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The Valley of Baca
The Valley of Baca is mentioned in Psalm 84 which is attributed to the Sons of Korah. This psalm describes the blessedness of relying on God for strength and joy during hardship (v. 5-8). It also tells of the longing to be with God one day in His Sanctuary and the blessings there (vs. 1–4, 9–11).
“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 84:5–7, ESV).
The Meaning of “Baca”
The Hebrew word “baca” is related to bakah, which means “to weep.” The LXX and the Vulgate translate the phrase “valley of Baca” as “valley of tears.” Elsewhere baka’ is translated “mulberry tree” (2 Samuel 5:23). A mulberry tree is known as a weeping tree, but also one that brings forth mulberries, a delicious fruit.
The Valley of Baca was likely a literal place located near Jerusalem. It may have been the valley of Rephaim (2 Samuel 5:18) or the Valley of Achor (Joshua 7:24). The exact location is not certain, however, it was indeed a valley or a low point in terrain. Thus, the valley of Baca was a low point of tears or weeping that can bring forth good fruit.
This psalm is symbolic to God’s people who are pilgrims on the path to the heavenly Zion. It’s is an encouragement to those who are going through a valley, or low point. Life will have valleys of sadness or tears. However, those who put their trust in God can find hope, strength and joy in the Lord. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84: 11).
Men of Faith
True believers can receive comfort and be a blessing even during sad experiences of life. In their darkest hours, many of God’s “pilgrims” have allowed Him to turn the “valley of tears” into a well of blessing (Isaiah 35). Every display of power in the path has given them more vigor for the next step of the pilgrimage. We see this in many stories in the Bible, such as in the lives of Joseph, David, and Daniel.
There have also been many others after biblical times who have demonstrated this faith. For example, John Bunyan spent 12 years in jail for preaching the gospel. During that experience, he became a great blessing to others for he used that time to write his classical masterpiece, “Pilgrim’s Progress.” This book has led many people to the Lord.
Another example is Corrie Ten Boom who was a Christian woman during world war II, who opened her home to hide the Jews and others, from the Nazis. Eventually, she and her family were arrested and sent to a concentration camp. During her time in the camp, she smuggled in a Bible and shared the gospel with many there.
When she got released, she spent her life sharing the good news of God’s love. She wrote a book called, “The Hiding Place” which shares details of her story. Through all of her hardships, she showed a deep trust in God and fervent love for humanity. She wrote, “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
God Will Wipe the Tears
While God does not desire us to suffer, we are allowed to go through difficulties in this life. These trials are meant to prepare our hearts for heaven and to glorify God (Isaiah 48:10, 1 Peter 1:7). David also writes, “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). A valley of Baca, or period of sadness, can bring forth something good in the end. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Psalm 126:5).
Paul expounded on this when he wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). It doesn’t say that everything that happens to us is good. Rather, it says that all things can work together for good when we trust God and allow Him to use our lives, and even our trials, for the good of others. We can have joy knowing that one day our “baca” or tears will be over and we will be with God in heaven forever.
The Lord promised that in His eternal kingdom of glory, He “shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4).
In His service,