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Gerrit Vos (1894-1968) was a minister in the Protestant Reformed Churches, serving the congregations of Sioux Center (IA), Hudsonville (MI), Hope (Redlands, CA), and Edgerton (MN).

This meditation was originally written in Dutch and entitled Het Pad Des Lichts. It can be found in the September 15, 1949 issue of the Standard Bearer. Translator, Prof. B. Huizinga.

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. Proverbs 4:18, 19
Time and time again we read in God’s Word of the way, the path, or the walk of the Christian, and also of the wicked. Life is often presented as a way on which we walk.
So also in our text. The text is full of imagery. There is the way and the path, the light and the darkness, the shining of that light more and more until the perfect day, and also that terrible stumbling of the wicked. All imagery.
When God’s Word speaks of our way, then such imagery refers to our full life here on earth. That comes out clearly from verse 23, where we read, “Guard your heart above all that is to be guarded, for out of it are the issues of life.” Pay attention to issues, for there again is the idea of the path or way. And that same text shows us that our path is more than merely our outward revelation of speech and action. The text indicates that the path begins in the depths of the heart, and out of the heart are the issues of life.
The idea of being on a path or way is threefold.
First, man is a traveler. Man goes on and on. He goes on from a child to a boy, to a young lad, to a man, to a gray beard, and then he falls into the grave and his journey on earth is finished.
Second, there is also direction in his life. A path or way has direction; it goes somewhere. It goes to the north or to the south, to the west or to the east. There is direction in your path. Usually that direction is quite clear for those who see you striding down your path, unless you are a successful hypocrite. There are people who are on the way to hell, that is to say, as far as their heart is concerned. But they have the ability to cover up the life of their hearts. And people say of them that they are walking to heaven. Jesus spoke of them when He said that they appear beautiful to people but their heart is full of abominations. Poor people!
But even those kinds of people experience that there is direction in our lives. It cannot be otherwise. We are created so.
Third, there is a destination in our path. We arrive there soon. In this connection we think of the first Psalm, which describes the path of the righteous and the way of the wicked. And we learn how they turn out. This is absolutely certain: our path ends in everlasting weeping and gnashing of teeth, or it ends in the halls of the palace of God where pure bliss is tasted.
O man! Thou art a traveler who walks on a definite path, who follows a definite direction on your path, who rushes to a certain destination. Is your path light?
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What is a path of light?
The text speaks of it. It also speaks of the darkness that is found on the way of the wicked man.
What are light and darkness in this connection?
It is imagery. John uses the same image when he speaks of God, and says, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5).
And Paul has explained to us the content of that light when he says, “put on the armor of light.” And explaining this, he says that we should walk honestly. And John says that whosoever loves his brother abides in the light.
Therefore, the light is all honesty and virtue, indeed it is the very love of God.
And so the children of God are called the children of light. It means that God the Lord has made entry into our hearts by His Word and Holy Spirit.
The opposite is also true. There are people who are called darkness in God’s Word. Note well, it is not that the darkness clings to them, but they are darkness. That was also our name by nature, before we were born again. Paul says that: “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord”! [Eph. 5:8]
And darkness is figurative language for all filth and sin, all wickedness and unrighteousness.
And both are spoken of here. A path is seen that is only light, yes, even a continual advancing in the shining of that light until the perfect day. But mention is also made of a way that is like darkness, full of abominations and sin.
What an awful contrast there is between those who fear God and those who do not fear Him. The one is compared to a man who is walking on the path of light, and the other to someone who walks in darkness, and therefore must stumble. Terrible thought!
Look around you! What characterizes your path, traveler? Is there the light of eternal life or are there the terrible shadows of everlasting death?
Give the answer to God!
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The shining path of righteousness. What is it?
Here you have a beautiful explanation of that light. It is righteousness.
The light path of God’s people is the path of righteousness. You can also say it like this, and then it is more accurate: the enlightened path of God’s people is their righteous life.
God’s people are righteous.
They have been righteous from before the foundation of the world. God has always willed and beheld His people as they shall be for all eternity.
And the fountain of it is the love of God. We see that in Romans 8. There it is easily ascertained: “For whom He did foreknow [and that is the foreknowledge of eternal love] them He also justified.” It has been only light for God’s people from all eternity. Jesus also said that in His high-priestly prayer when He said, “They were thine….” See that now you have been the possession of God from all eternity. And that was the possession of eternal love, for the Old Testament prophet sings of that love: I have loved you with an eternal love! Oh, why do people refuse to sing of that love today? That is why people no longer see the distinction, the frightening distinction between the church and the world. Men can no longer see the difference between the light of life and the horrible darkness of death!
God’s people are righteous.
The eternal love of God willed them in that love as righteous.
