Thursday, May 11, 2023
When I was a child, I remember thinking that three-way light bulbs were pretty cool. I can’t find any reference on the internet to when the first 3-way bulb was introduced, but it seemed like they were fairly new when I was a kid. Any of you that are older than me remember having them?
I was fascinated by the way you could change how much light came out of one bulb just by turning the switch. I remember the two 3-way lamps in the living room of our house, and how my dad would constantly ask if we really needed the light to be that bright. He loved saving money. I liked playing with the lamps.
Now they have dimmer switches for everything with infinite possibilities, but somehow, it’s just not the same for me. You see, with dimmer switches, it’s too easy to just leave it on full and forget we actually have the ability to change the brightness. But with three-way switches, we have to go through all of the levels to get back to off, thus reminding us with each use of the opportunity for cost savings and mood creation.
I see a correlation to three-way lamps in today’s section of Psalm 119.
Psalm 119:159 “See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your love.”
Three times the Psalmist uses the phrase “preserve my life,” and each time a little more light is shed on our relationship with our heavenly Father. Look at the three verses with me:
- 154 Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise.
- 156 Your compassion is great, O LORD; preserve my life according to your laws.
- 159 See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your love.
Each time the Psalmist asks God to preserve his life, it is for a different reason, and each request reveals a brighter intensity of the relationship.
- Preserve my life because you promised to.
- Preserve my life because you are just.
- Preserve my life because you love me.
A thorough reading of verses 153 through 160 reveals that the Psalmist is in trouble. He is suffering at the hands of enemies who are persecuting him. He asks for deliverance and redemption. He asks for his life to be restored to a place of security. In the darkness of the day, he remembers that there is a light that will surround him with safety so he reaches for the switch and turns it on.
“Preserve my life because you promised to, and you cannot break a promise.”
After spending a few moments letting his eyes adjust to the light that now brings hope to his heart based on the remembrance of God’s promises, he turns the switch one more time.
“Preserve my life because you are just, and everything is happening according to your laws. Those who break your laws are guaranteed to be held accountable to you, and those who live in righteous obedience to your laws will be rewarded.”
He confesses his personal failure to obey God’s laws, and the compassion and forgiveness that sweep over his soul restore his faith in God and His justice. The light shines brighter in his heart as he gives thanks for God’s grace and releases his plans for vengeance to the One who is the final Judge.
He turns the switch once more.
“Preserve my life because you love me, and I love you. Everything that has happened has been approved by your love for me to bring me to a place of rest in your arms.”
The light can shine no brighter than this. If we are not content with the love of God, and turn the switch again, all will become dark. The promises of God bring some light. The grace and forgiveness of God bring more light. But the love of God is the full expression of His light to us. Jesus is the Light of the world, and when the Light of God’s love shines fully in our hearts, we need nothing more.