April 21, 2020
In Psalm 84 we read:
What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
Who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
The greatest privilege for an Israelite in the days that the Psalms was written was the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to draw near to God and appear before Him. Notice that the text says, joy and strength will come to those who have set their minds to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. By setting their minds on the purpose, the journey, they would have both joy and strength for the journey. They would have joy and strength that would carry them through the Valley of Weeping. What is the Valley of Weeping (or Baca, in other translations)? It is most likely that this wasn’t an actual geographical location but figurative. Warren Wiersbe, a well respected Bible scholar, describes the Valley of Weeping/Baca as “any difficult and painful place in life, where everything seems hopeless and you feel helpless, like ‘the pit of despair.’” So the point is, that when we set our minds on the pilgrimage, we will have joy and strength that will lead us through the difficult and painful times.
For the followers of Jesus, we don’t make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Rather, we draw near to the Lord. Jerusalem is the place where the Lord lived. Well, in the New Covenant, Jesus lives in us and we are in Him. Its when we set our minds on Him, and draw near to Him, He will draw near to us and we will experience His joy and His strength as we walk through our valleys of weeping. As we set our minds on things above, His peace will keep our hearts and minds in Him and we will grow stronger and we will be clothed with His blessings. And we will be refreshed. (See Colossians 3:1-4, 15-17)
Gracious Lord, thank you for the reminder that as I walk through the valley of weeping, through difficulties from the pandemic, or the horrors of violence or the stress of loneliness, all I need to do is set my mind on you. I choose this day to set my mind on you Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. And by submitting and surrendering all that I am to you, I receive by faith your strength and joy this day to walk through my valley and know that I will be refreshed, renewed and blessed. Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness, Holy Spirit empower me to be faithful to the Lord in all things so that He is glorified in all things. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.