“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion." Psalm 84:1-7
The Christian life is seen as a journey or pilgrimage. In the pilgrimage, we recognize we live in the “already but not yet” of the kingdom of God. We experience joy and sorrow, fulfillment and frustration in a less-than-perfect world, realizing that eternal joy awaits.
“The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
1. We experience strength in the journey: as we understand and rejoice in our “blessedness.”
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;" Psalm 1:1
"Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him." Psalm 2:12
"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit." Psalm 32:1-2
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" Psalm 34:8
"Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!" Psalm 65:4
"Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:5
"Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors." Proverbs 8:34
"Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity." Proverbs 28:14
The expression, "union with Christ" refers to the believers' solidarity or association with Christ, by the Holy Spirit and through faith, by virtue of which believers partake of his saving benefits. This union extends from eternity to eternity.
Believers on pilgrimage have hearts that serve as a highway to Zion (glad worship).
As pilgrims go through life, they make the difficult places a place of springs. Those who are refreshed by the Holy Spirit refresh others. “The Valley of Baca” is a place of desolation and weeping.
These pilgrims go from strength to strength. Those who are refreshed find new and ongoing strength from Jesus.
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
1. The desire for fulfillment and ultimate satisfaction is the heart cry of every person. Ultimate satisfaction is found only in Christ.
2. The importance of rejoicing (which involves singing).
All people have emotional highways that determine our perspective and responses.
Those of pilgrimage experience profound sorrow but the sorrows do not overwhelm.
The Holy Spirit gives fresh anointing/strength as we run to Christ.