A Heart Set on Pilgrimage

Blessed are those whose strength is in you [God],
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
Psalm 84:5-6, NIV*

Psalm 84 is a homesick heart’s cry to be near to God in His house—the Israelites’ Tabernacle, or maybe the Temple itself. It’s one of those psalms many of us know well.

This time I read it, the word pilgrimage caught my notice. From the context, the psalmist is probably writing of a literal journey.

For me reading it today, it resonates in a different way. Christians, with the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, are told that our bodies are the temple of God. We’re not on pilgrimage to God’s Temple, but we’re on pilgrimage with God through our days.

Yes, “this world is not our home, we’re just passing through,” but we’re to pass through attentively, compassionately. Like Jesus did.

We’re not to ignore our surroundings or our neighbours’ pain, but to spread His blessings to others. On our own, we can’t do much, but God’s strength in and through us can make a difference in the lives around us.

Violet Nesdoly shares more thoughts on pilgrimage at Other Food: Daily Devo’s.

Father, grant us hearts set on pilgrimage with You, knowing we’re bound for Heaven but charged with spreading Your light while we’re here. Help us find our strength in You, and let us leave each day a little better than we found it. Because of Jesus.

Matt Redman’s song, “Better is One Day,” comes from Psalm 84.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

4 thoughts on “A Heart Set on Pilgrimage

  1. Margaret


    To finally reach home after a long journey is a time of completion and the joy of really belonging…. We are traveling home to be with our Father…. and although He’s with us every step of the way, He will be with us in a closer way when we get there….. We want to have a good pilgrimage and have good things to share with our heavenly Father.

    Your post makes one pause to consider our destination and God’s desire for us to have a good and productive trip….. Thank you.


  2. Ginny Jaques

    I noticed pilgrimage too, Janet. Which doesn’t surprise me. We notice things like twins, you and I.

    But I was also impressed with the idea of bringing blessings into valleys we walk through. I’d love to do that. Kind of like what Aslan does to Narnia after the witch has been defeated.

    Are valleys in the Bible a symbol of trouble? If so, I think the idea of bringing blessings into them would make them seem less like trouble and more like walking with God–pilgrimage. I hope I can remember this when God leads me into a valley.

    1. janetsketchley

      Ah, Ginny, I sort of noticed the spreading of blessings in the valley, but you’ve reinforced it for me. And yes, “valley” as opposed to “mountaintop” does imply the dark times. So what you’re saying is, when we’re in the darkness we can remind ourselves we’re on pilgrimage… remember Isaiah’s words about “let him who walks in darkness trust in the name of the Lord”? The other thing I hope is that as we remember we’re on pilgrimage to God but withGod, we can spread some light and blessing to those in the darkness with us.

      I value the spirit-link we two share…


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