Lamp of the Lord
Proverbs 20:27 (ESV) – The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts.
Have you ever felt bad after saying something to someone? Have you ever left a conflict feeling like you didn’t handle yourself the right way? Maybe you got angry or were prideful. That feeling of wrongdoing is our conscience. It consistently points us in the right direction concerning our actions. It helps us to know if God is pleased with our words, thoughts, and deeds.
Our passage today highlights why we all have this inner compass. The proverb gives us insight into why all people have an internal guide on right and wrong. We read, “The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts.”
The spirit of man here is referring to the breath of God given to humanity. God breathed the breath of life into man and gave us a spirit. Humans are unlike other creatures. The spirit of man is a lamp of the LORD. Some translations say, “is the candle of the Lord.” This is the conscious human soul that illumines our direction. The “candle of the Lord” gives mankind an inward light and guide. This is our conscience. The law of the Lord is written on our hearts, and we know what pleases God and what doesn’t.
The proverb continues by saying “searching all his innermost parts.” This candle or lamp tests all our thoughts, feelings, and desires against God’s Word. Some are approved, and others are condemned. The “innermost parts” is often translated “the belly” or “the heart.” The gist and meaning are who we are on the inside. The true us is not simply what we present externally to others, but the heart. God sees the heart and judges the heart. But we are not left without knowledge of our true condition. We have this candle and lamp within that is meant to guide us along the proper path.
Does this mean every internal feeling we have is accurate? No. We want to listen to our consciences about things, but we always want to make sure they line up with Scripture. Let your conscience direct you but make a habit of testing your instincts against God’s Word. Just because you feel justified in something you did doesn’t mean you’re right. Likewise, just because you feel guilty about something doesn’t always mean that’s an accurate feeling. Test these inclinations against Scripture but remember that the candle within us is given by God and is there to help us.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is the conscience referred to as a candle or lamp?
- What are examples in your life where your conscience guided you?
- How do we make sure that our consciences are not erring?
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