Anglican Orthodox Church
THE LAMP, a devotion for 2 March in the Year of our Lord the 2017th
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalms 119:105 (KJV)
God’s Word is most certainly a lamp unto our feet, indeed. But there are true lights, and there are false lights. A true Light brightens our path and leads us in the proper direction; but there does exist false lights that lead us not into solid ground but rather into bogs and quick-sand. The false light appears as a genuine light unless the sun rises, at which time, it disappears. False lights cannot compete with the Sun of God’s Creation, or the Sun of Righteousness. (Malachi 4:2, 2 Peter 1:19)
In southern Alabama where I live, there are regular sightings of lights hovering over the swamps which are quite plentiful. These false lights are called Will-o-the-Wisp, or Jack-o-Lanterns. The scientific name is Ignis Fatuus or Fool’s Fire. They do not emit a steady light, but rather a flickering flame. As one approaches these lights over the swamps or bogs, they move away as a rainbow. When the person stops, they stop. They will then follow if the person retreats. Men who were lost have perished of drowning or being caught in quicksand by trying to follow these lights. These false lights are very much like the false Gospel being preached widely today in apostate churches. Both the sermons, and even their new Bibles, are false, or fool’s lights.
Will-o-the-Wisp has a scientific explanation. They are formed by the oxidation of diphophane, phosphine, and methane gases resulting – not from life – but death (decaying organic substances).
Men often seem more attracted to the mysterious false lights than they are to the open and genuine Light of God’s Holy Word – a mystery I find difficult to understand.
We should forever bear in mind that God’s pure and Holy Word is the True Light being the very manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Men seemed pleased to amputate a word here and there, or even entire verses, without fear of the wrath of God. God has not told us that only SOME of His Words are pure, but rather each and every one. The textual critic that believes he can ‘summarize’ God’s Word with fewer syllables, words, or verses (dynamic equivalence) is erring in a serious manner – not only being deceived, but deceiving many. “5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Prov 30:5-6 (KJV) I would point out that changing the term “only Begotten Son” to “one and only Son” is adding meaning that does not exist. Christ is the only Man that is the very issue of the Father. We are sons and daughters by adoption only. Taking away (omitting verses as the ESV & NIV do) also brings with it a sure damnation. “18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Rev 22:18-19 (KJV)
GOD’S WORD AS A LAMP:
I love the tale of Aladdin from “One Thousand and One Nights” that speaks of the wicked sorcerer who tried to retrieve the magic lamp from Aladdin. He collected a number of new lamps and went by the house of Aladdin when only his new bride was home shouting “New Lamps for Old…new lamps for old.” Aladdin’s bride was not aware of the magic properties of the old magic lamp, so she traded for a nice shiny one. That is what men are doing with God’s Word today. They are trading off the old tried and true Bible of the Reformation (Ecclesiastical Text) for a bright shiny one whose language is of the vulgar class and full of error. It exudes a false light which, like the Will-o-the-Wisp, when followed by the young and innocent, leads to a very crooked path. It draws into question the Holiness of God at almost every point, and takes a far lower view of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. The errors may seem small to the uninformed, but when one changes the lay of the barrel of artillery piece only an imperceptible two or three mils, the rounds will miss the target downrange.
A Lamp should be bright to our vision. We need to keep it polished in our souls, and always lit. The wick needs to be regularly trimmed – that is, we must not read extra meaning into it, or take meaning away. We trim our lamps by the Grace of God and His grant of wisdom and understanding.
Unlike the five (of the ten) virgins, our lamps must be supplied with abundant oil. That oil represents the Holy Spirit to give light to our understanding of the Word.
When embarking on a long night’s journey, how grateful we must be to possess a well-lit Lamp full of the oil of God’s Holy Spirit. That Lamp inspires CONFIDENCE for the journey.
Our Lamp is a sure guide in unknown paths. It is a guide in two ways: 1) it guides us, first of all, in the right path. It illumines the path upon which our feet will find solid ground; 2) Our Lamp reveals the dangerous bogs, rocks, and ditches that could cause us harm. It tells us, not only the right way, but the wrong as well so that we have no excuse for getting lost or falling into the ditch. Our Lamp also serves as a searchlight for those seeking safe harbor from the storms and billows of an unfriendly sea.
Our Lamp of God’s Word is a handbook for the entire journey of life. It is brighter than the natural sun to inform us of how we must live, how we must serve, what we must treasure, and what we must know and believe.
There are times when our lives are in jeopardy on life’s road. But, to be honest, our lives are always in jeopardy on life’s road. The Road of Life is a valley which leads either to the summit or the abyss. It is, indeed, a dark road. But it can be lighted for our travels. “4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4 (KJV) As I have stressed so many times, we need not fear a shadow, and that is all that death can be when we are equipped with God’s Lamp for Light. Without that Lamp casting a shadow, death becomes real to those lacking the Lamp.
Since the journey of this earthly night is always dark without a Lamp, we need our Lamps all of the way to journey’s end. We must not extinguish the flame once lit by the grace of God’s salvation. Then, as we enter into that portal of bliss and joy beyond the grave, we no longer need our Lamps, for the Son is the Light thereof. Of course, He is the Lamp personified before our very eyes.
Do you have a sure and true Lamp, or a false Will-o-the-Wisp lamp that leads to death? Do you replenish your supply of oil (Holy Spirit) in daily reading and study, prayer and meditation? Do you trim your Lamps to be sure that nothing is added or taken away so that only the pure flame appears? Do you always remember to carry your Lamp daily, not only in your hands, but in your heart? Do you use that Lamp’s wisdom to make decisions in life about how to order your life? Do you use your Lamp also to signal others who have gotten on the wrong path?
Do you have the Old, Authentic Lamp that bears all of the answers to life’s dilemma’s, the one whose testimony boasts of many martyrs and saints, or have you gotten a cheap, shiny metallic, plastic lamp that only works on AA batteries? Think it over friends. Those cheap, new Bibles offer their testimonies in the sinful lifestyles we see so prevalent in modern society. Modern society is the testimony to man’s low view of the Lamp of God! They treasure their Fool’s Fire instead.
For those entrapped in false churches with false lamps, God’s counsel is clear:
“17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor 6:17-18 (KJV)