December 5 - From Judgment to Hope

In the days of the prophet Hosea, the Lord was judging the unfaithfulness of Israel. Although God had blessed them earlier, with increased numbers, with grain, new wine and olive oil; however, Israel, like an unfaithful wife, went after other men. She worshiped the Baals, burned incense to them, using what the Lord had given them to make idols and committed spiritual adultery with them. So the Lord declared that He was going to judge the nation.

God, being rich in His mercies, always allows grace in the midst of judgments. He gave a promise to the Israelites to turn the Valley of Achor into a door of hope. The Valley of Achor is where Joshua destroyed the belongings of Achan in judgment and the whole family of Achan was stoned to death. It is a picture of utter judgment and punishment from the Lord. No one was spared and Achor is a variation of Achan’s name. Many of us can think of a time when the judgment of God was severe in our lives but God gives His grace and turns it into a door of hope.

The door of hope goes through the Valley of Achor, it is in the time of judgment that God opens up the door of hope for us. This is how God deals with His children, not to drive them to the point of extinction but always allows an open door for them to find hope. The sin of Achan caused the Israelites to be defeated and his own clan to be executed, however, the same place of judgment is turned into a door, the door of hope.

God is telling Israel to deal with Him on another level, not to call Him “Baali” or Master but call Him “Ishi”, husband from then on. After the judgment comes the restoration and a new relationship. It is no longer relating to God as a master but as a husband. Both Baali and Ishi are words for husband but God has chosen to relate to Israel as a husband rather than a master. Jesus no longer calls His disciples His servants but as His friends. After the judgment, God’s grace is evident. The door of hope is a new relationship with God from which more blessing of God will be bestowed.

When we belong to God, He betrothed us so that we become His forever. His righteousness, justice and faithfulness will become ours. To have God as our husband is the ultimate fulfillment of the covenant made between God and man. The church becomes the bride of Christ, enjoying the most intimate human relationship ever. God is no longer our master but our love one. Are you relating to Him functionally or relationally? Is He the taskmaster that you owe Him your wages or is He the love of your life? Sometimes the door of hope goes through the Valley of Achor. Open the door now and be intimate with the Bridegroom!

Ps 135:15-21      Hos 1:1-3:5     1 John 5:1-21     Prov 29:5-8

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