Have you ever experienced when God’s word was written just for you? When you read something so specific, at such a precise time, you knew it was His voice calling you home? I believe Hosea 2:15 is just such a verse for Gomer, yes Israel too and dare I say for me and you?
There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor (troubling) to be for her a door of hope and expectation. And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth and as at the time when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
Vineyards – a mark of the wealthy in Biblical days. It reminds me of
Song of Solomon 1:6 ~ Please do not look at me, (she said, for) I am swarthy. (I have worked out) in the sun and it has left its mark upon me. My stepbrothers were angry with me, and they made me keeper of the vineyards; but my own vineyard (my complexion) I have not kept.
Could it be that these two verses are related? The Hebrew root for vineyard is the same word, Kerem, for both passages and refers to a cultivated field or orchard. But even if we took the imagery eluded to in Song of Solomon and applied it to Gomer we could see that Gomer had been exposed, her own complexion not protected. But the promise for Gomer is that her vineyards would be her own, her complexion would be her own. She no longer would have to wear the attire of a prostitute but would have freedom to express herself in her appearance.
The New Testament image I think of, in regards to a vineyard, is that of Abiding in John 15. There is no fruit outside of abiding in the vine and it is also possible that giving her her vineyards is a statement of her being in charge of her own fruitfulness.
Even more exciting to me is the promise that her Valley of Achor will be a door of hope and expectation.
The Valley of Achor is referring back to Joshua chapters 6 and 7. Jericho fell to the hands of Israel’s army in this passage but there are specific pieces of information note- worthy:
1) Jericho was the first city they were to conquer when entering the Promised Land.
2) They were to take no spoil for themselves, but give all of the spoils to the Lord.
3) Rahab, a prostitute, and her family were the only survivors of Jericho.
After defeating Jericho, Joshua led Israel on to the next battle. What should have been an easy victory turned to morbid defeat. Joshua hit his knees before the Lord and asked what had gone wrong? Why were they defeated?
Someone had sinned against the command of God. Someone had taken spoils of the land ~The Spoils that were Set Aside For the Lord ~ and claimed them for himself. God led Joshua through tribes and then families until the Lord showed that Achan, Joshua’s own family, had sinned. Achan finally admitted to the sin and stated that the spoils were hidden and buried in his own tent. Achan, his possessions and his entire family were stoned to atone for his sin and the place was called The Valley of Achor. After that Israel could return to victory in battle.
If God wanted to refer to a troubled place he had many options. He could have referred to Noah’s flood, the abuse they suffered in Egypt ~ but no ~ God chose the Valley of Achor specifically.
Gomer ~ a woman of God’s creation was to be set aside for himself. All of us are intended for God’s glory, to belong to Him ~ just as the spoils of Jericho were intended for God.
But someone came and took the spoil that belonged to God, they took Gomer, and in secret, hidden, in their own home, sinned against her and against the Lord ~ just as Achan tried to hide and bury his sin.
Somehow Sexual sin is always hidden. If our sexual sin is lust it is hidden in our thoughts. If our sexual sin is pornography, it is hidden in our historical searches on our computers. If our sexual sin is adultery, we hide in hotel rooms. That is why it scares me to see that sexual sin is not trying to hide in our culture anymore. Sex is everywhere and what does remain hidden are the atrocities of our sexual indulgences such as pedophilia and human trafficking.
But God promised that The Valley of Achor will be a door of hope and expectation. And what is that hope? The hope is this: Rahab took a stand and dared to protect the Israelite spies and won her own redemption and adoption. Rahab, by the threads of a scarlet rope hung out her window, remained in safety as the walls of Jericho trembled and fell around her. She was spared destruction and engrafted in to the Israelite’s Covenant with the Everlasting God. And she earned the privilege of being in the lineage of Christ himself.
Every woman, regardless of her assaulted state or history is given that same hope ~ the Scarlet Chord of Christ’s Blood runs deep enough, far enough, wide enough to redeem any amount of abuse. He is able to take back His spoils ~ to reclaim the heart of the women he created and loves.
Your Valley of Achor will be a door of Hope and Expectation!
- Gomer, Israel and Me! (meakinsspeak.wordpress.com)
- Pinning or Pining (lettersfromlilies.wordpress.com)