Psalm 84:1-7 says, “How lovely is Your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young – a place near Your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.”
Life on earth is temporary. On our journey through existence on planet earth, it is wise not to get too attached. There is a real home for us that traverses beyond the universe and makes our valleys of despair dissipate into nothing except the road to that home. Gospel hope is about believers being “with” Christ and “at home” with Christ in this present world and the next. Because there definitely is a next.
There is also a “here and now” reality of the Lord’s dwelling place, the place we call home, our nest, our place with Him. The place where we worship Him. The place where we release our faintings and cries. The place where we recharge and experience the autumn rains of the soul. The place where God speaks His loveliness and strength to us. The place where we securely land in the the net that catches us and settles us and draws us close. Where homelessness and loneliness are impossible. With Christ.
One criminal who was crucified alongside Jesus at Calvary simply asked Jesus to remember him as Jesus would pass into His own kingdom and Luke 23:43 says, “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.’ ” The criminal was convinced that there was indeed a place to call home. A heavenly kingdom. With a heavenly Savior-King. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” Philippians 1:21-23 says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” And I Thessalonians 5:10 says, “He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.”
The Valley of Baka is simply a reminder that our home is truly with the Lord. That our tears point us in the direction of our permanent dwelling place with the Lord. That our pain motivates us toward the living God and His house. That our weaknesses, disappointments and battles with sin only push us into the arms of God Who is our sun and shield. That His tent is the only place to find soul rest, strength for the journey, and eternal destiny in Jesus Christ.
Psalm 84:12 ends with this and so should we: “Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in You.”