The Valley of Baca
Psalm 84:5-7
Blessed is the man whose strength is in you; in whose heart are the ways of them.…

"The pilgrim band," says Perowne, "rich in hope, forget the trials and difficulties of the way. Hope changes the rugged and stony waste into living fountains. The vale blossoms as if the sweet rain of heaven had covered it with blessings. Hope sustains them at every step. From station to station they renew their strength as they draw nearer the end of their journey, till at last they appear before God." Delight in the end is thus described as rendering the way to it, however toilsome in itself, delightful too. A deep religious sentiments-such is the thought — has power to change the mind's estimate of things without, and thus to render the painful pleasant and the pleasant doubly blest.

I. WE MAY SEE THIS IN THE INCREASED INTEREST WHICH SPIRITUAL RELIGION IMPARTS TO THE IDEA OF LIFE, AND THE VIEW OF THE PRESENT WORLD. What the sun is to the earth, God is to the souls of His rational creatures. The soul has an atmosphere which behoves to be filled with Heaven's own sunlight. We cannot be blessed without Him. It is the opening of the eye upon His glory that changes the aspect of existence (Psalm 36:9).

II. WE MAY TRACE THIS FURTHER, IN REFERENCE TO THE EXERCISES AND DUTIES OF RELIGION. See Hannah — with what joy she anticipated the day when she should perform her vow. See that student in a far-off land toiling at the acquisition of a foreign and sometimes barbarous tongue, presenting little when acquired to gratify his taste, and nothing to gain for him the world's renown, but one in which he may be able to "preach "among the heathen the "unsearchable riches of Christ!"

III. THE SAME PRINCIPLE APPLIES TO THE SADNESS AND SUFFERING THROUGH WHICH GOD MAY LEAD. The very thought is sustaining, that affliction, instead of "rising out of the dust, or springing forth out of the ground," comes from the hand of God. But this is not all. Piety, devout feeling towards God, looks at the ends to be attained by Divine dealings. It is to pass through the crucible of the Almighty refiner. It is to receive the discipline of "the Father of Spirits."

IV. THIS EXTENDS ALSO TO THE HOUR OF DEATH. Humanity shrinks from dissolution; but religious feeling sustains even there, for now the aspect of death is changed. It is dissolution to the body, but it is emancipation to the soul. And it is the passage to life. It is the gateway home to God, to the fatherland, to the joys unutterable and eternal.

(E. T. Prust.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

WEB: Blessed are those whose strength is in you; who have set their hearts on a pilgrimage.

The Vale of Tears
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