A. R. Wright
Lamps may be divided into two main classes- portable lamps and fixed lamps: lamps which we carry about with us, such as the flashlight, the hurricane lamp, and the miner’s lamp; and lamps which remain fixe din one place, such as the street lamp, and the beacon lamp. It is interesting to note that the Bible is compared to both these kinds of lamps. In the Book of Psalms we read, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet”. 1 Here the reference obviously is to a lamp which we carry with us to show us the way. In 2 Peter we read, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light (R.V. lamp) that shineth in a dark place”. Here the reference is rather to a fixed lamp which shines in a dark world.
The Bible as a lamp is:
- A Pleasant Companion
There is an old saying that “a light is a pleasant companion”. A lamp cannot talk to us or listen to us, but it is a very pleasant companion on a dark night, whether inside or outside the home. In the “black-out”- or rather nights!- during the war 2 , we always felt happy when we had our torch 3 with us. And the Bible is a pleasant companion to those who are familiar with its promises and precepts. We often speak of books as our silent companions, and the greatest of these silent companions is the Bible. Happy are those who have it with them throughout life, in the bright day sand in the dark days. Happy are those who have it with them when life draws to a close. What a comfort to the dying, whether young or old, is the 23rd Psalm. To boys and girls setting out in life I would say, “Take the Bible with you as your constant companion. Don’t be ashamed to be seen with it in your hand. See to it that you have it in your head. Above all, lay it up in your heart and practice it in your life”.
2. A Powerful Protector
Lamps are a good protection against danger. During the war, search lamps were used as protectors against enemy raiders. The bicycle lamp and the signal lamp protect against road and rail accidents. The miner’s lamp, known as a safety lamp, protects against coal gas 4 A special lamp with an enclosed flame which would not ignite flammable gases if present in a mine. The beacon lamp protects against dangerous waters. And the Bible is a lamp which protects. It warns us of the presence of danger, and is one of the greatest means of keeping us from the paths of the destroyer. You remember how our Lord Himself used this weapon when he was tempted by the devil. Three times He flashed the lamp of truth in the devil’s face; three times He cried out, “It is written”; and at last He drove His foe from the field. And today we too have our dangers and temptations, and if we are to stand firm against the enemy we must use the lamp of God’s Word. When tempted to do the wrong thing we should be able to repel the assault of the evil one with the words, “It is written”. We should be so familiar with the Bible’s warnings that, when temptation comes, the appropriate one will flash before our minds. Here, for example, is a young lad who goes to a situation where he is daily handling his employer’s money. One day he is tempted to take some for himself. The devil whispers, “Take only a little, it will never be missed”. And then the warning flash comes from the safety lamp, “Thou shalt not steal”, and the temptation is overcome. Young people, give earnest heed to the warnings of the Bible. The “Thou shalt nots” are very important and they are not given by a “kill joy” but by One who wants you to have the happiest life possible.
3. A Perfect Guide
The lamp which we carry with us acts as a guide. It lightens the darkened path and shows us where we are to go. And the Bible is a perfect guide. It guides us, without fail, along the Way which leads to Heaven. It sheds light upon the entrance to the Way. It shows we can only enter by grace and through faith in Jesus Christ, and that the best time to enter is in the days of our youth. It shed slight upon the Way itself. It shows us the right paths and the wrong paths, and lead sus forward one step at a time. It sheds light upon the end of the Way. It leads us safely across the river of death into the Heavenly Home.
Let me close with a story told many years ago. Young Harry was sent on an errand one wintry evening. After giving him his instructions, his mother said, “Be sure to take the lantern with you, Harry.” “Bother the lantern!”, answered the boy, gruffly and disrespectfully, as he started out, muttering to himself, “What do I want with a lantern? I guess I know the way well enough”. Very soon Master Harry, in crossing the street, stumbled into a hole which had been made by recent rain. By his fall he knocked the flesh from his shin bone and covered his clothes with mud. On his way back he forgot the fence running along the edge of the ravine. As he groped his way along the bank he fell over and went sprawling to the bottom of the ravine. With much ado, and after many bruises, he got onto the road once more but when he finally reached his mother’s door, he looked more like a scarecrow than a living boy. The lantern would have saved him all this. Was he not a very foolish boy not to take it? And what shall we say to those boys and girls who know the Bible to be the only lamp which can guide their feet to safely to the Heavenly Home, and yet refuse to carry it? Are they not even more foolish? Are they not likely to suffer so much more than that boy suffered? I trust that you will not be one of them. Take your Bible as your lamp. It will lead you to Christ; it will light you Home.
This Article is part of a series originally written by A.R. Wright for the young people of the denomination and published in ‘Covenanter’ Magazine, now being re-published with the kind permission of his family.
- Psalm 119:105
- So enemy planes could not use such light to guide their attacks.