“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, 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).
As we continue through the autumn season, I’d like to turn your attention to the “autumn rains” mentioned in the psalm above. There are several references to autumn rains in the Bible. Depending on the Bible translation, sometimes you see autumn rain referred to as “early rain” or “former rain.” The reason the Bible specifically mentions the rain of the autumn season is that such precipitation was very significant when the Bible was written.
You see, at that time, farmers in Israel would plant their crops in the autumn and then harvest them in the spring. Such practice revolved around the rain patterns of their climate. In the summer, there was very little to no rain. However, a rainy season would begin in autumn and then continue through winter and spring.
Therefore, the autumn rains were extremely important, because they broke the summer drought and softened the parched land. Farmers depended on the rainfall to make planting possible. While the farming practices of our culture today may be different, we can still gain spiritual insight from scriptures that refer to autumn rain.
Beyond the literal meaning of rain as precipitation, there is great symbolic significance to the autumn rains in the Bible. Just as rain refreshes dry soil, God refreshes the souls of His people with His Holy Spirit. Sometimes in life, we may experience “dry” seasons, which could be times of disappointment, mistakes, grief, or discouragement. Even if we aren’t facing huge trials, sometimes everyday activities can drain us dry. However, if we will keep our faith and confidence in Jesus, He will surely bring the “autumn rains” of His Spirit to encourage our hearts.
We can find several keys to experiencing the rain of God’s Spirit by looking again at Psalm 84:5-6. The psalmist writes, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you.” This statement teaches us that we must find our strength in God alone. The psalmist continues, “… whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey with a specific destination. Our journey should be a pursuit of God in which we dedicate our lives to fulfill His vision and plan.
The next phrase provides another key: “As they pass through the Valley of Baka.” The “Valley of Baka” can be translated as the “Valley of Weeping” and represents those dry seasons of life. You may have experienced some “Valleys of Weeping,” and you may even be in such a valley right now. However, it’s critical to note that the people who put their strength in God “pass through” the valley. When you experience valleys in life, God wants you to “pass through” them, not stay in them! Don’t stop in the valley; keep following after God!
The psalmist also notes that as they pass through the valley, “they make it a place of springs.” This is a reminder that a lot of life is what you make it! We have the potential to take bad circumstances and “make” something good.
So, just as farmers look for rain to end their dry season, I encourage you to look for the “autumn rains” of God’s Spirit. Place your strength in God, commit your heart to follow Him, keep going even in difficult times, and choose to make something good of your situation. “Repent, then, and turn to God … that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).