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Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in Zion.
~ Psalm 84:5-7

 

read the following from from a youversion note HERE – i think it captures the heart of this passage beautifully (and expanded my knowledge base about the Valley of Tears – adding more layers and meaning!)

Psalm 84 is a Traveller’s Song – travellers heading to Jerusalem. Every Jewish male was required to worship at the temple at least three times a year if at all possible. For many families, it was the highlight of the year, to be able to go to Jerusalem and see the sights and sounds of the big city, to be able to enter into the temple and see the splendour of it.

Many travelled great distances and endured hardship to be able to make it to Jerusalem. The way was sometimes discouraging, so they would sing and worship as they travelled. Psalm 84 expresses the traveller’s deep longing for the presence of God, to be in His house, to be in His courts, and to dwell in His presence during a very difficult journey through the Valley of Baca.

The Valley of Baca, also called the Valley of Bochin in Judges, was the only passageway into the high hills where Israel’s Cities of Refuge were located. Besides travellers heading to Jerusalem – there would be those who were searching for safety from those who were pursuing him because of an accidental death or some inadvertent sin that they had committed; they would have to travel this valley too to find refuge and safety in the House of God or the Cities of Refuge.

The Valley of Baca was part of the desert country. The valley was filled with thorns, wild animals, pitfalls, vipers and all sorts of danger. In addition, there were wells of water but they were often far apart and hard to get to. It was nearly impossible to travel this valley without facing extreme hardship and suffering. That is why the Valley of Baca was named because it literally means “Valley of Tears”.

Those who travelled this valley did not find relief until they reached their final destination. The dangers of the valley of Baca were real and relentless and threatening until they finally went through the gates of the city where safety was finally found.

This was the place where Hagar and Ishmael wandered after Abraham sent them away. Hagar was Sarah’s servant who became Abraham’s concubine who gave Abraham his first born child. Hagar, out of water, left her boy near a tree and walked a few feet away because she did not want to see her boy die. God heard her weeping in the valley and showed her where she could find the water she needed.

Abraham travelled through Valley of Tears as God led him to the mountaintop to sacrifice his only son upon the altar as a symbol of his faith and obedience to God – but God had a well prepared for Abraham and provided a ram for the sacrifice. (A great picture of our substitution sacrifice through the Lord Jesus Christ for our sin)

Moses travelled the Valley of Tears as he fled into the wilderness; he dug a well. He rebuilt his relationship with God and drank from the pool of water that the rain of God provided and became the great leader of the Children of Israel.

Job travelled the “Valley of Tears” as Satan was allowed to strip away everything that God had blessed Job with; Job came to a well in the valley. Job drank from the well of the living water and God restored to him many times more than what he had lost.

The Philistines invaded Judah and were defeated in the Valley of Baca by King David. The Philistines were giants but God gave David the victory.

David also travelled in the “Valley of Tears” when he failed God numerous times, even having an illegitimate son from another man’s wife and watching God take that son away from him because of his sin. David found the well there – the rain of God that filled his heart. He called upon God once again to forgive and restore him. God still called David a man after God’s own heart even through all of David’s failures.

I have travelled through in the Valley of Tears many times; each difficult journey God has placed in my path His deep well to draw from. Without those pools of spiritual water – those times of refreshment that come from the Lord – I would be unable to make it – for the journey in the valley is too hard and I am too weak.

There is nothing too hard for God. There is nothing He cannot do. He knows how to meet my every need.

 

Finding the wells in the Valley of Tears requires a few things.

1. Faith-I have to believe God’s Word and His promises.

2. Trust-I have to trust Him in order to "give Him the reins" and to walk in obedience-even when it gets darker – no matter how long it takes.

3. Obedience-Doing what God wants me to do and doing it His way, whether it makes sense or not, whether I want to or not; whether I like it or not.

4. Gratitude-Paul and Silas praised the Lord in the prison cell, in the darkness, after the beating, and with the shackles on. In the same way, going through that valley, I can thank God that I’m passing through and not a permanent resident. I can thank God that He’s with me in the valley. I can thank Him for His unfailing and unchanging love, mercy, and grace.

5. Praise-I can testify to God’s goodness and power in my life by my praise in the midst of the valley; not only with words and psalms/songs – But I can testify to God’s goodness and power in my life through my faith, trust, obedience, gratitude and joy. When my joy in and over the Lord remains through the valley, I make it a place of springs and pools because that joy overflows from Christ in me.

 

from youversion note HERE

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