Summary: We leave the mountain tops because life happens. I get too busy with things I need to do that I don’t read my Bible each day, I find my days flying by and I am too tired to talk with God when I finally have a moment to myself.
Last week we talked about how everyone loves the mountain tops not only the physical mountain tops of our great country but also those spiritual mountain tops we encounter with God. And I wish life were such that we could always stay on the mountain top but unfortunately that does not happen. In the physical world, we have to leave the mountain tops, to get back to work or to get the kids back into school or to take care of some business back at the house. In the spiritual world, we leave the mountain tops because life happens. I get too busy with things I need to do that I don’t read my Bible each day, I find my days flying by and I am too tired to talk with God when I finally have a moment to myself. I, therefore, feel guilty that I am not the Christian I should be, so I don’t want to go to church because I think people down at the church house can see right through me to my soul and it don’t look pretty, so I skip church. What happened? Life happens; and it has taken me off the spiritual mountain top to a place of spiritual emptiness.
And it in those times that instead of being on the mountain top we find ourselves walking through the valley. And this sermon series tries to explore some of those Valleys that we walk through. Last week, we looked at the Valley of Crisis we might have to walk through. And today, we discover that we might need to walk through the Valley of Tears before we can get to the mountain top with God.
So, let’s begin by reading our Scripture found in Psalm 84: 5-8. Please stand for the reading of God’s Word.
Psalm 84:5-8 (NKJV)
5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The 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!
Three times a year, the Jews were to return to Jerusalem to meet with God- the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. God had commanded this to be done in Deuteronomy 16:16. And so, as the Jews made their way to Jerusalem to meet with God, they had to past through this Valley of Baca, this desert place. And the word “Baca” means tears. This Valley was rough on any traveler going through it on the way to meet with God. They probably traveled long distance and they are tired and there staring them in the face is this desert they have to get through to reach Jerusalem. And by its name, it probably brought tears to the travelers to know that they would have to go through this dry desert place on foot before they get to their destination.
None of us want to go through the Valley of Baca; but we all want to go to the mountain top. Let me let you in on a secret: you are not going to get to the mountaintop to be with God, until you get to the place of brokenness in your life.
Think about those Jewish travelers that made that journey to Jerusalem, three times a year. Each time that they arrived in Jerusalem, they were totally spent. If the long trip on foot did not get to them the last part of the journey going through the Valley of Baca would certainly do them in. So, these Jewish people arrived in Jerusalem on empty (nothing left in their tanks) to meet with God. And that is how you and I are to meet with God: in the spirit of brokenness. I cannot take another step unless God you hold my hand. That’s brokenness.
And so, what I want to answer today, is what does it take to get through my Valley of Tears to meet with God. There are three things, I want us to see.
Verse 5 tells us that these Jewish people set their heart to pilgrimage. In other words, they were not going to settle until they got to Jerusalem to meet with the Lord.
In Genesis 32, there is the great story where Jacob wrestled with God. And Jacob set his mind that He was not going to let God go until God blessed him. In other words, Jacob was not going to settle. He set his mind that he was going to be blessed by God. And God did indeed bless him by changing his name from Jacob to Israel. And Jacob named the place where all this occurred as Peniel because he has seen God face to face and his life was spared.