By Brooke Holt
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.” – Psalm 84:5-7
Charles Spurgeon referred to Psalm 84 as the sweetest of all the psalms. Throughout the psalm, we read of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. What kept a pilgrim on the dangerous roads for hundreds of miles? Only the desire to be in the sanctuary of the Lord and to worship his king. There was a driving desire that empowered the travelers to press on despite hardship, exhaustion, hunger, and uncertainty.
That desire, that joy captivates us as we read and somehow, we are prone to make light of the journey. We forget all the travails and focus only on the joy and blessing of being with the Lord. While there is some merit to that, we miss the lesson of the journey. While a life of faith is always a blessing, it is not always easy. And therein lies the value of verses five through seven. In the struggles of the journey, the Lord is eager and able to meet us. The psalmist says that he strengthens us when we look to him. Again, it does not say the path will be easy, but that God will transform the challenges. The Valley of Baca was thought to be a dry and barren area, a land in which it may be quite hot for the traveler and difficult to find water. Yet, in that place, the Lord brought rains in such abundance that pools were filled.
There are many preachers and teachers today who will speak only of God’s blessings in the life of a Christian. Yet, the way of Jesus was Gethsemane and the cross. Why did Jesus choose such obedience? “For the joy that was set before him” (Hebrews 12:2). While his road was not easy, Jesus endured the hardships and overcame them for you. You were the joy set before him. You were and are worth his suffering.
As you delight yourself in him, you, too, will find strength for your own journey and trials. When you seek him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you will find yourself strengthened in your inner being. That strength may not obliterate the trials but will provide what you need through those trials.
Through the power and presence of the Lord, you will go from strength to strength until you appear before his throne and see him face to face. Then, every trial will disappear; every struggle will be forgotten, and you will know the joy of glory! Until then, keep looking to him and allowing him to make your way in this journey.
How do you need to experience the strengthening of the Lord today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week small group Bible study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
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