So what? That is the question. We have the Person, Plan and Place of Hope. But why? There is a Purpose of Hope and to illustrate it, there is an Old Testament story that most beautifully describes Hope.
Jericho. You remember the story, right? The promised land was right there in front of them. The Israelites just crossed the Jordan river. BUT in the way was the massive, walled city of Jericho. Joshua gave the orders that came from God. The people marched. The people shouted. The walls fell! Praise God!!! Now the conquest of the promised land could get under way. Hold on…we need to take a closer look.
Joshua 6: 15-19 says, “15On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. 16The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! 17The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. 18But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”” You can read chapter 6 here.
The people followed God’s directions and the city was captured. Verse 18 says to “keep away from the devoted things,” Let’s keep that phrase in mind.
The first verse of chapter 7 give us a telling picture of the heart of man.
“But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.” Italics mine.
Achan stole some plunder for himself. And, as a result, was stoned to death along with his family. Here are the last two verses of chapter 7, “25Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.” Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.”
The Valley of Achor. This is where we meet the story. Yes, we are living thousands of years later but the principles are the same. We can “covet” the devoted things of this world. In fact, that word, Achor, means trouble or disturbance. You know what I am talking about here. Not all of us deal with the same stuff but we all have that sin in our hearts. You might be a chronic liar or filled with anger. Does gossip push your buttons? For me, I was addicted to pornography for years. I am sure that all of could identify with Achan. We want things. We can live in the Valley of Achor.
That would be depressing if we live in a valley of trouble all of our lives. So now we get to the Purpose of Hope. Turn in your bibles to Hosea 2.
The prophet Hosea comes on the scene. Israel is being unfaithful to God. Just like Achan, I might add. Kind of like us at times. The prophet is describing how God will bring judgement. Not good. But then in verse 14 of chapter 2, God starts pursuing Israel. Here are the verses, “Therefore I am now 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 will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.”
The Purpose of Hope is to show us how much God loves us. He decided to allure her (Israel). They were adulterous. He will lead her, speak to her, give back to her the vineyards. In fact, what ever was trouble, God will turn into hope. Israel was in the Valley of Achor both literally and figuratively. But God changed things. That valley of trouble is now a door of hope. That is how much God loved Israel.
He loves you and me that much also. Romans 8 says that nothing can separate us from the love of God. We always can come back to God.
And that is the Purpose of Hope.
To remind us that there is Hope even when all hope seems lost. God will not forsake you. Come back to Him. Enjoy Him and all of His glory. Surrender your life to him. Let Him turn your Valley of Achor into a Door of Hope.