“Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion.”
“Are we there yet?”
Have you ever been on a long car ride and asked your parents, “Are we there yet?” (Or, have you been a parent or adult leader who had kids asking you that question?)
When we are in the middle of a long and wearying journey, the trip can feel like it is taking forever.
As I was researching Psalm 84, I became fascinated by some of the terms the author uses. We know that a reference to Zion is referring to heaven or eternal life. This gives us a beautiful picture in verse 5, “Blessed are those…in whose hearts are the highways to eternal life.” (italics mine).
What is the author talking about when he refers to The Valley of Baca? Further research points to a number of possibilities. One commentary said the way to Jerusalem, where people would come to worship, was through dry and sandy valleys. These valleys were so dry people would dig wells to catch rain water lest they die of thirst along the journey. This showed the importance of the journey to worship, that people were willing to risk so much to travel to Jerusalem to worship in the holy city.
Other commentaries said these valleys were dry until the rainy season made them so flooded they were impassable without trenching. The valleys were called the watery or weeping valleys.
Yet another source said the Valleys of Baca were the garbage pit of the city, with city garbage as well as old animal carcasses piled high, and travelers had to pass through the muck and stench on their way in and out of the city.
Regardless of the exact definition, we get a clear picture that the Valley of Baca is the pits. As one of my friends said, “The way my life is going lately, I’d call it the Valley of Caca.” I think most of us can relate!
As Christians, our hearts hold heaven as our final destination. But in the meantime, we are going to go through some Valleys of Baca along the way. We aren’t there yet.
Our hope is in the first section of verse 5, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you.” God doesn’t leave us wandering around out in the pits of muck. We find our strength in Him. Praise God!
Lord, sometimes life is the pits. I feel like I go through one valley after another. Forgive me for the many times I try to go it alone instead of turning to You for help. Thank you for continually being there for me when I cry to you for help. In Jesus’ name, Amen.