April 6, 2020
Another Trek, Another Test,
Another Triumph !
Our title expresses what the author of
Psalm 84 had in mind: his annual trek to
the festival of Tabernacles in
With his heart set on spending time in
God's courts, he set out to Jerusalem
annually. But on his way to tabernacle
with God he met trouble.
That trouble came in the "Valley of
Baca," whose precise location is
disputed. Baca (lit., dripping; or
weeping) speaks of sadness, sorrow, even
grief. Perhaps this was the Valley of
Rephaim with its Baca trees that
"weeped" gum, or Ain el-Haramijeh, a
"gloomy narrow valley where brackish
water trickles out of the rocks," making
it a "valley of oozing water or tears"
(Zondervan EOB). Or perhaps it was
another valley without such physical
features in which pilgrims faced danger
from thieves or wild animals or
treacherous terrain, thus eliciting
their tears. We don't know.
But whatever the physical location or
difficulties of this historic "Baca," we
know it speaks of the sorrows of our
trials of faith. So on his way to
Tabernacles the psalmist experienced
something troublesome, something
sorrowful - showing us that to have
"tabernacles," we must have troubles
also. If we want the fullness of God we
must be willing to endure the troubles
But, surprise! Amid his sorrows this
pilgrim found refreshment, early rains
and clean pools filled with delicious
fresh water to slake his traveler's
thirst. (And we must remember, fresh
sweet water was such a great blessing in
Israel's typically arid land!) Thus,
God's grace was sufficient. What the
psalmist feared would become a place of
ruinous sorrows became instead "a place
of refreshing springs" (Ps. 84:6, NLT).
In the end, his trek through the valley
of sorrow became a transformative
He emerged refreshed, stronger, and
unintimidated - refreshed by drinking
heavenly water in a hellish valley,
strengthened by the growing anticipation
of being nearer God in Jerusalem, and
freed from his former fears of the
Valley of Baca! When he entered
Jerusalem he was a changed man -
transformed by trouble, strengthened by
sorrow, victorious in the valley. But
the forging of his faith wasn't
The same thing happened every year.
Every year he went through Baca
training. Every year he "passed through"
the Valley of Baca on his way to God's
courts. Every year he grew stronger and
more unafraid. Every year he became more
confident God would see him through that
valley to victory. Every year he grew
more convinced he would not fail in Baca
but flourish there, enjoying reviving
living waters daily. Thus, he wrote of
himself, "They will continue to grow
stronger" (84:7, NLT).
As the years passed, he became stronger
in faith in his unfailingly faithful
God. And his testimony at Tabernacles
also grew more convincing and gripping
to less experienced worshipers in the
way. As he spoke, they took heart. As he
expressed his faith, they abandoned
their fears. The more he cast his
vision, the more they set their hearts.
Sometimes we pass through Valleys of
Baca and sense we've been there before -
if not the same test, then a very
similar test or temptation or challenge.
Perhaps last month. Perhaps last year.
Perhaps several years ago. And we
wonder, why am I in this valley again?
it could be we've disobeyed there and,
like the Israelites, are lapping around
another time in the wilderness of sin.
But, if after honest self-examination we
can say that's not the reason, Psalm 84
is God's message to us. And a turning
Some weary ones cry, "Enough, God!" and
turn back. And Christ, sadly, lets them
go. But committed God-seekers like the
psalmist won't do this. They can't.
God's presence means more than their
pleasure. Walking with Him daily is
their imperative and everything else is
expendable. They must "tabernacle," or
live close to Him. For them, trouble is
not too great a price to pay for this.
Do you have that kind of heart?
How spiritually strong do you want to
be? Merely like Lot? Or like David,
Joseph, and Paul? How much kingdom fruit
do you wish to bear - forty, sixty, or
one hundredfold? How much spiritual
power do you want your counsel and
teaching to have? Do you want your
ministry to lift those who, discouraged
and offended, are failing in their
valleys and never learning to walk
closely with God, ever trekking toward
yet never arriving in God's courts?
don't terminate your trek! Many
Christian pilgrims with severe
traveler's thirst await a word of
encouragement, an insight from the
depths, a word of guidance in the dark,
an empowered prayer of deliverance,
through you! And you'll receive that
spiritual strength, that power to
minister, only in the valley.
So let your motto be, "Another trek,
another test, another triumph," or
"Another day, another dilemma, another
deliverance," and you are growing "the
stronger as you go." "Happy are they
who nerved by thee, set out on
pilgrimage! When they pass through
Weary-glen, fountains flow for their
refreshing, blessings rain upon them;
they are the stronger as they go"
(Psalm 84:5-7, Moffatt).
Trekking, triumphing, tabernacling,