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Valley Of Baca Or The Valley Of Tears

Saul was a brand new Christian, and everybody was afraid of him. He was infamous as the leader in stoning Stephen to death. Saul led in a widespread persecution of Christians. In Acts chapters 8 and 9, he is making havoc of the church, searching houses to find Christians and then throwing them in prison. He uttered threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. No wonder the Christians were scared.

Now, through God’s direct intervention, Saul had been saved and transformed and was preaching the gospel he had threatened to destroy. But who would believe him? Ananias had helped him at first in Damascus. But now, at Jerusalem, he had no friends. He was now the enemy of the high priest and the Sanhedrin that had commissioned him to “wipe out” the Christians.

God had a man available to help him, Barnabas, son of consolation and encourager. He took Saul under his wings, befriended him, and introduced him to the apostles as a newly saved person who had boldly proclaimed the gospel since his conversion. Barnabas was able to turn sorrow into joy and be an encourager to Saul, the apostles, and all Christians in Jerusalem. Barnabas passed through the scary trial of helping Saul and made that valley of Baca into a well.

“Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.  Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.” (Psalm 84:5,6).

Psalm 84 encourages Jewish males who made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to attend the three required feasts each year. There was the Passover (Pesach), the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot), and the Feast of Booths (Sukkot). As they made their journey (usually on foot), there were some territories to cover that were desolate and arid. They would become very thirsty, and there could be a feeling of discouragement. Those areas are called, in this chapter, a Valley of Baca. Or it could be called a valley of weeping or tears. “Baca” is a type of “weeping” tree that drips resin or gum-like tears, such as a balsam, mulberry, or aspen tree. There is no known specific geographical location for the Valley of Baca, but some think it could be the Valley of Rephaim or the Valley of Achor.

Certain qualities in a man, or woman, enable them to go through this valley of tears. First, he is a man whose strength is in the Lord. He is excited about this trip because he would join other believers in praising the Lord and fellowshipping. He is committed. All the traveling difficulties were nothing compared to his devotion to the Lord. Perhaps he could be compared to Jesus, who “for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame.”  (Hebrews 12:2).

These pilgrims not only made it through the valley of Baca, but the rain filled the pools, or it became a refreshing spring. It became a place of joy as they journeyed through this valley. They realized that this trial would only strengthen them as they prepared their hearts for worship in Jerusalem. The Scripture says they went “from strength to strength” as they journeyed to Zion to meet with the Lord.

They were so joyful that they exclaimed, “A day in thy courts is better than a thousand” anywhere else. They would rather have the lowly position of a doorkeeper in the Lord’s house than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Psalm 84:10). They praised Him because the Lord is a sun (for the dark and gloomy days) and a shield (a protection from the enemy). He wouldn’t withhold any good thing from the godly man. He would give grace and glory.

The Psalmist closed this praise chapter by proclaiming, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.”

Right now, you may be going through a valley of tears. It could be because of the loss of a loved one, a time of critical illness of yourself or a loved one, financial difficulty, a relationship problem, or a host of other possible issues.

Notice in this chapter they were passing through. It is temporary. God is always available to help. “Casting all your care upon Him for he careth for you.”  (1 Peter 5:7). When confronted with a very trying situation, your strength must be in Him. You can’t handle it yourself. Fill your heart with a desire for the ways of the Lord. “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4). “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way.”  (Psalm 37:23).

The persons in this scripture not only passed through but also made it a well, and the rain filled the pools. They didn’t only survive, but they thrived. God can turn even a disaster into a blessing when we are willing. Joseph experienced this in Egypt. Daniel experienced it in the den of lions. Paul and Silas experienced it in the Philippian jail. The apostle John experienced it on the isle of Patmos as he wrote the book of Revelation.

You may have a friend going through the valley of Baca. Is God calling you to be a Barnabas to that friend?

We need to look at our trials from God’s viewpoint. Is this trial an opportunity for your growth and increased blessing? Is it an opportunity for you to help or encourage some other believer? What you do with your trial is your choice.

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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One comment

  1. Dale,
    Excellent! so true, I have so many people in my life going through horrific trials and valley of tears. Being called to encourage and support one another, and especially since when we go through tribulations ourselves that we are better able to be a witness to those in that valley.
    Thank you for this encouragement and word Dale.
    God Bless~

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