enemy, to avoid the serpents and walk to life. In fact on top of all this terrible darkness is the fact that each and every one of us by nature is spiritually blind. If the sun shone in all its power and beauty, we still would not see that path or know the way. For many this light has no meaning at all. Were you to put that lamp in their hands, they still would not see the path nor walk even one step of the way upon that narrow path.

That light is of value only to those whom it pleases God to regenerate by the Spirit of His Son. It is of value only to those who are born again and have the life of Christ in them. They have the eye of faith. They can see in the light of that lamp. And that is why the psalmist says that God’s Word is a lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path. He is a regenerated child of God. And though he still lives in this sphere where the night of sin and death has descended, he can use that light of the Word of God and can find hiss way to walk the path he is called to travel. God’s Word is a lamp for his feet and a light for his path.

—J.A.H.