PSALM 84:4-8: “Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah” ESV
OBSERVATION: Am I being transformed through praise? The Psalmist proclaims both the importance of being with God’s people and the power of praise as we journey through the most difficult times of life. When we are facing great difficulty or sorrow, it does not seem natural to think of offering praise. Yet, it is our willingness to offer the sacrifice of praise to the Lord in these time that brings about a marvelous and miraculous transformation in our lives.
- “Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!”
There is something about being in the presence of God with God’s people that lifts us up and gives us strength. I can sing and offer praises to the Lord alone in my home or car, but it is never the same as when I am surrounded by hearts of faith that are lifting up their voices to worship and praise the One who was, and is, and is to come. At that moment I am transformed from a “me” focus to a “God” focus. I am reminded that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And my spirit is renewed in faith as I put my trust in Him!
- “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.”
The Psalms speak over and over again about the journey of the Jews toward Jerusalem in anticipation of the festivals and coming to the Temple to worship. This journey to us speaks of the journey of life. There are times when this journey is filled with victory and celebration. And there are times when this journey is filled with sorrow and weeping. The Valley of Baca is only mentioned in this Psalm. It can be translated the Valley of Weeping from the Hebrew. Many believe it was not a literal place, but a figurative one, much like the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
The Psalmist proclaims that something wonderful transpires as one of God’s children offers the sacrifice of praise in the valley of weeping. The very tears that are shed are transformed into a place of springs. From a dry and desolate desert an oasis is born. It is praise that waters this desert through our tears. It transforms the soil of our hearts and allows the fruit of God’s grace to take root in our lives. And the springs become pools of refreshing so that not only are we restored, but the Lord then begins to use our lives to restore others.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV
- “They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!”
I love the hope that is found in this verse! Our lives in the Lord are a continual transformation from strength to strength. Through a life of praise I am transformed. Each situation in my life is redeemed by the grace of God. He takes even the worst life has to offer and works it for the good in my life. Each mountain I climb does not sap away my strength, it strengthens me as I learn to place my trust in the Lord. And here is the best part of all – I reach my final destination! The Psalmist says – “…each one appears before God in Zion.”
What a wonderful picture of God’s faithfulness in our life. He who has begun a good work in us has also promised to complete this work. As we walk through the pathways of life we have a reason to give God praise. Called to walk with God’s people, we are never alone, we are always surrounded by our brothers and sisters in the Lord. There is mutual love and encouragement through His Church. And, we have the blessed assurance that He always hears our prayers. This is why the Apostle Paul can proclaim,
- “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18 ESV
The transforming call of a life of praise is never a solitary call. It is a c all to God’s people as they pilgrimage through life. It is a call to the Church to be a house of prayer and healing. It is a call to encourage one another with the same comfort and encouragement that we have received from the Lord. It is the blessed assurance that even when we walk through the Valley of Weeping we will be restored. We will meet joy in the morning as we learn to offer to the Lord the sacrifice of praise.
Lord, transform the dry places in my life into springs of life, into pools of restoration, as I pilgrimage through life, offering to You the sacrifice of praise.
In Jesus Name!