The Word IS A Lamp Unto MY Feet
Ro 15:19b “so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum (ill leer’ uh cum) I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
Paul preached, and lived the full gospel from Jerusalem in the East to Illyricum (ill leer’ uh cum) in the west. (Illyricum is located in modern day Bosnia the former Yugoslavia) If you want that in miles as the crow flies...it’s about 1200 miles. Rome is about 300 miles west of Illyricum (ill leer’ uh cum) But the church had already been established there.
Paul’s commission to bring the Gospel to these lands was given to him by Jesus and we read of it in Ac 9:15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
Paul, obviously took his commission very seriously.
20 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation,
21 but as it is written: "To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand."
22 For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you.
Although his commissioning came from the Lord through Ananias, (He was the one Paul was sent to after encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul also used the Holy Scriptures as his guide as he carried out this commission.
He quotes the latter part of Isaiah 52:15, “ “For what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider.” and he used that verse to set down a parameter for his work. If the Gospel was there ahead of him, he moved on to a place where it had not preceded him.
I’m always amazed at the way the writers of Scripture used the Old Testament to speak to their specific needs. I shouldn’t be, after all, Isaiah and Paul were both inspired to pen these words by the same Holy Spirit. But, honestly, do you think you would’ve thought of that passage in Isaiah as you set out to spread the Gospel? Would’ve you used that passage as way to keep in line with God’s will?
Most of us never heard of that passage, yet Paul literally used it as a lamp unto his feet! He believed God’s Word serves as a lamp unto out feet and trusted in it.....do you?
Ps 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
How many times have you heard of people, randomly opening up the Bible and sticking their finger on a page and getting a Word from the Lord that they needed for that moment! Now, I don’t dispute that God can use that method to speak to us, but I think you need to be careful.
Ole and Sven were farmers and neighbors, and Ole always struggled to make ends meet, while Sven always prospered. One day Ole decided to ask Swen the secret of his success. Sven said, “Well that’s easy, Ole I use the Bible!”
How so Sven?
“Well, I just open up the Book and close my eyes and point my finger at the words. Last year I opened up to Ps 50:10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.
So I invested everything in cattle that year and made a killing!. The year before I opened up the Bible and my finger landed on 1Sa 12:17 "Is today not the wheat harvest?” and so I put everything into the wheat market and that year the prices just soared!
Well Ole went home determined to use this great biblical method of insuring prosperity. ....About a month later Sven noticed a bunch of cars parked on the road by Ole’s house, so he went over to see what was going on. It turns out it was an auction. Everything Ole owned was up for sale.
Sven found Ole, just about in tears and asked, What happened Ole? Didn’t you use my Bible system?”
And Ole replied, “Yah, but my finger landed on chapter 11. ......So I filed for bankruptcy.”
So be careful. Random may work sometimes, but sometimes it doesn’t work....better to get to know all of Scripture and to yield to that which has been revealed to you. It really is the key to aligning yourself with God’s will and thereby obtaining the desires of your heart.
Ps 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, (The word delight means to make yourself pliable in His hands, allowing God’s Word to shape you like a potter shapes clay. And look what He promises to do!)
“And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” You don’t even have to imagine what your desires are, just be pliable and know that He will deliver them to you.
Now, Paul really knew his Scriptures. he was a Pharisees, Pharisee! Php 3:5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;
Ac 22:3 "I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers' law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.
Paul knew the Scriptures. He didn’t need a Concordance like you or I do to find our way around the Bible. By the way, how many of you have a Concordance? I was given a copy of Strong’s Concordance early on in my Christian walk and it has been my constant companion ever since. I strongly ( pun intended) encourage you to buy one.
They contain every single word in Scripture and where you can find it. Typically it will also have a Greek and Hebrew dictionary where you can learn things like, “delight” is the Hebrew Word for pliability. Or “grace” is Greek for “divine influence on the heart.”
You can take your Concordance and see every single passage where the word “kings” is used in the Bible! Isn’t that amazing? The hand-held computerized models are also very slick.....I just prefer the old fashioned kind because it’s part of my daily 10 minute workout...it’s a heavy book!
Now I’m not saying this is exactly how it happened, but let’s say I’m Paul, and Ananias comes up to me and says, “Duane here’s a word from Jesus for you.” You are a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.”
