I enjoy reading about the origins of words and phrases; for example, do you know the origin of the phrase, “good night, sleep tight?” In times past, there were no box springs as we have today. The mattress would lay across a myriad of thin ropes which, after every night’s sleep, would have to be pulled tight before a person crawled into bed the next night. If they didn’t, the mattress would sag, making for a very uncomfortable sleep. Hence, the saying of well wishes for the person to have a, “good night and sleep tight.”
I read of something else very interesting to do with the verse found in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” During Bible times, when caravans would travel, perhaps from Egypt to Jerusalem, bringing their goods for sell and trade, they would travel day and night to get to their destination. In order to travel at night they would have their servants go before the teams of wagons and horses carrying lamps to light the road ahead.
At times when individuals traveled through the night they would actually attach lamps, by way of a leather holder, to the front of their legs while carrying a lamp in their hands as well. This helped the traveler to better see the potholes or large stones in their way. Without the lamps they could easily fall and get hurt or lose their way altogether.
When the writer of Psalm 119 wrote, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path,” the reader of that time would know exactly the importance of that verse. Just as lamps were a requirement for safety to the night traveler, God’s Word offers the same safety as we travel through the darkness of this world. How easily we can fall when temptations roll onto our path, like a huge stone on the road, ready to trip us and cause us harm. Often times we don’t know which way to go in our lives, what decisions to make, but with the light of God’s Word, we can better see the direction we should take.
God’s word is the light that reveals truth, that shows us the way, that points to peace, that shows us how to obtain the very strength of God when our own resilience fades away. When we are in the darkness of despair or sorrow, God’s word lights our difficult path, guiding us to find the answers, granting us wisdom on what we should do, filling us with a holy comfort that the world alone cannot give. God’s Word is the only light that can pierce any darkness found in this world.
We must all walk through the dark, but we don’t have to walk without the light.