How easily we can be distracted by pressing circumstance. That is not to say that we should make light of the serious matters that are before us; but they can so easily distract us from the One leading us. How does the Lord bring us back to Himself?
The prophet Hosea had an enormously difficult calling; he was directed by the Lord to marry prostitute. The Lord would then use Hosea’s life as a witness to His people – that they had gone astray after another בַּעַל/baal, another “master” or “husband,” perhaps believing that someone else had the answer to their struggle, pain or simply boredom.
In one sense, the book of Hosea is utterly unbelievable; and yet, it is wholly beautiful. The Lord is pursuing His bride, His beloved that He will take to Himself in “righteousness, justice, lovingkindness, mercy and faithfulness,” even though she had gone astray. Yet, after reconciliation He says, וְיָדַעַתְּ אֶת-יְהוָה, “you shall know the Lord” (Hos. 2:20).
As the Lord begins “alluring her,” His bride, she is led into the Valley of Achor, עֵמֶק עָכוֹר, interpreted: the Valley of Trouble or Troubling. With His wooing there seems to be an increase in troubles, the pressure becoming almost unbearable. Where is He taking us?
Almost unbelievably, in the midst of the Valley of Achor, the Valley of Troubling we enter לְפֶתַח תִּקְוָה, “the door of hope.” As we read in Hosea,
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, I will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her back her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt” (Hos. 2:14-15).
תִּקְוָה/tiqvah, translated hope, is literally a cord used to attach one thing to another. In the trial, the Lord brings us to the “opening of attachment.” No longer tossed about by the wind and waves, we are attached to, and drawn into, His presence.
When we drift due to life’s turbulence, do not be surprised if you find yourself in a wilderness – the place where He sets in order. In the wilderness, as Hosea writes, He will speak comfort. The vineyards of His people, symbolic of peace and serenity, He will restore. And in the deep Valley of Achor, that valley of troubling, we enter the door of hope, as experienced in the exodus. When all seemed hopeless, He made a miraculous way (Heb. 11:1).
Many of us, naturally, become discouraged as we endure trial, not realizing that in the midst of the trial, the Lord is demonstrating His faithfulness to us. He is calling us in the direction of the greatest difficulty in order to show how He overcomes every difficulty (Jn. 16:33).
When we go astray, and the feeling of emptiness begins to build up, then the Lord begins to woo us – speaking to our hearts, desiring us to return to Him.
There are times when we are in that wilderness, when the silence seems deafening, to the point that we feel completely abandoned; but it is to that point that the Lord brings us, and there He who is the “door of hope” (Jn. 10:7) rescues us from the troubles we find ourselves in. He will demonstrate His faithfulness in those times of silence, not necessarily by words, but through affection and love by the Holy Spirit – remember, He has covenanted Himself to us in Messiah Yeshua/Jesus, He will not leave or abandon us (Heb. 13:5).
Meditation: Hosea 2:19-20
Be well. Shalom.