And I would wonder where I might find out more about kings in Scripture. So I get out my Concordance and one of the passages I find is Isa 52:15! Paul has already quoted from this passage to explain his parameters in spreading the gospel, but look at the entire passage from Isaiah 52:15.
“So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the connection between the commission that Jesus gave Paul through Ananias and this passage in Isaiah! Just look at them side by side. And it is in this passage in Isaiah that I find further instruction and realize that I am not to go where the gospel has already been preached.
“Thy Word IS a lamp unto my feet!
I suspect that the Lord Jesus used a rephrasing of this passage from Isaiah to call Paul and it might not be a bad idea to write that passage as a cross reference in your Bible at Acts 9:15. Paul never forgot it and used it as a guide!
It was because of Paul’s loyalty to his calling to bring the gospel to places where it had never been brought that he was greatly hindered from coming to Rome. It was loyalty to this verse in Isaiah that kept him on track. He still hoped to come to Rome as we shall see, but only in the parameters of Is. 52:15!
He didn’t plan to come to Rome to preach the Gospel, but to “be refreshed together with the Roman Christians. (Rom. 15:32) His excuse or justification to come to Rome was to use it as a springboard for his trip to the unreached people of Spain, which would keep him in the parameters of Is 52:15.
In 1998, when I was personally wrestling with responding to the call that God has placed on my life, one verse kept showing up in my prayer journal it was Ps. 22:22,
Ps 22:22 I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
This verse was and is to me what Is 52:15 was to Paul. This is what God has called me to do.
I could not get that verse out of my head! It kept showing up in my Journaling month after month until I finally understood.
This is what God has called me to do! To declare His name among believers (brethren) in the congregation (the local church) I will stand among you or whoever comes through those doors and praise His holy name!
This I will continue to do, for I believe the church needs to hear that declaration more than ever. To declare His name is to give the full counsel of the Bible ....even of those things we typically don’t want to hear.
I believe that many shepherds today are only making a partial declaration of God’s name, only that part that makes people feel good, and quite frankly, instead of offering up A flock of sanctified Gentiles, I think many are offering up so much unsanctified Gentile mush.
God expects more than that from His shepherds and His flock, but He won’t get it from me unless I boldly bring to remembrance the full counsel of His Word as Paul did for the Romans. , and if I don’t do that, then I am not being faithful to my call.
So you can expect to hear the gospel as we boldly bring the promises of God’s love to your ears, again and again, for it is the gospel that “binds up the broken, and strengthens the sick” But you will also hear those things which will aid the Holy Spirit in your personal sanctification process. You will also here those things that God is calling you to do as you live out your faith!
You will be pruned! And if you are willing to receive the full counsel of God’s Word, you will bear much fruit for the kingdom.
God’s full name will be declared here! The goal is the same as Paul’s. We read about it last week: To serve as a minister who seeks to prepare you for heaven, as sanctified, saved, servants of Christ.
Not in my own strength, not in the power of my flesh, but only by the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in this Word and in your heart.
May I ask, what have you been called to do? What has Jesus set before you? Not all are called to be preachers and teachers.
What are those verses in Scripture that really grip you? Are they related to preaching? Ministering to others? Teaching? Encouraging others? Giving? Leading? Showing mercy? Those gifts we talked about in Romans 12? You really won’t know unless you start taking your devotional time in the Bible more seriously and personally.
Take the time to journal. Write down what God is speaking to you through His Word. At the end of every month, take out your journal and review what you have been writing. Look for a theme and try to summarize it in a sentence or two. After awhile some common threads will begin to appear.
Your individual calling, giftedness, and joy will begin to emerge, and when it does, don’t be afraid to get out the Concordance and take a deeper look. It will help you see the parameters in which to work out your calling and it will help you count the cost.
Lu 14:28 "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it --
29 "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
30 "saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'
31 "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
When you arrive at the point where the cost doesn’t matter.....you are ready to respond to the call, and God will then illuminate your path with His Word, and you are ready to begin the journey of knowing the God-given desires of your heart.
God didn’t call you to chapter 11. Spiritual bankruptcy is not for His children. He wants you to have life and to have it abundantly, but you won’t get there until you start believing this Word, trusting this Word, and taking this Word personally.