Hosea Part 2 Chapter 2 “Gateway of Hope” INTRODUCTION
Many years ago a book was written which was entitled, ”Door of Hope”; it pointed out that the Hebrew word “achor” means “trouble”. So, what God may have *really* been trying to say to us would have been, “I will make the valley of trouble into a door of hope.”
Ask yourself, when is it that we need hope most often? Right: in the Valley of Trouble. Perhaps God is saying that it is that very trouble itself that He will use as a door of hope for us. Yet, their only hope, the only true door out from their circumstances is there: in the Valley of Achor.
Now, in last week’s message, we found out that Hosea as a prophet who lead Israel at a very important time in their history; right before the Assyrian Invasion of northern Israel. This is VERY IMPORTANT because this period was known as the exile, and it changed Old Testament prophecy! Most of the Old Testament prophecy about a Messiah began to take place after this exile! So the people of Israel became foreigners, scattered all over the world. But God promised to speak to them even in the midst of this trouble, conflict and turmoil.
The Lord’s Love for Unfaithful Israel
Hosea 2:14-17 (NLT) 14 “But then I will win her back once again.I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. 15 I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt. 16 When that day comes,” says the Lord,“you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master.’17 O Israel, I will wipe the many names of Baal from your lips, and you will never mention them again.
He said he would win Israel back. He would lead her into the desert And speak tenderly to here there. He would return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to Him there as she did long ago when she was young, when he freed her from her captivity in Egypt. On that day Israel will call God “my husband” instead of “my master. God will wipe the many names of Ba’al from Israel’s lips aAnd Israel will never mention them again.
Wow. God said he would win Israel back. And he did win her back. In other words, he would send prophets, and preachers and teachers to tell Israel about Him to influence their hearts to turn back to Him…that’s how he won them back. And today, Christ paid for our redemption with the price of his own blood:
Ephesians 1:7 (NLT) He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
So today, Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Father. But he has sent us prophets , and apostles, and teachers and evangelists and pastors, to equip us for work and bring us to maturity. AND His Holy Spirit lives in us, and we have the Word of God and we have the people of God. And Christ desires to use all these things to win us back. Now back in Hosea, the Lord said he would win. And then what else happened? After God promises to win His people back, he leads them not to the mountain top, not to a 5-star Hilton hotel to celebrate, and not to a party, but to the desert. Jesus was led into the wilderness to battle Satan…but what did God say his people would be led into the desert for? So he can speak tenderly to us. In the Bible, it is said that the deserts were dwelling places for demons. Deserts are also barren, barren places. Nothing grows out there? When I read this passage I was reminded of Bear Grylls, the guy from “Man Vs. Wild.” and the time he went to the Gobi Desert.
You know what? Bear Grylls climbed inside the skin of this dead camel to survive. I mean he took all the organs out and gutted that camel and wrapped the skin around him to survive a sandstorm. And he did a lot of talking to God and a lot of praying. You would think that the desert would be the last place you could feel God’s presence, But that’s why you are led into the desert. You might feel like God has abandoned you to the desert, but he has lead you into a barren place so that there is nothing else out there but HIS VOICE…and he will speak to you tenderly.
1 Kings 19:12 New Living Translation (NLT) 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
After the earthquake, after the fire, God will speak to us tenderly in a gentle whisper. He will return our vineyards to us, meaning he will restore our prosperity, sometimes that might be financial, sometimes it might be physical health, but a lot of times it’s resurrected relationships, mended marriages, the reframing of fragmented friendships. Let’s learn to embrace that Valley of Achor, that valley of Trouble.
Learn to see trouble through different eyes
Learn to see trouble through different eyes. God is saying no, I won’t take you out of the Valley. I’m going to use you to transform the Valley! See the Hebrew word “achor” means to trouble, stir up, disturb, to churn the water; figuratively, to disturb or affict.
He is transforming the trouble in your life, the stirring up, the disturbing of the water, the afflictions, into a gateway of hope.
The Lesson of the Butterfly
A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.
The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.
The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shrivelled wings, incapable of flight.
What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.
Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced. Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.
Necessity of Seasons – Jonathan and Melissa Helser https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP7y0hw4GrY.
