I told you that I spent some time alone in Scotland recently. What I didn’t tell you was about the night I laid in bed in the middle of nowhere while 110-120 mph winds tore at the cabin so ferociously that I was prompted to lean over and grab my phone to ask google:”Do cabin roofs blow off in 120 mph winds”- which is when I learned that I had lost power and with it any connection I had to the outside world. No cell phone. No internet. No electricity. No water. Just Fabs and God and some sheep on a hill (if they survived the storm).
Light. Sort of something we take for granted. Something we assume will be there. We never think about it until it’s gone and we realize there is no way to go forward without it.
The 16 hours I spent without power were on my mind today when God spoke to me in a way that I am more sure of then if He had parted the Heavens and I had heard Him audibly:
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV)
God wants us to pay attention to His Word, which Peter says is more reliable than even the time he heard God speak audibly to heaven in the presence of Jesus Christ. Because it’s from God. All of it. Not from men, but from God. It’s God speaking to us.
So we should pay attention to it. We should pay attention to it in the same way we would pay attention to a ‘lamp shining in a dark place.’
Let me tell you a few of things about how you pay attention to a lamp in a dark place based on my recent experience:
1. You pay attention with urgent dependency.
In a dark place, a lamp is critical. It is something you depend upon. Without it, nothing can be done. You can’t find food, you can’t move around, you can’t do anything. I didn’t forget that I needed light. The lamp was the first thing I thought about because it was necessary if I wanted to make anything else possible.
What would it look like to pay attention to God’s Word with this same kind of urgent dependency? Imagine if we woke up in the morning reaching out through this present darkness – grasping and needy for His light; dependen upon it to see our way in this world.
2. You pay attention in advance.
When daylight dawned in the cabin the morning after the storm, the first thing I did was plan for when the sun would set. You have to plan in the light for what you will need in the dark.
Seasons are coming for you – seasons filled with the darkness of doubt, or suffering, or sin. And once the darkness hits it will be extremely difficult to remember where the light is. It will be close to impossible to figure out how God’s lamp works when you can’t even see one foot ahead.
God’s Word will need to be with you already – hidden in your heart, ready to shine in the darkness to light your way.
3. You pay attention to what the light shines on.
You don’t light a lamp so that you can stare at it. You don’t light a lamp to worship it. You light a lamp so you can see the thing you want to worship.
People often ask me about idolatry of the Word. Is there a way to pay too much attention to it? Never. Because by it we see Him. By it we see our way in this world. By it is we find our way to Him.
But there is a way to make studying the Bible an academic pursuit, and that is the same as lighting a lamp in the dark simply to stare at its glow.
If we listen to God’s Words and study them and turn them over and over and seek to understand them, but do not walk away changed by them and do not walk toward Him, then we are like the foolish man who built his house on the sand.
Pay attention to the lamp you have been given. Depend on it, steward it well and let it lead your feet to the throne of the One your soul longs to see.