"Thy word is a lamp onto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Rev. Marcus Birkholz
Sunday, June 1, 2008


(Psa 119:105 KJV)  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.


Dear Friends in Christ Jesus, Graduates June 1, 2008

Graduation time is here.  Many different schools and students are celebrating.  We can be thankful for a nation which has a strong educational system.  Grades schools, high schools, technical schools, colleges and universities are all available.  Here at Salem we also have our school.  We are not able to provide everything that other schools offer in particular according to all the needs that children may have. We are thankful that there are schools that can serve the many needs.  We are not in competition with these other schools.  We are different because we offer what they cannot, a Christian education.  We have a text book which is different, the Holy Bible.  But is that really so important?

            You know the words of our text: (Psa 119:105 KJV) “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”   Here is a little example of what a lamp was like back in the Bible times.  They would fill it with oil and put a wick here and light it.  That was then.  As I worked on this text I wondered if the Psalmist who wrote the words so familiar to you had lived today might have written, “Your word is a GPS to my feet…”  It is amazing what a GPS is able to do.  You can speak to it, like “go home” and it will give you directions. 

            There is a problem though which a TV news station highlighted last week.  They had three different GPS units and programmed a place they wanted to go. The end result was not satisfactory.  For example all three units did not know that the 35WBridge was out.  Don’t you think you need to know that?  One unit told the driver to make a u-turn in the middle of the interstate 394!  Talk about dangerous.  You might not think it matters, until you really want to get to a certain place. 

            For some people they think concerning religion that all roads lead to heaven.  It doesn’t matter what road you take.  Is that true or is the Bible the only sure guide to heaven?  Does it matter?  Are all the different holy books alright, or do some not know that the bridge is out and the end of the road is destruction? 

            Is it really that important that we use the Bible?  Could we not use other holy books?  Are they that much different?  Don’t they all lead to “God”?  What are the big differences if there are any? Which book really leads to God?  Which is a lamp to our feet a light to our path that will not fail?  What are the differences?

            l. Compare the books:

I have here three holy books:  The book of Mormon, The Koran and The Holy Bible.  All have rules to live by which are often like the Ten Commandments.  But when it comes to the way of salvation, there are really just two totally different messages. 

            I would remind you of the Bible passage many of you memorized, (Eph 2:8-9 KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast.

            I would like to compare that with the book of Mormon: 2 Nephi 26:23 “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

            Now from the Koran: “Those who kill or are killed by unbelievers will return to the garden of Paradise.  Koran 9:111

If you want a contrast with Christianity and the rest of the religions of the world, it is simply put, one teaches by grace alone through faith in Jesus and all the others teach you have to do something to be acceptable to God. 

            Historically there is something else: no city, no person, place nation or name, artifact, inscription mentioned in the book of Mormon has ever been found.  But the place, the names and nations mentioned in the Bible are historically accurate.  Prophecies over 1000 years fulfilled.  Historical records written by eye witnesses and even those who opposed the Christian faith by stating their opposition testified to what truths were being proclaimed.

            Using the Bible in our church and school we have come to learn of the most loving Lord, who has sacrificed not us, but his own son that we might have eternal life.  Salvation is not earned but a gift, a precious gift. 

II. Live by the Book 

God’s word is awesome.  This is his love letter to us.  I would like to think that we all like the reminder that the Bible is from heaven above.  Yet what good is it on the coffee table, in the drawer in the desk or on a bookshelf or a box with other books put away for storage?

When we confess “Your Word is a Light unto my path and lamp unto my feet” it presupposes we are walking in the light of the Lord’s word.  It means that this book is guiding our lives. 

            I would contrast the people of those other books.  Those who follow the book of Mormon will take two years out of their lives to try to serve a god who says its grace plus all you do.  How many Lutherans take out two years of their lives for the Lord, before they pursue other careers?  Those who follow the Koran have prayers five times a day facing Mecca and will pray as their book and god demands.  Yet do you find Christians with such faithful time talking to the Lord God almighty for guidance and direction.  Do these followers of other books put us to shame?

            I shared a story with the ladies at the women’s retreat which I would like to share now.  For the question comes up, do we listen to God or do we want God to change and do it our way?  Sometimes we don’t want to change our lives and go the direction Jesus would have us go.  I was reminded of the story: The captain of the ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south." Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north."  The captain was angered; his command had been ignored. So he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am the captain!" Soon another message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a seaman third class Jones."  Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am a battleship." Then the reply came: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a lighthouse."  In the midst of our dark and foggy times, all sorts of voices are shouting orders into the night, telling us what to do, how to adjust our lives. Out of the darkness, one voice signals something quite opposite to the rest--something almost absurd. But the voice happens to be the Light of the World, and we ignore it at our peril.  Paul Aiello, Jr., Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 2.

            When we walk in the light of God’s word we find that the Lord is leading and guiding in us in all the steps of our lives.  Whether we are children, teenagers, young adults, single or married, husband and wives, parents and grandparents God’s word speaks and leads us.   Here is what we have through the word of God:

  1. New life I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full

  2. eternal life John 3:36 – whoever believes in the Son has eternal life

  3. freedom from guilt Ps 103:12 You forgave the guilt of my sins

  4. fruits of faith: The fruit of the Spirit is…love joy

  5. power for daily living Christ lives in me…the life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God

  6. Answers to prayer Call upon me in the day of trouble.

  7. guidance for daily life

  8. fellowship of believers we are part of the body of Christ

  9. Assurance of God’s love    We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. 

Go forth, with God’s word as the light unto my path unto your path and a lamp unto your feet. Amen.