Monday, January 16, 2006

Psalm 84:6

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

(NIV)


This verse is full of meaning.

First of all, the Valley of Baca, is probably figurative, referring to a desert like place. The word Baca could mean weeping, giving the idea that the Valley of Baca was a place of hardship and trial.

But remember in verse 5, how these are pilgrims that are on their way to the dwelling of God? How do the pilgrims respond to this valley of hardship? They respond by making it a place of springs.

Now a pilgrim cannot make a spring, only God can do that. But it makes you wonder... were the springs already there? Do they make it a place of springs because they are seeing this valley clearly?

The word Baca can also mean palms. The Valley of Palms sounds much better than the Valley of Weeping. Maybe when some traverse this arid plain all they see is the heat and despair... the weeping. But a pilgrim sees it more clearly. No, there may not be a bubbling brook flowing through this plain, and there may not be a lake or a pond nearby, but it is full of springs.

It could be that you need to know where to look to find these springs. Maybe it is only full of springs to those who know the way.

As we are pilgrims in this world, I am wondering how much it is like this valley. So many see it as a place of weeping, because it is full of hardship and trial, and so many times it truly is full of weeping. Even Jesus, while he walked this earth was known as the man of many sorrows.

But there are also springs here, if you know where to look for them. We will never be without the waters of life. We could see this place as a place of palms.

Notice also the end of the verse. The autumn rains are also coming. Suddenly it is no longer arid at all. Just when the heat of summer seems to have conquered... the autumn rains come in, making it a place of pools.

Now, if you look at most Bibles, you might find a note next to the word pools. This word has an unclear definition. It could mean pools, as in pools of water, but it could also mean blessing. Both definitions seem to fit, and maybe that is what the author was shooting for.

How do you see your valley? Is it a place of weeping, or a place of springs?

I would like to urge you to see it clearly. The autumn rains are coming, and before you know it, we will be out of this valley anyway.

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