Finally, fourteen sections into memorizing Psalm 119, we’ve reached the verse that you knew well before we even started: “Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.” Remember Will Soll’s comment from the Lamed section? The word of God is “the one thing in the world with a window on eternity.” That window serves not only to give us a view on eternity, but also to shed light, as we see here. “Heavenly light on the earthly path” is how William Graham Scroggie describes verse 105.
Much of this section should have by now a familiar feel about it. Verse 107 is reminiscent of verse 25; the psalmist’s decision in vs. 112 to incline his heart to God’s testimonies reminds of his request of God in vs. 36 to do the same. The psalmist’s steadfast determination to follow God’s laws, as expressed in verses 106 and 112, repeats a theme seen early and often in the psalm (vs. 8, 15, 16, 32, 47, etc.).
This section can be easily divided into three parts; the first two and last two verses speak of devotion to God’s word, and the middle four place that devotion firmly in the context of affliction and persecution (another familiar theme of the psalm). Considering especially the setting of affliction, the “freewill offerings of my mouth” call to mind the “sacrifice of praise” (Jer. 33:11, Heb. 13:15), surely the best description of the psalmist’s recurring expressions of joy (vs. 111) in the midst of suffering.
Of all the recurring themes here, though, the one that captures my attention most in this section is that of the word of God as a heritage (see vs. 56 and 57). There is an incredibly liberating idea here: We can choose our heritage. No one need be enslaved to his family’s history, traditions, sins or shortcomings. The person who chooses to follow God has a new beginning and a blessing-filled future, one that cannot be taken from him. This truth would have given profound hope to the Jews living in exile after having been forced from the inheritance of their land,and the hope it offers to us today is no less profound. Is our earthly heritage less than perfect? We can choose to replace it with one that offers only hope, joy, and blessing.