The lamp that guides the wicked–haughty eyes and an arrogant heart–is sin. Proverbs 21:4 HCSB
Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 HCSB
Psalm 119:105 is a well-known verse, and rightly so. It has long been a motivation and comfort for God’s people to rely upon Him and His wisdom for guidance and righteousness.
I’ve never noticed Proverbs 21:4 before though, until I read it yesterday. I’m reading through Proverbs each month this year, and when I read Proverbs 21:4, I immediately thought of Psalm 119:105. They seem to be the obverse and reverse of the same coin.
Compare and contrast the two images:
- Both the wicked and the psalmist are guided by lamps.
- The wicked is guided by himself: it’s his eyes that are haughty and his heart that’s arrogant. The eyes and heart are his lamp.
On the contrary, the psalmist is guided by something outside of himself: Yahweh’s precious word.
- The wicked is characterized by pride: his lamp is his haughty eyes and arrogant heart. He trusts in himself to make his way along the path. He will not stoop to admitting weakness or need.
The psalmist is characterized by humility: he needs not only a lamp for his feet, but light for the path as well. He cannot see where to step now without help, and he cannot step any further along the path without help as well.
When we come to the Scriptures, we must do so as humble hearers and students who must be taught. We will not know truth, righteousness, goodness, or wisdom without the fear of Yahweh (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). That fear casts out arrogance and pride.
How precious is the gift of Yahweh’s word to us! More than that, how precious is His gift of Himself in the Word made flesh! More than that, how precious is the gift of Himself in the indwelling Spirit!