July 31, 2022

On Life’s Journey…

Passage: Psalm 84:1-12

For many people in the world life is a journey filled with thorns, obstacles and dark valleys. Many have created life situations where they enslaved themselves an d they curse every day of their lives. Perhaps you will remember the film, “The Mission”, from 1986. One character, Rodrigo, played by Robert deNiro, killed his brother in a moment of rage. He was filled with such terrible remorse and guilt that, to pay penance and get rid of his guilt, he carried his armor through the jungle as a symbol of the crushing burden of his guilt. Rodrigo was convinced that he had to be punished for what he did...but it didn't really make things better for him. Perhaps sometimes you and I feel that we don't deserved much on the journey of life. That because we feel so burdened with sin and failure. Sometimes we just want to go and sit next to Job on the landfill, because we can't see the bright side of life. But you know,
we have to focus on the journey of life like The Sons of Korah in Psalm 84. They were descendants of Korah, unnamed porters in the temple, and sometimes they had to take a pilgrimage away from the temple and couldn't wait to return. And then they express ed their
desire to be in God's temple again. They were even jealous of birds at the temple! The Temple courtyards were open to the sky, and the great eaves provided a place for good nesting, so there were always birds in and around the Temple. It was the safest place for them. The Sons of Korah exclaimed in verse 3 , “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young a place near Your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” But you see, those temple porters just felt the desire to be at the temple in the presence of God. It was a safe haven for them. And then
they wanted to be with all those who went up to the temple to worship.

What can we learn from The Sons of Korah as we are On Life's Journey ? First they tell us Look To God For Strength . In verse 5 we read, “Blessed are those whose strength is in You.” On basically every page of the Bible we are reminded that we are in need of God's strength. So many of God's servants acknowledged that it was only the strength they received from Him that brought them through. When St. Paul first wanted to boast about his strength, he made the confession, "For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians
12: 10. The Christian life isn't a life of moonlight and roses. Jesus told His disciples about the hardships and obstacles. It's impossible to conquer situations without God’s strength. Jesus is both “the Author and Perfecter of our faith" according to Hebrews 12: 2 . Only
because His strength lives in us can we see another day to live life and to stand against the onslaughts of the devil who tries to defeat us. You know, there is so much encouragement we can take from what Jesus said in John 16: 33 , "Take heart for I have overcome the world.”
That means that we don't fight a battle against the forces of life and wonder what the outcome will be. It stands firm Jesus conquered them all. We can simply find our strength in the One Who is the Conqueror . He continues His salvation in us and He will bring it to completion on the day we stand before God in Eternity. Eric Liddell who won the 400 meter race at the Olympic Games in 1924 said, “The strength comes from within.” By that he meant both physical and spiritual strength. He went on to become in missionary in China and to him the most important race was the one he ran to reach the finishing line in heaven. O my friends, do we unconditionally seek our strength in God? If we don't, we might just as well quit to
continue On Life's Journey .

The Sons of Korah tell us - Commit Yourself To The Journey. In verse 5 we read, “...whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” Make your lifetime count! We can't be people who are just letting life pass by being dictated by our circumstances or just going with the flow. Some say,
flow. Some say, “I'll wait to see if something exciting will come my way.” No, we must make life happen. And for a Christian it's to go on the pilgrimage through this life.  It's to make sure that every day of your life you are putting heart, soul and mind into every step you give away
from this temporary life towards the life that is awaiting us in God's presence. And my friends, it will ask a full commitment of each one of us. Just look a t the state of the world.  
Things are getting more and more challenging. Each day we have to make sure that we are indeed
taking up our crosses, denying ourselves and following Jesus. When your heart isn't with Jesus you will fall away. You will recall the Race to the South Pole between Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott. Scott made a calculation error which allowed Amundsen and his party to
reach the South Pole first on December 14, 1911. When Scott and his men learned that they failed, they lost heart in their excursion. They never made it back to their home base. Their frozen bodies were later found. Spiritually every single person in the world will die if they had lost their vision of Jesus. Then their hearts will be in the wrong place and their commitment will be worthless. You know, it's so crucial for you and me to affirm to ourselves that we are heart and soul committed to the cause of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Where do you and I truly stand in our spiritual lives? There is always room to commit ourselves more to God, always the need to acknowledge “I need give myself more as a living sacrifice to
Jesus.” And how essential it is to affirm On Life's Journey every step is with Jesus.

We learn from Psalm 84 that it's important to See The Good In Trials. Perhaps it's something we don't want to hear. Who can rejoice in trouble, hardships and adversities?  Most often we rebel when those things come our way. I will never forget what the father of a 3 year old girl said to me when the family received the devastating news that she had leukemia “Please don't tell me that anything good can come out of this.” But you see, hardships and trials are a part of life. We read about that in the Bible God's children aren't exempt from it. Go and ask Job if you could. And here in Psalm 84 we read about it as well. In verse 6 “The Valley of Baca” is mentioned. The Hebrew word “ comes from a root word which means to mourn, wail or lament. “The Valley of Baca” is literally “The Valley of Weeping.” The word “baca” is actually from the Arabian language and it also means “the lack of steams of water.” When the Jewish people went through this valley it was a last hardship they had to endure before the y could go up to the temple of the Lord. It had quite a significant meaning for them. They had to go through hardship before blessedness came. Haven’t we all passed through some Valleys of Baca? Some Valleys of Weeping? But here it says that, if the Lord is your Strength, and if your heart is set on the journey, you can see the Valley of Weeping become a spring. What to others is a place of bitterness can to us become a place of blessing. A place of growth. Therefore we should always see the good in trials. A student in his final year in Law school had already received job offers. Things couldn't be better for him, but then the unthinkable happened a car went through a red light and hit his car. He was hospitalized for 4 months and he couldn't finish his year. After some rehabilitation he made it back to class. His professor said, “I will never know why this happened to you.” The young man said, “I do. I haven't given things to Jesus first lately. Now I'm on the right track again.” The good through his ordeal was to have a spiritual awakening. There is good in
everything hard in life my friends.

As we are On Life's Journey , there is an important reality in the year 2022 Know That God Is In Control . We read in verse 11 , “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” The Sons of Korah conclude with a wonderful word “Whatever life might bring to us, whatever dangers we might face, whatever threat there might be, He is in control. He will be the stronghold for His people.” They began to say that we should find our strength in God alone and now they say He will always be in control. The sun will be in it's place, because He will make sure it's in it's place...and the same with everything else we might think of. You see my friends, we don't have to live like those who don't know what the outcome of their lives will be. No, we can journey with the wonderful assurance In God we will always be secure.


Rev. Willem H. van de Wall