I have been reading through Hosea every night this week, one of my most beloved of OT books, and was struck by these verses:
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortingly unto her.
And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the Valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. [Hosea 2:14-15]
Achor means trouble, or suffering. It is the place where, in the book of Joshua, Achan and his sons and daughters were stoned to death by the Israelites because of Achan's greed. [Joshua 7] And although Hosea's use of the Valley of Achor as a metaphor is in direct reference to this incidence, as his unfaithful wife Gomer would have warranted stoning according to OT Law, it is also a useful description for those times we find ourselves in the wilderness, when times are troubled, or when we are suffering in one way or another.
The image of God alluring Israel (a metaphor for us) into the wilderness so that He can woo her, and turn the Valley of Trouble into a door of hope, is truly a lovely one. Sometimes it takes the tough times for me to really turn to God and rely on Him. When everything is going swimmingly well, it is easy to sit back on my haunches and applaud myself at how good I'm going. But when life becomes struggle, and I reach the end of my resources, then I really know what it is to have a God who is working in, for and through me. In that respect I am grateful for this difficult time in my life. It is teaching me so much about God's love and faithfulness, and I am walking towards that door of hope, every day...
|"When it seems we've traveled through the wilderness forever only to come upon a wall that stops us dead in our tracks - behold, a door of hope opens with endless new possibilities."|