By John Simkins, Otley Prayer Network

Recently, this verse jumped out for me: Psalm 97:11 ‘Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart’. The Hebrew literally reads ‘light is sown’. My imagination took me to picture thinking of light ahead on my path and a phrase that has often popped up on my faith journey: ‘next step thinking’. I found a couple of photos. One has street lamps along a misty walkway. The nearest is quite bright. It’s just possible to see the next two, but dimly. Another has a footbridge ahead with a glow inviting me to cross over into the woods where the light is a pull for curiosity and trust.

Maybe you’ve got 2024 all planned! But, maybe many uncertainties. Perhaps you’ve got the direction but not the detail or timing. Maybe you share that sense across national and global news that the path ahead is at least misty, if not downright gloomy. And what about those who know nothing of the light-sower whom we trust?

This topic might remind us of many Bible verses. In the Old Testament, Isaiah 42:16 says ‘I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light’. David, in Psalm 18:28 wrote, as he considers what God has done for him though many hardships, ‘it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness’. The original of this in 2 Samuel 22:29 reads ‘YOU ARE MY LAMP, O Lord’.

Of course, the New Testament takes us beyond the pre-Christian times, when God kindly gave prophetic metaphor and visuals (like the Tabernacle candlestick), to Christ himself. Christ, ‘the life – the light of men – shines in the darkness – glory – full of grace and truth [John 1]. Jesus, ‘the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ [John 8].

Revelation 21:23 – the city ‘come down’ (v.2) ‘has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and ITS LAMP IS THE LAMB. Greek here for lamp is ‘light giver’. Let’s invite him to be the lamp for our next step thinking. The only other time this Greek word appears is in Philippians 2:15 – ‘among whom you shine as lights [lamps] in the world’. Maybe sometimes we can be a little ahead to help others on their way.

‘Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths’ [Psalm 25:4]. ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path [Psalm 119:105].

Lord, remind me to pray daily for your light-giving. What should I be doing? Who might I meet? Who can I shed a little light for on their journey?

[References from English Standard Version]