“Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path”
Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
I recall an abandoned Model T Ford parked in the yard of the family farm where I spent a lot of time playing with my older brother. Even before we were big enough to have our feet touch the three pedals on the floor we knew how they worked.
The one on the left was pushed half way in to put the transmission in neutral, all the way down for first gear, and released for high gear. The triangular pedal in the middle was for reverse and the pedal on the right was for the two wheel brakes. The gas and spark advance levers were on the steering column.
The car we used was a Model A Ford, 1929 edition. It did not have luxuries such as a heater or windshield defroster. Both the Model T and Model A had a crank to start the engine at the front of the car just below the radiator. Quite a few people broke an arm when they used it and the engine “kicked back”.
Those vehicles were so very simple to operate. With only the bare minimum of dials, pedals or levers to control them, learning to operate these cars was a cinch. There was no operator’s manual for either of them. Ford had produced such a book for each car but by the time my family took possession of the vehicles they were long gone. However with such a basic piece of machinery to operate, there was little to learn.
With our modern cars and their complexity, an owner’s manual is a very handy volume to have at times when the need arises to understand such things as why a certain light is flashing in the dash and so on. But, most of us can get into a modern car with a set of the keys, start up that complex piece of machinery and get it down the road in air-conditioned comfort while we search for our favourite FM radio station on the car radio We don’t need a manual for that.
The problem comes when we are stopped on the side of the road because the car broke down. Then we need the help of not only the operator’s manual but very likely a skilled mechanic to get it back on the road. In the old days most drivers carried baling wire, pliers, tin snips, some other simple tools and they fixed the car on the side of the road.
It seems like life is similar to modern cars. It is very complex and can give us lots of problems we cannot solve on our own. We need a user’s guide to life to teach us how to handle the many alternatives that can come along. This is where the Bible comes in so handy. Its pages have all the instructions we need from our Creator on how to cope with whatever life serves up.
This is the meaning of our verse today. The Word of God is like having a flashlight when we must walk on a dark and unfamiliar path. God’s Word illuminates the otherwise dark road ahead and allows us to avoid the ditch and go around the obstacles that would stop us in our tracks.
Have you started to use the Biblical wisdom to guide you through the way you are travelling in life? Oh, yes, like a operating modern car, you may go far in life without referring to the user’s guide to life. But the time will come when you stall and need the Bible that you have ignored for so long. May we suggest you begin with the Gospel of John in the New Testament? The wisdom in the Bible cannot be found anywhere else. When all else fails, read the Bible.