Back when I was a lot younger we would travel on vacation by car most of the time, and we weren’t against going long distances. It helped that gas prices were closer to a buck a gallon rather than bouncing back and forth between three and four dollars. There were a number of times that I would work until 11 o’clock on a Friday evening then we’d jump in the car and take off for Florida or Colorado, driving all night long. This was back when we were living in Wisconsin. Actually, it wasn’t all that long ago, about 8 years, that we took off Spokane headed for California on a Friday night after the late news at 11:00pm. I have to honestly say that those days of “all-nighters” are in the past for me. I don’t think that I can do it safely anymore and I certainly don’t want to try. I still like to drive, but I would much rather do it in the light of day from here on out. I like the light. It’s much easier to travel safely in the light.
It is much easier to navigate the road of life if we travel in the light as well. Throughout Scripture there a large number of references to light and darkness, and to living and walking in the light. The Apostle John speaks of Jesus as the Light of the world. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5) If Jesus, the Son of God, is light then the darkness is the exact opposite…the lack of light. Darkness represents evil. It represents the devil. Darkness is being separated, apart, from God. That’s a dangerous place to be. Later in the Gospel of John (11:9b-10) Jesus says “A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light." He uses these words as a metaphor for our spiritual life. Moving forward in darkness is dangerous and foolish as we will likely head in the wrong direction, get lost and face injury and death. Jesus, the Word made flesh, is the Light that we are to walk in. Remaining connected to Him through His Word is the best way to stay in the light, and to travel the road of life safely. Back in the Psalms, 119 verse 105, we see the familiar passage “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (King James Version) The Word of God, the Bible, acts as the light that can guide us safely along our journey through life in this world with our ultimate destination of arriving home, in the arms of Jesus in His heavenly kingdom. The Word of the Lord is the wisdom that God provides for us in this world that we are to read, meditate on, understand and apply to every part of our life. The Word of the Lord is not something that we just crack open on Sunday mornings for an hour or two and then ignore the other 166 hours of the week, forgetting what it tells us and forgetting to apply it to our everyday lives. It’s the wisdom that God provides for us to use at all times and in all situations.
The Old Testament prophet Hosea leaves us with these words at the very end of his book. “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” (14:9) Hosea was God’s prophet to His rebellious people in the northern kingdom Israel in the 8th century BC. Throughout this book he speaks of God’s coming judgment on the people due their sins of rejecting the true God and worshiping idols. He has the same message for us, that judgment and punishment will come upon all those who turn away from God, and that restoration and life will come to those who turn toward Him and walk in His ways, “in the light”. The wise and discerning will know and understand the Word of the Lord. The wise and discerning will know Jesus, the Son of God, having a living faith and trust in Him for salvation. The righteous…those made right by God through the cross, the death of Jesus for our sin…walk in the light. We walk with Jesus. The rebellious travel the road of life in complete darkness, separated from the light. Their destination is an eternity of darkness, separated from God in a place of unchecked evil.
I remember an old saying that was framed and on the wall of a little cabin on lake in northern Wisconsin that we used to go to every summer for vacation when I was a kid. It said “We get too soon old, and too late smart”. Maybe now that I’m older I’ve gotten a bit smarter and prefer to travel by day…in the light.