Wooing Your Former Wife
In yesterday’s Devo I pictured a powerful rancher shamed by his wife decked out in the fabulous regalia he had given her, being escorted to her seat at a rodeo by another man, her new man. Now suppose years go by, and it’s not just one man but many, and the fast life and promiscuous sex tear away her health and her money. She’s destitute. Will death be the end of her story?
In Hosea, God is this husband abandoned by his wife, the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The LORD’s first step is to threaten judgment and to allow military defeats and economic reversals to make it hard for her to continue her immoral idolatry with the Baals. But she refuses to respond. So the judgment of 722 BC comes.
Assyrian soldiers invade and destroy the Northern Kingdom. The LORD stated at Mt. Sinai that breaking the Ten Commandments would bring death and he executed the death penalty against Israel for their idolatry, adultery, and materialism. But is this the end of Israel’s Story?
We’ve already seen in Hosea 1:10-2:1 how our text can abruptly transition from judgment to salvation. Here in Hosea 2:14 we have the second time the LORD suddenly shifts from judgment to the prediction of a new restorative love story.
“Therefore, Look! I’m going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak upon her heart. From there I’ll give her vineyards to her, and the Valley of Achor (Valley of Trouble) will become a Door of Hope. From there she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day when I brought her up from the land of Egypt. And it will come to pass in that day, says the LORD, she will call me ‘my husband’ and she will no longer call me, ‘my Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth so that they will not be remembered by their name.”
When Israel entered the land in the time of Joshua, the Valley of Achor became a place of horror. It’s the place where the covetous rebel, Achan, and his family were stoned because they blatantly disobeyed God’s commands about destroying all the plunder of Jericho. Their disobedience led to the death of 36 men in the defeat at Ai (Judges 7:5). But now years later Hosea pictures a new Exodus, a new entrance into the Promised Land. This time as they enter the land and come to the Valley of Trouble, it will become “Valley of Hope.” In this rewind of redemptive history, the people will be purged of their idolatry. Like a young man wooing the woman he loves, the LORD will speak words of love upon her heart and she will respond like she did when the LORD first expressed that he loved her.
LORD, what grace! What beauty! Thanks that here in Hosea you don’t allow judgment and death to be the last and final word. Thank you that in Christ judgment and death will not be the final word over my life and open my ears today to your tender, holy, voice as you woo me to love you with all of my heart.
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