In the Baca Valley



They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion.
(Psalms 84:7 NKJV)

The expression of the title is known to many for an ancient italian hymn which reads: "I want to go from value to value, even to the point of following the Lord ...", but not everyone would place it in a psalm. Singing, deeply linked to the biblical text, manages to represent, like the psalm, the believer's journey towards heavenly Jerusalem. This psalm, in fact, is a pilgrimage song, with which the person praying accompanied his steps as he went to the Temple in Jerusalem. Over the centuries, the content has proved to be very suitable to accompany the daily life of believers, to support the typical fatigue of those who are on the move. Christian life is not a television fiction, but an experience that is affected by the effort and effort necessary to reach its course worthily. The pilgrim, despite the uphill road begins to be felt under his dusty feet, draws strength from the desire to spend time in the house of the Lord, whose courtyards are lovable and where even the smallest of creatures is welcomed.

I believe it is a psalm that can help us in walking, even accompanying us in everyday life. The main theme is certainly that of the journey, but not least is the destination of this journey. And it is precisely the goal towards which he walks that makes the journey pleasant and the fatigue bearable, even when the road becomes heavy and tiredness could have the upper hand. “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring" (vv. 5-6). The path has a mandatory waypoint in the Baca valley. Not for all Baca is a well identifiable geographical place, and indicates the valley of tears, a place of defeat, with the possible meaning of the name. In the Christian tradition it gave rise to the expression "valley of tears", to indicate the pilgrimage on earth. It could mean a place where you cry, but also the image of a hideous place. In reality it could be related to the arid place where the "becaim" of resinous trees grow. In fact, it would be precisely the way of dripping of the sap of these trees to evoke the dripping of tears. However, it remains a hostile territory, which can describe the mood or represent someone's condition.

As pilgrims cross this arid valley, they experience bringing springs and transforming that situation. Like the Lord who raises a garden in the desert (Isaiah 51:3) bringing consolation, so rivers of living water will flow from the bosom of believers (John 7:38). The image of Jerusalem as a stable city on the rock is the opposite of the tension of everyday life, which is why it offers hope. Once arrived in its walls, the pilgrim is finally in the house of the Lord, where there is nothing more to look for, to wait for. We, as pilgrims, are following the path that leads to heaven, and although we have not yet seen it, we believe in the Gospel. This psalm is a precious companion in times of uneasiness. Once you have crossed the valley of affliction, of the arid place, and even after shedding bitter tears, that the pilgrim rediscovers himself stronger. The passage of all difficulties, the passing of yet another test, raises awareness of one's own possibilities in God, and this is how we go from value to value. And this makes them blessed (vv. 4 and 5), even before seeing God face to face.

Devotional 4/2020
Weekly Bible Reading Plan

January 20 Genesis 49-50; Matthew 13:31-58
January 21 Exodus 1-3; Matthew 14:1-21
January 22 Exodus 4-6; Matthew 14:22-36
January 23 Exodus 7-8; Matthew 15:1-20
January 24 Exodus 9-11; Matthew 15:21-39
January 25 Exodus 12-13; Matthew 16
January 26 Exodus 14-15; Matthew 17


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