The Journey Of Your Life
Blessed are those whose strength is in You,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
There are different kinds of journeys in life. We take vacations. We make special trips, like trips to historical places or to the city. Those who have gone on mission trips have gone on a journey, Missionary Journeys like Paul, the apostle. A trip to the Holy land is referred to as a pilgrimage.
We call the grief group online, The Blessed Hope Grief Journey.
There are the journeys of an education, the journey of learning a trade, apprentice and journeyman, master.
But life itself is a journey. I like what our District Superintendent said last week about wanting to help people age well and really enjoy and serve the LORD in the latter part of their journey.
The Word of God presents life as a journey. No other passage as the one we are looking at this morning captures the journey of life like this one.
Pilgrimage is the Christian’s life journey to the Kingdom of Heaven or the way that God has set for us.
It begins with the word "Blessed" One of the beatitudes. You have the ones Jesus began His Sermon on the Mount with and then there are others in the scriptures. This word comes from a root word which means to make progress, to go on and be happy.
Life can be a crescendo of glory. If you walk with the LORD, serve Him with all your heart, live by faith, share that faith with others... what Solomon said in Proverbs 4.18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
This passage as we have seen in our Bible Reading this week and in the Bible Studies shows that the path to heaven is filled with blessings but also has it shares of difficulties and struggles and pain.
We fight the good fight of the faith Paul tells us in his letter to Timothy, his son in the Gospel. I Timothy 6.12
Life is a journey. Blessed are those whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. The focus of those whose main concern is the spiritual, eternal Kingdom Of God.
Let's look at this journey of life.
1. The Blessings of This Journey -v.5
Our Strength is in the LORD.
He had all power and all authority in heaven and on earth. Our strength comes from Him.
It comes from walking with Him in communion, from drawing strength from His Word and His Spirit and prayer.
He enables us to move.
‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.' Acts 17.28
Our Hearts are set on pilgrimage.
To exalt, to lift up to sing
Our journey, our pilgrimage
By following Jesus our lives are brought to a higher plane, a higher level
This is why we are above many of the consequences of personal sin.
It is an upward journey. We are marching to Zion, an old hymn, based on these verses:
Come we that love the Lord,
and let our joys be known;
join in a song with sweet accord,
and thus surround the throne.
We’re marching to Zion,
beautiful, beautiful Zion.
We’re marching upward to Zion,
the beautiful city of God.
Upward... Heaven, The Highway Of Holiness in this life, above living in sin, above the low base places where sin abounds, above doubts and fears.
The blessings along this journey also include singing. Pilgrimage also means as we stated to lift in song. Another old song:
Singing I Go
Singing I go along life’s road,
Praising the Lord, praising the Lord,
Singing I go along life’s road,
For Jesus has lifted my load.
The passing days bring many cares,
“Fear not,” I hear Him say,
And when my fears are turned to prayers,
The burdens slip away.
He tells me of my Father’s love,
And never slumb’ring eye,
My everlasting King above
Will all my needs supply.
While this journey is filled with blessings, sometimes Joy Unspeakable and it is an upward climb there are also valleys along the path that leads to heaven.
2. The Valley of Baca Becomes A Place of Springs. -v.6
Baca = "weeping"
a valley in Israel
Many identify it as the Valley of Achor or Rephaim
We go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death
We go through Valleys which make us weep.
Tears are the “bitter water” flowing out as a result of distressful circumstances, while the sweet water from the spring is to quench people’s thirst. It means when we are walking in the way of the cross, our tears do not flow in vain; they will eventually become a source of blessing. When we cooperate with God, accepting all circumstances with a heart of thanksgiving, and not resisting God's plan for us, our tears shall become sweet spring water.
We have talked about many who have done this.
When we have learned our lessons, we shall be a source of comfort to those who are going through sufferings. Like the autumn rains becoming pools to quench the thirst of birds and animals. This is a picture of “sweetness coming after bitterness”, as in the story of Ruth.
Death can come expectedly or out of the natural order. It can swoop in and leave us very changed. Crushing experiences bring out sweetness or bitterness. Make it sweet!
Let's never forget that this all began with a mouse.
Autumn rains... traditionally dry season
As we walk with the LORD we are refreshed in our most difficult times and then we eventually refresh others. We find by doing that we are refreshed.
3. Along The Way -v.7
Strength is given for each day and situation.
Promises of strength
Our strength will equal our days. Deuteronomy 33.25
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I am the LORD, there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you. Isaiah 45.5
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58.11
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Psalm 18:32 It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
Psalm 46.1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
We will appear before the LORD at this journey's end.
Part of the joy of this journey is what God has waiting in the end. We know what we are journeying to and how much of our life there will be a reflection of our living for the LORD here.
The judgment of Christ.
The rewards in heaven.
Eternity with Him.
Faith will become sight.
No more death, crying or pain.
If you are feeling a little bad about your journey...
* One of the world’s greatest missionaries, David Livingstone consecrated his whole life for evangelizing in Africa. He lived a life of poverty and self-sacrifice, opened up the African continent to the gospel, sowing much seed, and was used greatly by God to awaken England for missions. Yet during his 23rd year on the mission field, Livingstone expressed an awful doubt believing that his ministry had been all in vain and that the mission societies were bearing no fruit after 23 years of labor. Although, in his earthly years of ministry, his labor seemed outwardly to be fruitless and ineffective, but as he persevered in being faithful in the work that God had entrusted him to do, Livingstone became a seed that fell to the ground and died, bearing much fruit in opening the mission door to Africa. Multitudes were saved because of the seeds that he sowed.
Life can be a crescendo of glory. We can be shining ever brighter until the full light of day. Maybe you have been struggling a bit. Maybe this morning God is speaking to your heart about your own journey. We can change courses. We can set our hearts with the Spirit leading to journey the rest of the way as the LORD wants us to.