I’m devoting the next few weeks to working on a project that’s going to demand most of my mental energy. So apart from the usual Mon-Fri Checkout which will continue, I won’t be writing an additional daily article. Instead, I’m going to post a series of daily devotionals on Hosea that I wrote a few years ago.

I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope. (Hosea 2:15)

Vineyards in the wilderness? A door of hope in the desert of despair? Achor means “trouble” and was so named because Achan’s idolatrous greed there resulted in the “trouble” of defeat for Israel, and the trouble of “execution” for Achan and his family (Joshua 7:24-26).

Achan’s sin was a challenge to Israel. How would they react? Would they trace their defeat to sin? And how would they deal with it when they found it?

By searching out the sin in their midst, and by dealing with it so decisively and comprehensively, they found a door of hope to lead them out of Trouble Valley. But they only found the door because God gave them the door; their repentance was God’s gift. This is what God promises the greedy and idolatrous Israel of Hosea’s day also. In the desert darkness of foreign exile, God would give them the refreshing wine of repentance and the enlightening hope of forgiveness. What mercy and grace!

Perhaps idolatry and greed have got the better of you, and you lie defeated and despairing in Trouble Valley. The Lord is troubling your health, your family, your work, or your church. Thus the divine gauntlet is laid down, and the divine challenge is posed. What will you do? Will you trace your trouble to your sin?

And, if you have found the cause of your trouble, are you dealing with it decisively and comprehensively? Are you “stoning” it and its ungodly associates to death? If so, then God is opening a door of hope in your Trouble Valley.

Perhaps the door has only opened a little, but it is enough to encourage you to persevere in your sin-stoning work. And, as each stone of repentance strikes the evil hidden in your heart, the door of hope creaks open more and more, until the light of God’s love and favor floods in, and you begin to hope once again in His mercy. Hallelujah! God has given you the valley of Achor for a door of hope.

Praise God for Christ, the Giver of door-opening hope in the valley of Achor. “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).