Summary: In today's message on finding hope, we are looking at the door of hope God provides in our valleys of trouble.
“A Door of Hope”
When we go through the valleys of life, the Lord doesn’t sit up in heaven saying, “Gee, I hope they get through it okay.” The hope the Lord gives us isn’t wishful thinking as displayed by this world we live in, rather it is to give us a future and a hope we can look forward to.
Further, God isn’t apathetic to our situation; instead He will guide and protect us.
This is seen in what Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life,” (John 8:12 NKJV)
There’s a saying that I have used quite often, it states, “When we look at the world around us we’ll be distressed. When we look within ourselves, we’ll be depressed. But when we look at Jesus we’ll be at rest.”
There’s a beautiful worship song that always seems to help when we find ourselves in the dark valleys of life. It’s called, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” The chorus states, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus – Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of the world shall grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
There is also a beautiful scripture that brings comfort during these times. And what I find interesting is that it is found in what the Lord says to the prophet Hosea about the unfaithfulness of his wife, and please know that He was in reality referencing Israel’s unfaithfulness.
“Therefore, now I am going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards and I will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.” (Hosea 2:14-15 NIV)
What I find comforting is that when Hosea saw the Valley of Achor, which means, the Valley of Trouble, he saw it as a door of hope.
How will we confront the valleys of trials, tribulations, and troubles that we find ourselves in? This is especially the case since the COVID-19 pandemic, and the multitude of problems that have come about in our lives. These valleys are putting pressure on all of us, as many of us are wrestling with depression, disease, and discouragement through the many side effects of what we are seeing.
How can our hearts be filled with joy, which the Bible says is some of the best medicine we can have (Proverbs 17:b ), especially in these dark days?
God gives us a way through this valley of Achor, this valley of desolation and despair, and he references the way out as a door, an opening, that is, a doorway.
But it raises an interesting dilemma, how can God make this valley of Achor, this valley of trouble, into a doorway leading to hope?
Now, before we can move into that answer, it might be beneficial to look at this valley and how it got it’s name.
Picture – Valley of Achor
The Valley of Achor derives its name from a man by the name of Achan. The story is found in the book of Joshua chapters 6-7. What happened is that God delivered the city of Jericho into the hands of Israel. It was their first victory in taking the Land of Promise given to them by God.
God gave them the strategy and when they implemented it, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down and Israel won a great victory over the most fortified city in the land. But God told them that everything was to be destroyed, but the items of gold, silver, bronze and iron were to be devoted and dedicated to Him.
“But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them.” (Joshua 6:18 NIV)
But one of the men, Achan, was unfaithful and took some for himself. And the result was disastrous. From Achan’s sin, Israel was defeated by a small insignificant city named Ai.
God’s anger was kindled against His people, and the hearts of the people melted with fear. Joshua and the elders fell on their faces in despair, confession, and repentance before God.
After seeking God’s guidance, it was revealed that Achan was a culprit, and he, and his family, were taken to this valley and put to death. Now, while this may seem extreme, that is, his family also dying, what should be noted is that they were complicit in the crime, for the items were stored in the same tent they lived in, and there was no way that such items could be hidden without their knowledge. In other words, they were considered accomplices.
And it is from this event that the valley got its name. The name “Achan” means, “trouble.” And the valley’s name, “the Valley of Achor,” means “the valley trouble,” or “The valley of the one who troubled us”.