The Joy of the Pilgrims
Psalm 84:5, 6
Blessed is the man whose strength is in you; in whose heart are the ways of them.…

In these verses there is a blending of the real and the figurative; the actual journey towards Zion is represented as accompanied with ideal blessings of peace and refreshment. The poet has thought of the blessedness of those who dwell constantly in God's house. Now he thinks of the blessedness of those who are permitted to go there, and to tarry there for a while. And this leads him to recall what happy times he had known, even in the journeys to Jerusalem. Perowne says of the pilgrims to Zion, "Every spot of the familiar read, every station at which they have rested, lives in their heart. The path may be dry and dusty, through a lonely and sorrowful valley, but nevertheless they love it. The pilgrim band, rich in hope, forget the trials and difficulties of the way; hope changes the rugged and stony waste into living fountains." The valley of Baca was the valley which led up from Jordan toward Jerusalem, and whose famous balsam trees wept balms. The thought for our consideration is this - the hearts that are truly set on God, and filled with desire to join in God's worship, will cheerfully bear, and successfully master, all the difficulties that may be in their way. They make the very "valley of Baca" refreshing as a spring.

I. THE CHRISTIAN PILGRIM FINDS HIS WAY LIES THROUGH VALLEYS OF BACA. Two explanations of this valley are given. Some say it means "wet, marshy places;" others say, "dry, sandy places." Clearly it means something trying and difficult for pilgrims. We know well that there are difficulties in the way of our effort to live the godly life; valleys of Baca in our pilgrim route to the eternal temple of the holy.

1. There are valleys of weeping; sorrows, both outward and inward (valleys of balsam, or weeping).

2. Valleys of unrelieved want; desert places. Illustrate the ever-varied, ever-unquenchable thirst of the spiritual life.

II. A BRAVE, EARNEST SPIRIT WILL MAKE A WAY THROUGH THESE VALLEYS OF BACA. Times of trouble we must have, but everything depends on the spirit in which we approach them, and deal with them. The true heart is helped to triumph over the difficulties of the way, by keeping ever in mind the end it has in view. Lead on to show how the heaven of established holiness, and near communion with God, becomes the inspiration to overcoming the difficulties of the way.

III. GOD RESPONDS TO THE EARNEST MAN IN THE VALLEYS OF BACA. If they dig pools in the desert, God will be sure to fill them with his genial rains. God is to us in blessing as we are to him in trust. - R.T.

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.

Soul Strength
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