“They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion.” (Psalm 84:7, NKJV)
History can be a wonderful blessing to those who resolve to both know and remember its relevance to the present!
Noted author David McCullough expresses it this way: “History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.”
God has always intended that those who are called “His people” remember who they are and how they got there! It is not different in the 21st Century … especially with so much to distract, discourage, and entice us away from the only worthwhile and lasting blessing!.
The blessing of knowing, loving, and serving the Lord is beyond our innate abilities to fully express … but real enough to give us hope!
As the nation of Israel was instructed by the Lord to make pilgrimages on at least three occasions a year … it was not just to provide them with an opportunity to ‘getaway for a while.’
Rather, it was the Lord’s intent that they do so because they needed to be reminded of truths that could sustain their souls in the darkest and most trying of days.
We know what those days are like, don’t we? The journey can be so challenging at times! Seeds of discouragement and doubt are sown by our adversary. And we must determine to weed them out of our hearts and minds by giving more thought to “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
“They go from strength to strength.” This phrase is a very interesting and even encouraging passage to reflect often upon. Why? There are varied translations and comments on these words.
But the overall meaning is what we want to emphasize. It is the idea of those who provide strength to one another and as a result, grow in their spiritual maturity to “fight the good fight” … to ‘finish strong’ in their journey of life!
Whether one is walking on a trail through the countryside or walking on the sidewalk in the neighborhood … it is the same thing. We start out fresh with anticipation and a sense of not only accomplishing something worthwhile for us physically but emotionally as well.
But before long, and for some of us … with gray hair it is sooner rather than later … the road seems to become a little more elevated or difficult to travel and we look for the place to just sit down and catch our breath.
Here is where we need to be reminded of daily … in our spiritual walk there will always be challenges and disappointments … good days and not so good days … but with the ongoing grace of our great and loving God … we remember what awaits at the end of the journey … Heaven!
So as “pilgrims and sojourners passing through the land” … may we both encourage those around us and receive the encouragement from others who are around us!
Just as it must have been as the Jewish people made their way to Jerusalem so many centuries ago as they moved nearer and nearer …
- We, by our conversations, our songs, our prayers, are to be an encouragement to others.
- We are able to receive a great source of encouragement by meeting together with God’s people at every opportunity they assemble for both Bible classes and worship services.
- We are by our very lives to encourage each other to take the next step … to keep “pressing on” … and to absolutely refuse to give in or give up!
And just as the “children of God” in the Old Testament would encourage each other to keep moving forward with the awareness they were drawing closer and closer, we are one day closer to the end of our journey.
The closer we get to eternity … the stronger we should become!
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV)
Bill Fairchild, Jr.