Reading the Word
Psalm 84:5–8 (ESV)
5 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. 8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
Understanding and Applying the Word
The words in these verses describe a pilgrimage to the temple. The opening verses (vv. 1-4) described the wonder of being in the presence of God, so here we find a description of the reward of the journey to get there. There is a progression in the journey along the highway from the Valley of Baca to the place of springs. The meaning of the word “Baca” is “shrubs” and pictures a dry desert region.
The imagery of this psalm is quite striking. It describes the pilgrimage to the presence of God as one that takes the traveler through the difficulty of the desert and brings her to a place of abundance, a place of springs. As pilgrims in the world, we understand that we may have to go through trials and difficulties before we reach our destination. But our destination is an eternity in the presence of God and it is described as a new creation where there is no more pain or suffering and where there is life abundant (Revelation 21-22). What a day that will be when our journey is over and we stand in the presence of God! For now, we are pilgrims on the way.
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