See….God wants to use you all mightily. Why? So you can SEE his beauty, his love, his goodness and grace, and fall more deeply in love with Him. He wants you head over heels for Him and him alone! He wants to wipe the name of the Baals from our lips, and he wants us to be so in love with him, and he wants to be so good to us, that we never mention them again. He is calling us to taste and see…
Psalm 34:8 (NLT)Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Now….Hosea speaks to the future of Israel, the end-time future, where all things will be made new, and warfare will cease, and we will be in harmony with our world and with nature once again.
Hosea 2:18 (NLT) On that day I will make a covenant with all the wild animals and the birds of the sky and the animals that scurry along the ground so they will not harm you. I will remove all weapons of war from the land, all swords and bows, so you can live unafraid in peace and safety.
Here God says that once he brings his people through the Valley of trouble, he will make a covenant with the animals and birds not to harm anyone. He will remove all weapons of war from the land.
This can’t mean right now in 2016, because when we look at modern Israel, there is more political and religious tension there than in any other nation. Look at the tension and violence that exists in American and in the Middle East. Well, this has to have an end-times significance. Basically when Christ returns, he will set all things right, and bring back complete peace, even between the animals.
Isn’t that amazing? There will be complete harmony in nature. And then between the nations, God promises complete peace and harmony.
So what does that mean? One day, Christ is going to end human warfare forever. He is going to physically come back to earth and he’s going to stay here and rule everything from Jerusalem. One day, this dream that everyone has about world peace is going to come to pass.
When people prioritize God, he heals the land and all their relationships
If the leader of the government is without sin, then he can’t be bought and he can’t be corrupted. And then Christ is going to send us, His Church, into the four corners of the Earth to help Him govern the nations. But most importantly, Christ will be with us forever.
Hosea 2:19-20 (NLT) I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. 20 I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.
God prophesied through Hosea and promised to make the people of Israel his Bride forever, showing them righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. He said he would be faithful to the people and make them His, and then they would finally know him as the Lord.
For us as believers, Christ has declared us to be His Bride forever.
Ephesians 1:14 (NLT) The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
See the Spirit of God will live inside us forever, and God gave His Spirit to us as proof that he wouldn’t leave us hanging and that Christ would come back for us. But also, there are several things that he promises to show us as well
Righteousness — God has declared that we ARE the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
Justice —- God has proven himself to be a just God. What does justice have to do with anything? His justice demanded that sin be paid for. Since men were guilty, justice demanded that human beings pay for their crimes. It is just for people to get what they deserve for their crimes against God, which is hell, which you could look at as jail. People are shocked that a loving God would send people there BUT…he sent His Son to provide a way out…God cannot be found at fault if people reject His way out. God’s justice required that the people in Hosea’s time be punished for their idolatry. But only God could live a sinless life; it would be unjust for God to expect people born in sin to live up to his standards. BUT! one who was both the Son of God and the Son of Man could bridge the divide between God’s justice and mercy. These two attributes of God’s nature intersect, they cross…..at the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus paid for the sins of the people of Hosea’s times as well as your sins and mine. In fact, as God in the flesh, the infinite God died for an infinite amount of crimes against God, which is why God can stretch his forgiveness for us into eternity.
In the cross of Christ, God showed His tireless, relentless, timeless love.
He showed a compassion that extends beyond time and space. He says he will be faithful. He is making us His. That is his whole purpose for all of this, for coming down to die for us, and for sending His Spirit, and speaking to us everyday through the Word and the Spirit. Christ wants to make us His.
One day we will be united to the Lord forever, we won’t be separated physically or spiritually and we will finally really, really get to know the Lord!
Christ longs to have us to himself forever
The Bible starts out with Adam and Eve walking with God in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day. They didn’t have to pray, they didn’t have to sacrifice animals, they just had conversations with God. But once they rebelled, everything was ruined. We had to come up with rules, we couldn’t connect with God because of our sin. It’s not that God doesn’t love us, he simply cannot and will not occupy the same space that sin occupies. BUT…God sent his Son Jesus. Jesus died on the cross. He absorbed our sin and the wrath of God was poured on Him so that it doesn’t have to be poured on us. And for everyone who believes in Him, and commits themselves to following Christ and being in relationship with Him, all of his righteousness gets credited to their account. He simply longs to have us all to himself, he wants no space for competition. He will have no other lovers, period!