Our Pilgrimage

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lordwho have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs.  The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.  They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.  Psalm 84:5-7 (NLT)

Pilgrimage was an important part of Israel’s life in the Old Testament.  Three times a year, every man was expected to travel to Jerusalem “to appear before God” (Ex. 23:17 and Dt. 16:16).Pilgrimage

There is a group of Psalms called the Pilgrim Psalms (Psalm 120-134).  They describe the step by step journey Jews made to Jerusalem and the Temple.  But, they also describe our spiritual journey.

We do not have to travel to Jerusalem.  Ours is a journey of the heart.  We do not go three times a year.  We go every day.

Psalm 84 talks about pilgrimage — Israel’s physical journey and our spiritual one.  Here are a few observations:

1. It’s always a HEART journey.  Everything starts with a heart decision.  “Lord, I want to learn more about You.  I want to live in your will.  I want to move from where I am now to where you want me to be.”

2. The path has UPS and DOWNS.  Psalm 84:6 says the path leads through the Valley of Baca (the Valley of Weeping).  There is no avoiding the rough places in this road.  But even these can become “a refreshing spring.”  God never promises avoidance of difficulty.  He promises His refreshing presence in it.

3.  We get STRONGER.  Even though there may be seasons of challenge, the end result is always “autumn rains of blessing.”  There is nothing stronger than a man or woman standing in the righteousness of Christ.  We may be road-weary in our flesh, but our spirits are strong IN GOD and the righteousness given to us in Christ.

God calls you and me to travel.  It’s not a physical journey, but a spiritual one.  One day in His presence is better than a thousand elsewhere.  (Ps. 84:10)