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Summary: Those traveling to heavenly Zion will pass through the valley of Baca (difficulties), yet their destination is assured.

SCRIPTURE READING:

** (SLIDE 2)“HOW BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE STRENGTH IS IN THEE;

IN WHOSE HEART ARE THE HIGHWAYS TO ZION!

PASSING THROUGH THE VALLEY OF BACA, THEY MAKE IT A SPRING, THE EARLY RAIN ALSO COVERS IT WITH BLESSINGS.

THEY GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH,

EVERY ON OF THEM APPEARS BEFORE GOD IN ZION.”

PSALM 84:5-7

** (SLIDE 3) GETTING FROM POINT A TO POINT B ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE. NUMEROUS MAPPING PROGRAMS AVAILABLE ON CD-ROM OR THE INTERNET HELP US NAVIGATE FROM OUR DOOR TO THE DOORSTEP OF OUR DESTINATION.

** (SLIDE 4) MAPQUEST IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES. THEIR SLOGAN IS “WHERE TO GO, HOW TO GET THERE”

IT WILL TELL YOU WHEN TO TURN LEFT OR RIGHT, HOW MANY MILES BEFORE THE NEXT TURN, THE TOTAL NUMBER OF MILES AND THE ESTIMATED TIME THE DRIVE WILL TAKE.

LET ME GIVE YOU A HYPOTHETICAL DAY SO THAT YOU CAN SEE HOW IMPORTANT MAPQUEST IS. I WAKE UP MONDAY MORNING AT 6:45 A.M. I SLEEPILY WALK INTO THE FAMILY ROOM WHERE THE COMPUTER IS LOCATED AND SIGN ONTO THE INTERNET. OPENING UP MY “FAVORITES” MENU, I SELECT MAPQUEST. I TYPE IN MY HOME ADDRESS: **** THIS IS MY POINT OF DEPARTURE. I THEN TYPE IN MY DESTINATION ADDRESS: **** (WORK ADDRESS) I PRINT OUT THE HANDY MAP WITH DIRECTIONS…EQUIPPED FOR MY ADVENTUROUS JOURNEY.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SCENARIO?

I’VE LIVED HERE FOR 3 YEARS AND DON’T NEED TO PRINT OUT A MAP OR HAVE WRITTEN DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO TRAVEL FROM MY HOUSE TO THE CHURCH. IT’S IN MY HEAD. I COULD PRACTICALLY DRIVE IT BLINDFOLDED. I HAVEN’T TRIED, BY THE WAY.

** (SLIDE 5) PSALM 84:5, “BLESSED IN THE MAN…IN WHOSE HEART ARE THE HIGHWAYS TO ZION.”

THE PSALMIST DOESN’T NEED MAPQUEST OR A MAPSCO WHEN IT COMES TO THE ROAD TO ZION. HE HAS A FAMILIARITY WITH THAT ROAD WHICH DOESN’T LEAD TO SECOND-GUESSING OR UNCERTAINTY.

PSALM 84 IS FOCUSED ON GOD’S SANCTUARY AND HOW THE WRITER LOVED TO SPEND TIME THERE. THE AUTHOR IS ONE OF ’THE SONS OF KORAH’. NOTICE HIS PASSION FOR BEING IN GOD’S PRESENCE.

** (SLIDE 6) V.1 - `HOW LOVELY IS YOUR DWELLING PLACE, O LORD ALMIGHTY!’

V.4 - `BLESSED ARE THEY WHO DWELL IN YOUR HOUSE’

V.7 - `THEY GO FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH, TILL EACH APPEARS BEFORE GOD IN ZION.’

V.10 - `I WOULD RATHER BE A DOORKEEPER IN THE HOUSE OF MY GOD ...’

THE WRITER OF THIS PSALM CERTAINLY HAD THE ROAD TO ZION IN HIS HEART!

** (SLIDE 7) MOUNT ZION IS ONE OF THE HILLS ON WHICH THE CITY OF JERUSALEM IS FOUNDED. IN THE BIBLE, ZION IS OFTEN USED SYNONYMOUSLY WITH JERUSALEM (ISAIAH 2:2).

THOSE WHO HAD THE ROAD TO ZION IN THEIR HEART KNEW THE PATH FROM THEIR HOME TO THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM BY HEART. THEY DIDN’T NEED A MAPQUEST PROGRAM TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET THERE. THEY KNEW IT BY MEMORY. IT WAS WRITTEN ON THEIR HEARTS.

THE BIBLE REPEATEDLY MENTIONS THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM AS GOD’S DWELLING PLACE, EVEN THOUGH HE IS NOT LIMITED TO A BUILDING. IN 1 KINGS 8:27, SOLOMON, ON THE COMPLETION OF HIS GREAT TEMPLE, SAID THIS:

** (SLIDE 8) ’BUT WILL GOD REALLY DWELL ON EARTH? THE HEAVENS, EVEN THE HIGHEST HEAVEN, CANNOT CONTAIN YOU. HOW MUCH LESS THIS TEMPLE I HAVE BUILT!’ (NIV)

** (SLIDE 9- BLANK) THE PILGRIM WRITING PSALM 84 KNEW HOW TO TRAVEL FROM HIS HOME—TO THE PLACE WHERE GOD DWELT.

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