Blessed are those whose strength is in You,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
– Psalm 84:5-7
This is a journaling/bible study activity. I wrote it some time back and have never posted it to the blog (at least I don’t think so). I hope you find it encouraging!
Let’s consider right now, today, this moment, our FRESH START! 🙂 Some of us are starting the new study on Monday, May 6th. So this is as good a time as any to evaluate before we get going!
We have joined together with God on a pilgrimage. We press on from where we find ourselves in this present moment and yearn for a future that God has for us. We have our hearts set on pilgrimage or we wouldn’t be here!
- Describe where you currently find yourself—that place from which you wish to depart.
- What does God’s Word say about the person who sets their heart on moving forward with God? (See Psalm 84)
The word “blessed” is a wonderful word! It actually can be translated “happy!” Did you know that God desires for you to have a happiness that bubbles up from deep within you? Consider this as we study this passage briefly. God loves His people to be happy. If you focus on Him and His strength, blessedness or happiness will be the result.
3. In the past, you may have focused on garnering up self-control or self-discipline to get your weight controlled. You may have even focused on bible verses to help you with this, such as “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” This is wonderfully true, however, the one who is blessed, made happy in the Lord finds their strength elsewhere. According to Psalm 84:5-7, Who is the source of your strength for this journey?
Let’s look at the word translated “strength” in Psalm 84:5-7. We see the word “strength” in this passage three times. The first time it is used to refer to strength that is found in the Lord. This is the Hebrew Word, oz, meaning “strength, might, fortress, stronghold.”Now that you are on this road, you will discover yourself hiding in your wonderful Lord for protection, for refreshment, for nourishment! You will find yourself shedding any other strongholds in favor of your Hero, our Lord Almighty! He is your strength!
4. Psalm 84:5-7 speaks of a journey, a pilgrimage. We aren’t sure of the departure point that the Psalmist speaks of, though we have defined our own. However, we have some indication of stepping stones along the way. Identify any that you see in the passage:
Pass through the ______________________________________________________
They make it a place of _________________________________________________
They go from _________________________________________________________
And what is the destination? _____________________________________________
5. The Valley of Baca may be literally translated “Valley of weeping.” In what way can you foresee this pilgrimage as leading you past or through a “Valley of Weeping?
6. Note what the Valley of Weeping becomes when our strength is found in the Lord God. What significance do you find in the fact that the Valley of Weeping is made a place of “springs” or “pools” (which can also be translated “blessings!”)?
7. Read Isaiah 41:18-20. What is the result of pools in the wasteland or springs in the desert? How might this apply to your life as you sojourn toward that which God has for you in the areas of food, eating, and your body?
8. According to Isaiah 41:18-20, for what purpose will God accomplish this?
Do you see it? Our God is going to use the wonderful work He is performing in your life to testify of His greatness to an onlooking world! He will be exalted in your life as you walk this path. He will be esteemed and many will see and know that the Lord is present in your life. Your joy will be made full and you will experience that abundant life that Christ came to so blessedly give us! And happy! Oh! He will make you happy as He fills you up with Himself!
9. Reread again the passage we began with as our focus scripture for today’s lesson. Fill in the blanks accordingly: “They go from ______________________ to ___________________.
This word for “strength” found twice in verse 7, doesn’t mean the same thing as “strength” in verse five. It refers to the Hebrew word, chayil, which means: “Strength, efficiency, wealth.” 2 As we travel on this path, there may be a Valley of Weeping, however, from those tears will come fertile pools and springs, giving life to our parched hearts. Our Lord will take our tears and cause us to, go from “wealth” to “wealth”, or from “riches” to “riches.” We will discover that on this pilgrimage even through Valleys of Tears will come much abundance and joy. We will find ourselves arriving before our God in Zion—the place of promise!
10. We praise God that we are ever before our Lord now. We need not wait for a “someday” out there to stand before Him for the first or only time. Imagine, however, what it might be like for you to “arrive” in a “place” of promise. Describe what that “place” of promise looks like for you with regard to food, eating and your body. How will you know when you have reached that “place?”
Oh, precious Sojourner, find your strength in our Lord God Almighty this coming week! Only He can turn any tears shed along the way into verdant pools springing up, giving life and nourishment to the parched heart! Let us fix our hearts on pilgrimage and set off!
Happy Saturday! just finished the bible study and it blessed me. Enjoy your journey and thank you for being a faithful leader.
Thank you so much, Aretha. I am thinking that when I get back from my trip, I may try to go over the material…AGAIN! I love how much God has used it in my life.
Oops…I thought you meant barb’s study. LOL! So glad that this mini-study encouraged you! 🙂
I agree with Aretha! I can’t even put into words all of the positive changes that have come from doing this bible study. Heidi, I am so thankful for your leadership.
This day’s study was, as usual, wonderful. I love how really studying the Word can change it from a passage that I would have skimmed over to one that is deeply personal. I am looking forward to our study that begins on Monday with all my hope in Him and His strength.
Carrie, I am so glad to hear it. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement. I am excited about tomorrow, too!
This is just what I needed today. I got on the scale, but I felt like I was called to do that, it didn’t say what I wanted. I thought I had been “doing pretty good,” but the number went up. Unlike other times, it hasn’t totally wrecked my day, but it has caused me to dig into God, search for support and try to observe and correct, where am I fudging my boundaries. How do I change my focus? Those sorts of things. Thank you for this; it’s wonderful!
Great response to the scale. That is GREAT. Changing our focus happens when we replace it with something better. Like Philippians 4:8 “Whatever is good, noble, excellent, praiseworthy, think about these things…” We can’t go wrong when we give gratitude and praise to our God. It makes me not reach for food so much. It works. I know it!