Summary: With a passion for the presence of God burning in his heart and the clarity of his objective in mind, the author of this Psalm describes his pilgrimage to the place of God's presence.
THE BLESSED MAN: His Journey
Psalm 84 (with emphasis on verses 5-7)
The author of Psalm 84 expresses the yearnings and prayers of a pilgrim journeying to the dwelling place of God in Jerusalem. His entire being yearns for the presence of God.
In his observations, he has observed the sparrow and the swallow as they made their home in the dwelling place of God and he envies them. It is his desire, to dwell in the security of God's presence; to take up residence in the place where God dwells.
With this passionate flame burning in his heart and the clarity of his objective in mind, he describes his pilgrimage into the presence of God.
Note with me that as the Blessed Man makes his way to his destination (the place of God's presence) he . . .
I. EXPERIENCES VALLEYS (6)
The Christian life is an ongoing pilgrimage or journey, of which "Valleys" are part. Even the most devout saints go through valleys. King David referred to the “valley of the shadow of death,” in his most famous Psalm.
Valleys are those places where our mettle is tested. It's the place where quitters quit and doubters doubt. It's the location where faith is proven. It's here that "blessed men" are separated from the merely curious.
A. Valleys of weeping - Places where hope is defied and failure looms large. (Example: David at Ziglag--I Samuel 30) The severity of this valley is seen in the fact that it is called the "Valley of Bacca" or "Valley of Weeping." Our Psalmist admits that, like us, tears were a part of his human experience.
Psalm 30:5 …weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (NIV)
B. Valleys of warfare - It is here that Satan wars against our mind.
1. With Indictments - "You're here because of past sin."
2. With Injustice - "God's treating you like your enemies ought to be treated. You haven't done anything to deserve this. God is unfair and unjust."
3. With Indifference - Psalms 42: 3 - My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, where is thy God? (KJV)
II. ENHANCES VALLEYS (5b, 6)
Blessed men refuse to allow their immediate situation to keep them from their ultimate destination. Their heart is set on pilgrimage (NKJ, 5b). They are determined, so instead of being transformed by the valley, they transform the valley.
A. They make it a place of springs. They go beyond the surface experience and tap into the subterranean springs.
1. They do not wait for rain, but pray through to rivers of living water.
2. They know the God of the valley and of the mountains (I Kings 20:28).
B. They experience the outpoured blessings of God. To the existent springs, God adds His outpoured blessings. He covers the spring fed pools with rain from heaven. This is not a picture of spectacular deliverance, but of thriving in the midst of adverse circumstances.
III. EXCHANGES STRENGTH IN THE VALLEY (5, 7, 12)
They go from strength to strength, i.e., they cease relying on themselves and come to rely upon God. Verse 5 says their “strength is in God.” They trust in (12) or rely on God’s . . .
A. God’s grace - Power is available to failures. "O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob [cheat, supplanter...]. (V.8)
B. God’s guidance - "For the LORD God is a sun..." (V.11) The sun gives light and directs the paths of planets. (See Ps. 37:23)
C. God’s guardianship - "The Lord is a shield." (V.11) He protects me or stands between me and disaster.
D. God’s gifts - "The LORD will give grace and glory." (V.11)
1. Grace - No matter the cause of the valley, God's unmerited favor removes the guilt and provides the way out.
2. Glory - The outshining of His life, which is Christ. In the valley, Christ is formed in us.
IV. ENTERS GOD’S PRESENCE (84:7)
A. The Lord God becomes their all in all.
B. They appear before God - They will ultimately reach their destination---God Himself. They will make it - "every one of them...appears before God."
• Experience Valleys
• Enhance the Valleys They Experience
• Exchange Strength
• Enter God’s Presence
Men in route to the presence of God must learn to survive the valleys along the way. They are sure to face them, but…
• Only those who yearn for God will endure them.
• Only those who rely upon God will overcome them.
• Only those who seek God will turn them into places of refreshing.
Drawn by the promise of His presence and sustained by what we experience in times of prayer, we, like the Psalmist, will pass through the Valley of Baca and reach our destination—the presence of God!
VIDEO: McKameys, God On The Mountain