And when history came, and with history the terrible sin and guilt that embraced all of God’s people with a deadly embrace, so that they were all guilty and unrighteous, then God sent His Son. He came, He suffered, He died, He arose, He returned to heaven, and His people were righteous: the eternal righteousness was revealed in time. Read the weighty words of Paul in the last verse of Romans 4, “raised for our justification.”
God’s people are righteous. They walk on a path of light.
So it is, that the Savior who justified them by all the labor of His soul comes by the Holy Ghost and His Word, and makes them righteous in their deepest heart. He puts sin to death and makes them alive according to His Word. And their name that was formerly “children of wrath” is now “righteous ones” again! Hallelujah!
But the wicked and the devils do not believe it.
And God’s people themselves have times when they do not dare to believe it.
There are times in history when the whole world and the devils abuse God’s people and call them unrighteous. And they go on in sorrow.
And that is why the righteousness of God’s people shall soon be shown to all. God will turn their hearts inside out in the day of days and show them that in their deepest heart they were always righteous, which righteousness is revealed and realized through the cross. Then the people of God shall shine as an adorned Bride, like a dove in silvery white and with gold on its feathers. Sing about it!
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The path of the righteous man is only light.
The character of that path is that it shines.
The path is as a shining light.
So it is: God’s Word is living and powerful. If that Word of God, by the Holy Ghost, has found you and converted you from death to life, then everything will be different. Paul exclaims in jubilation, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new”! [II Cor. 5:17]
Shining more and more!
A process is set in motion at regeneration and conversion, and the end of it is the full day. And that is to dwell in the Father’s house with God above.
You continue on your path, shining unto the perfect day.
On the way home, what is that?
Negatively, you know the truth of sin. You learn to know sin for what it is: a monster! And therefore you learn to hate that sin and you learn to run away from it. Read the context and you will see that is exactly what the chapter of my text is all about. Your path is a shining path also in this, that you are known as someone who has a great hatred for all sin.
And positively, you learn to know the good, loving and pursuing it.
The Word of God, applied by the Holy Spirit of the glorified Christ, heals your spiritual infirmities and makes you walk in the light of life. You learn that the only purpose of this great universe with its vast history is the praise of the Lord. That is the deepest heart of all God’s people. There may be difference; there is difference. But all God’s people have this, and they finally come to this conclusion: God, my God, I will yet praise! In that their path shines most gloriously.
O yes, the path of the righteous is as a shining light.
It also continues to shine. And you can see that prophecy in their lives as they continue to the perfect day of eternal life. Each of them shall soon appear before God in blessed Zion.
Yes, my brother, I know, sin and darkness torment you. And sometimes we are so terribly wrapped up in sin and filth that we are ashamed of ourselves before God and man. But I just want to ask one question: Is that your life? What do you think about your dreadful sin? I will tell you. This is your judgment about yourself: O God, be merciful to me the sinner!
Then God heard! He is worthy of my life!
And Jesus whispered, “This one went down to his house justified!”
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O it is blessed to walk on a shining path.
Do you not sing about it? “How blessed is the people that hear Thy joyful sound, they walk in the light of Thy divine countenance!”
It is blessed to walk on the shining path.
But what shall we say of the poor wretches who walk on the path of wickedness?
We must say what God says of them.
It is this: the way of the wicked is as darkness.
That is, in one word, dreadful!
The darkness is sin, filthiness, vanity, hideousness. The works of darkness are revealed. You can read the catalogue in God’s Word and in many places. The most extensive catalogue to read is probably in Romans 1:29- 32. One shudders when reading it. And if we read that catalogue, then we shudder most of all because we discover that all those sins are still found in us. The “motions of sin” always remain in us. And they remain there until sanctification obtains its perfect work.
Now then, there are people who have darkness as their principle of life. And that is pitiful. Take note, that here also we must descend into the deepest heart to find the beginning of their path. And there in the deepest heart is sin and vanity. Their sin takes many forms; and in some of those forms God’s people have been led astray throughout the ages. Sometimes those certain forms of sin were said to be good works. But it is all foolishness; the path of the wicked is only darkness.
And the characterization of that darkness is that they always stumble.
How is that? What do they stumble over?
And here is the answer: over the truth of God and of Christ.
Now it makes no difference how that truth comes to them.
The truth may come to them through the things that God has made as a loudly spoken word in the creation around us and in us; they stumble over it. Read Romans 1. They make a god of those creatures.
Or that truth comes to them in the circles where God reveals Himself to His people; they stumble.
Once it happened that the most terrible stumbling came. God’s Word came to this earth; and that is Jesus. The wicked saw Him, heard Him, touched Him, and they stumbled over Him. They hanged Him on a cross.
And the text says, “they know not at what they stumble.”
You can see that now in their bragging which they call singing. You can see that they do not know at what they now stumble, and certainly not over which they shall soon stumble when they fall into the everlasting depths, the depths….
O, that we then walk on the path of Light: and that is God in Jesus Christ, the Lord!
It is lovely to serve the Lord, to fear and to praise Him!