The LORD Almighty promises to bless those who trust in Him. Psalm 84 has brought me encouragement, hope and help in suffering on many occasions. As a result, this psalm ranks among my favorites. The last verse creates a summary.
“LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.”
LORD Almighty, is Yahweh Sabaoth, the LORD of Hosts — the God of armies or powers. This name declares God’s sovereignty over every army, both spiritual and natural. It was the name used when hope for deliverance through any other means vanished.
Each one of us, at one time or another, will have no one or nothing sufficient to hold to, except for God. This short psalm continues to acknowledging the LORD Almighty from beginning to end. The writer declares Him worthy of adoration and praise.
When we, like the psalmist, put God first, sustain an awareness of Him through thick and thin, ups and downs, good times and bad, it is then that we discover Him to be truly sovereign over all — seeing us through to the finish.
Whether the psalm speaks of the exiles returning or the annual pilgrimage of worshipers to the temple is uncertain. No matter the occasion, these God-seekers possess one provoking attribute — a hunger for God alone.
“How lovely is your dwelling place,
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.”
Every part of their being hungers for one thing, or rather One Person, the LORD. Long before Jesus’ words echoed across the Judean countryside, these pilgrims walked the talk,
“. . . Love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
They passionately longed to dwell with God forever, praising Him. Is that my longing? Is that the underlying hunger of my own heart? Does such a passionate desire drive me deeper into a personal relationship with God, not just when everything else fails but constantly declaring Him to be
“. . . my King and my God.”
God my Strength
Along the trek between where they were to where they needed to go loomed a dreaded valley, the Valley of Baka. Baka means “weeping.”
Sound familiar? Smooth pavement may be our expectations, but rocky trails, steep climbs and deep valleys also crisscross our paths from where we are to where we need and want to go — God’s Presence.
Unwelcome but necessary; for them and us.
“As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.”
In the valley, when weeping is all we know, we dig deep. We dig deep into the barren places, the drought-stricken hidden places of our souls, and find God present. The Living Water meets us, sustains us, refreshes us, and moves us closer to Himself.
These springs and pools of relief, that we discover in the LORD Almighty, dot our personal pathway. They become significant places of refreshing for all future travelers that follow behind us.
Oh how often God uses someone’s experience of venturing through a dark valley to bring life and light to others following the same path. The victory of one becomes the victory of many. The strength God offers to one becomes strength and hope for multiple others.
Strength to Strength
In the Valley of Weeping, little strength turns to great fortitude, weak strength becomes tenacious and strong. The strength of one creates a life link for others every bit as significant as a fresh pool of water in a wasteland.
“They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.”
The Amplified Bible says, “They go from strength to strength, increasing in victorious power.” Isn’t that what we all desire? I pray that increased victorious power would be the aspiration of us all. Unfortunately, we want it without the weeping, without the valley, without the struggle.
Just like the pilgrims of old, we too must be willing to walk the difficult path. In the midst of the struggle, the LORD God Almighty draws close. The Passion Translation says that in the valley God gives, “them a brook of blessing filled with the rain of outpouring.”
My heart cries out, “God if a valley is what it takes, lead me through the valley. If a valley will reveal your sovereignty, then prepare me for the valley. May I not miss it! May I not choose an easier way, a quick fix!”
I love this next verse in the Passion,
“Your wrap-around presence is our defense.”
Now if only, we can maintain that imagery in the midst of our tears. The LORD Almighty wrapping His Presence around us, protecting, shielding and comforting. Yes, Lord, wrap us in Your Presence.
Any problems we face and all sacrifices made dims in God’s Presence. Just one moment with Him makes the journey worth it. Everything else fades behind us; the struggle seems all but forgotten.
“Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper
in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”
If you could choose anywhere to be, where would you go? What type of escape from work or responsibility floats through your thoughts with the notion?
For those whose souls, hearts and flesh yearn for the living God, only one thought permeates theirs. “One day” with God, even if it is only from a distant “court”, surpasses all other desires. Even assuming the lowest position in God’s Presence, as a doorkeeper, outweighs the highest comforts the world could ever offer.
Grace and Favor
When one comes to know Him and experience Him in a personal way, He is both all one longs for and all one needs. The pilgrimage becomes worth it; the blessing of His Presence fully satisfying.
“For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield;
the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor
and [future] glory
(honor, splendor and heavenly bliss)!
No good thing will He withhold
from those who walk uprightly.“
Our relationship with the LORD Almighty isn’t ‘pie in the sky when we die.’ He releases the outpouring of His blessings to us continually, here and now.
The blessings of knowing God and being loved by Him endure beyond time. They can be summed up only one way, “No good thing will He withhold!”
What a promise! Now, I look back at my life remembering valleys of tears I feared I’d never escape and the toil of digging deep. Decades later, I continue to hunger for one thing — that moment in His Presence — sensing His voice.
“LORD Almighty, blessed is the one
who trusts in you.”
The LORD Almighty remains worthy of our trust. Yes, “blessed is the one who trusts, leaning and believing on You, committing and confidently looking to You and that without fear or misgiving.” (AMP)