I write this with a heavy heart and tearful eyes – on two accounts.
A beloved sister in Christ is grieving with a friend over the loss of the friend’s nine year old daughter in a traffic accident. I grieve with her, even though I’ve never met her, only through our blogs, and don’t know her friend.
A brother whose Unshakeable Hope spoke to me and to countless others has also gone through that door that leads into eternity. Completely paralyzed by ALS for 23 years, though the doctors when he was first diagnosed gave him 3-5 years, yet his love for and dedication to the Lord Jesus shone through his life and his blog. He could only write with eye-movements toward a special computer. But he did what he could and only eternity will reveal the fruit of his labor.
The name of the valley in the title means, “trouble” or “troubled”.
This place is referred to five times in Scripture: Joshua 7:24, 26; 15:7; Isaiah 65:10 and Hosea 2:15.
Joshua 7 is a story which happened in the initial conquest of the land of Canaan. Israel had finally been able to begin to possess that land. They were given specific instructions that all the plunder from their first conquest was dedicated to the LORD. They were not to take any of it. It wasn’t theirs.
Israel was successful and easily defeated Jericho, Joshua 6. The next day or so, Joshua sent just a few men to defeat the next town: Ai. It was little and wouldn’t require much effort.
Israel was badly defeated, Joshua 7.
Joshua was badly shaken. How would this defeat reflect against his God?
God said, “Don’t come to Me. It’s Israel’s fault. They sinned, and until that sin is judged, they will never be victorious.” I’m paraphrasing.
Turned out, someone had seen some treasure and some nice clothes among the belongings of the defeated foe. He had taken them and hidden them in his tent.
Joshua told Achan, the man, that he had “troubled” Israel, and that, now, he would be “troubled.” Achan, all his possessions and his entire family were destroyed as a result of his sin. A great heap of stones was raised over their grave, and the place was named “the Valley of Achor,” Joshua 7:26.
In Joshua 15:7, the Valley became one of the boundary markers for the fledgling nation of Israel.
Truly, “Trouble” is often a boundary marker for our lives. As with the sister and brother above, things happen which cause sorrow and grief. I really don’t have the words for what I want to say.
There are two more Scriptures.
Isaiah 65:10 says, Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, For My people [Israel] who have sought Me.
Hosea 2:15, I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
I don’t want to get into the prophetic implications of these verses, but just want to make a couple of observations.
There is unbearable grief and sorrow in this world. The two friends above are just two examples out of countless thousands as I write, and you read, these words. Perhaps you, as you read these words, are walking through your own Valley of Achor. My prayer is that God will pleased to comfort you and to walk with you. To much of this world, too much of this world, these are meaningless words. I hope and pray not to you.
Bill Sweeney, to honor him in his struggles and his victory, may very well be like the man in Acts 3:8, who was healed by Paul. The man just healed was walking and leaping and praising God. Certainly with Bill, his Unshakable Hope has come to fruition.
According to Hosea, there is coming a time of hope and singing in the Valley of Achor. but it’s only for those who know the Lord Jesus, whose sins have been forgiven because of Him, through faith in Him, His death and resurrection. For others, Achor will still just be trouble.
There is one more Scripture.
2 Corinthians 4:17, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
The things which weigh us down today may very well become the building blocks for a glorious future. In view of eternal glory, the difficulties of this life are indeed “light”.
Oh, listen, on this last day of 2020 or on the first days of 2021, might you turn from yourself and your sin and turn to Him, Who alone is able to do anything about them.
” Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,” Acts 16:31.