February 3, 2021

Valley of Baca

Psalm 84:5-8

5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,

Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.

6      As they pass through the Valley of Baca,

They make it a spring;

The rain also covers it with pools.

7      They go from strength to strength;

Each one appears before God in Zion.

8      O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;

Give ear, O God of Jacob!

We are on a journey, a pilgrimage if you will. For those of us who are saved and know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, from the moment we were saved up until this very day we are on the road that leads to heaven. Peter says we are mere strangers and pilgrims down here.

Those who do not know Jesus as Savior, are on a road that will end with a different destiny. The Bible says they are on the broad road that leads to destruction, a place the Bible calls hell.

I realize it is not politically correct to be “narrow minded” to believe there is a place called heaven and a place called hell and that the only way to escape hell and go to heaven is to trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. But, for me, I would much rather be Biblically Correct than politically correct.

The bottom line, we are travelling on a road in this life and we need to decide now where this road will take us.

For me, I am glad I am on the road that leads to heaven. The road has not always been easy mind you. I have climbed mountains and I have walked through many valleys.

Psalm 84 speaks to this very thing. This Psalm shares of the journey of a pilgrim seeking to make their way to Jerusalem to worship in the temple.

It is a picture of us today of our journey here on this earth, living day in and day out, seeking to worship the Lord. All the while knowing that we too are headed to a place called heaven, the New Jerusalem if you will, where we will worship God for all eternity.

The writer makes an interesting statement in the middle of this Psalm that for those on this pilgrimage, we will encounter a valley, not just any valley, but gives us the name of the valley, the Valley of Baca.

When you dig a little deeper, you will find that there is not an actual valley by that name in the land of Israel. However, the valley does exist, for every pilgrim. Let me explain.

The name Baca can be translated the valley of tears or valley of weeping. In other words, there may not be an exact location on a map, but I think we can all agree there was then and there are now and there will always be valleys of weeping and tears until we come to the end of our journey.

Along this journey to worship God, just like those who journeyed years ago in the land of Israel, we will encounter valleys of weeping and tears on our path to our destination.

Places and moments when the way gets hard and the burdens get heavy. A moment of weeping because of sickness, stress and/or overwhelming sorrow. It might be a tragedy that happens, a loved one passes, financial problems, family issues or even depression and anxiety. No matter what you want to call this place or this moment, it is a valley of Baca, a valley of weeping.

But I love how the writer goes on to tell us, in the words of the famous radio commentator Paul Harvey, the rest of the story.

The writer reminds us that after going through the valley, we can come out on the other side and find life giving water and refreshment from the Lord sending the spring rain into our empty wells which will allow us to go from strength to strength.

Here are a few key truths we can pull from this passage to help us in our journey!

(1) I am a pilgrim on a journey. This world is the place where I live right now, but I am only a temporary resident. I am on my way to Heaven, my eternal home that is beyond description and beyond belief.

(2) There will be Valleys of Weeping along the way. These valleys are a part of life. Remember, with every mountain, there will be valleys. But also remember, the greatest growth does not come on the mountain but in the valleys.

(3) The writer in describing this journey gives us the greatest news – “pass through the valley of Baca”, which means I am not meant to stay in the valley, it is only for a season and I will make my way through it. It is not a permanent dwelling. It may feel like at it at the time, but this promise is true, I am passing through it. PTL!

(4) On the other side, God will allow that valley to become a blessing. What I learned and the things I went through were not for nothing. God worked in me as I passed through the valley in such a way that now as I make it to the other side, I am now refreshed and renewed because out of the valley of weeping came a spring of joy and refreshment. Only God can turn my weeping into springs and wells of rejoicing.

(5) He will bring the rain and fill my parched soul. See when you go through the valley of weeping, by the time you have walked through it, you soul can become empty because you have wept out all the reserves you had. The Psalmist says – on the other side, God can bring the spring (refreshing) rain to fill your empty soul. He cleaned out the well in the valley and will now fill it with fresh water!! Praise His name!!

(6) Now others can drink from my spring and well because of what I went through in the valley. We can now be a blessing to others because of the valley we went through, we can now help others as they go through the valley of weeping. Often, our valley matches their valley and as a result we can say – you will make it out and until you do, here is some fresh water from my well that God gave me on my way out!! Again, wow!!

(7) God will allow us to go from strength to strength after going through the valley. If we will allow God to work in us as we pass though the valley, we can come out stronger and go forward from strength to strength. God helps us and renews us as we continue the journey!

These verses are very personal to me. Over the last few years, it has seemed like the valley of Baca was more than just a season. I know I am not alone after the past year.

But, in God’s grace He has walked me and my family through this valley and again, by His grace we are being refreshed and renewed by the spring rains from heaven. And dear friend, if you know Him as your Savior and Lord, I know He has and He will do the same for you!

“Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come, tis grace that brought me safe this far, and grace will lead me home!”

Amen! Amazing Grace!

In his song Hills and Valleys, Tauren Wells reminds us “He is the God of the hills and valleys and we are not alone!” Amen! (I have placed both songs, Amazing Grace and Hills and Valleys below, pray they be a blessing.)

Today, if you feel like you are right in the middle of Valley of Weeping, stay the course child of God, you are just passing through!  God is preparing a refreshing rain to fill your dry well on the other side. Until that time, you are not alone!!

Pastor Michael