Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 3.26.21

By March 26, 2021Daily Bread

I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.

Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.

Today’s Scripture:

Psalm 119:105-112 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to observe your righteous ordinances.
107 I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word.
108 Accept my offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your ordinances.
109 I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
111 Your decrees are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

Today we have another reading from the longest Psalm and that reading begins with perhaps the best-known verse in this Psalm: “Your word is a lamp to my feet  and a light to my path.”  When we think of the “word” of God for us today, we include the words of the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament.

As Christians, we also understand Jesus to be the “Word made flesh”—to be the embodiment of the mind, will, heart, and creative power of God. (see John 1)

As we think about the Bible as a guide for our living, it helps to remember what the Bible is:

The Bible is the record of human response to the experience of God.  It was written over a period of about 900 to 1000 years by many different writers.  It is such a rich book.  It contains historical accounts, poetry—including a love poem, short stories, philosophy, law codes, letters, and songs.  Overall, it is the story of what God has been and is doing in the lives of people.  It tells us much about the nature of God, human nature and the relationship between God and humanity.

Remembering that the Bible is the record of the way that ancient Israel and the early Christian community experienced God is important.  Why?  Because understanding that clears up what otherwise would be very troubling difficulties—difficulties that have kept many people out of the pages of the Bible.  Here are a few examples of what I mean:

First of all, the understandings of the natural world we find in scripture reflect the scientific understanding of the ancient communities of faith.  In the stories of creation and in other places, the world is flat and is covered by a firmament—a kind of inverted bowl.  Below the dry land is water and above the firmament is water.  When it rains, the heavens open up.  Waters also bubble up from below.  We now have a different scientific understanding.  Genesis says that the world and everything in it was created in six days.  We now know that the universe is billions of years old and the process of creation has taken place over eons through evolutionary processes that we are still trying to understand.

Secondly, we can understand that certain laws aren’t required by God but were laws of the ancient Hebrew community.  For example, in the Hebrew Scriptures the law clearly forbids planting two kinds of seeds in the same field or wearing garments made of two kinds of cloth.  Do we believe that it is an abomination and a sin against God to put on a cotton-polyester blend shirt to plant different kinds of seeds in the backyard vegetable garden?  No, of course not!  We understand some of the laws are the laws of an ancient culture we are not bound to follow.  The law states that whoever strikes or curses his mother or father or does work on the Sabbath shall be put to death.” (Exodus 21:15, 21:17, 31:15)  We don’t believe that to be God’s law and, in fact, we would think such a thing to be barbaric.

Thirdly, we can understand that some passages reflect the author’s or the community’s emotions or values and not God’s.  Psalm 137:9 says, “Happy shall be he who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”  Contrast that with Jesus, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  It’s not just the Hebrew scriptures, either.  1 Timothy says that women should not braid their hair, wear gold or pearls or expensive clothes.  It says that women should learn in silence with full submission and is not to teach or have any authority over a man.  The passage even says women are responsible for the origin of sin in the world!  We understand, don’t we, that the author is reflecting his own understanding and perhaps that of his community and not the will of God. In fact, look at Jesus’ disciples and see women among them.  We read Paul’s words, as well:  “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

The Bible is Sacred Scripture.

Though the Bible was written by people, the Bible is sacred Scripture.  The 66 books of the Bible are, for Christians, the most important writings ever produced.  They comprise a book that defines who we are, who God is and what is the nature of the relationship between us and God.  This book has shaped us and will continue to shape us.  It is not for us just any book.  In fact, often it is referred to as simply “the Book.”

The Bible is about God, humanity, and the relationship between God and humanity.  It is authoritative for us because we understand it to contain God’s self-revelation.

The Bible, like a sacrament, makes God present to us.

This is so powerful.  Reading and listening to the Bible often is sacramental—that is, we experience God, the presence of the Holy Spirit.  This was the case in the lives of some of the most influential figures in Christian history.

Augustine’s conversion experience happened when he was sitting in a garden one afternoon and heard the voice of a child on the other side of the wall say, “take up and read.” As Augustine picked up the book of Romans and read it his life was changed.

Martin Luther’s transformation from anxious, laborious struggle to earn God’s love to the freeing experience of grace and John Wesley’s heart-warming experience of the assurance of God’s love and the complete trustworthiness of God came from being immersed in scripture.

So important was scripture for John Wesley that the scholar who had read hundreds and hundreds of books claimed to be “a man of one book.”  Of the Bible, he said, “O give me that book!  At any price, give me the book of God!  I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri (a man of one book).  Here then I am, far from the busy ways of man. I sit down alone: only God is here. In his presence I open, I read his book; for this end, to find the way to heaven.”

The Bible can be for us a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

There is a lot of theology woven in to hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet”. I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. List to this hymn on SoundCloud.

Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.

I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!

Grace and Peace,


Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor

Here’s more about this passage of scripture via Upper Room devotionals:

HAPPILY EVER AFTER

I can always rely on God’s presence in my life.

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“Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet”

1. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path.

When I feel afraid, think I’ve lost my way,
still you’re there right beside me,
and nothing will I fear as Iong as you are near.
Please be near me to the end.

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

2. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path.

I will not forget your love for me,
and yet my heart forever is wandering.
Jesus, be my guide and hold me to your side,
and I will love you to the end.

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

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