Scripture: “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.'” Hosea 2:14-16 ESV
Observation: Chapter 2 of Hosea continues the same progression of thought as in chapter 1: Israel’s shameful waywardness countered by God’s faithfulness. Here, though, the Lord poetically foretells how he will expose the nation’s sins and mete punishment solely intended to restore Israel to him. Surprisingly, Yahweh speaks with tender words and promises to allure his people into the wilderness where a transformation will take place. The Valley of Achor (the Valley of “Trouble”) will become a gateway to hope. And Israel, like the innocent, virgin bride she once was, will call out to her God, not in vain, but as her husband.
Takeaway: First, notice that the restoration process begins with separating Israel from the environment where they regressed in sin. The Lord will lead them into the wilderness where there are no distractions. And it is there that he will transform the arid soil of their souls into a fertile land flourishing with vineyards (symbolizing joyful celebration). The Lord also promises to be Israel’s devoted, faithful husband whom they can intimately embrace (verse 20).
As with chapter 1, the language points us to the work of Christ. Jesus, our bridegroom, is faithful to us. He lures us away from the darkened corners of our world to sacred ground where we can thrive and be fruitful—and celebrate his goodness. It is there that we learn to rely on his faithfulness and develop an intimate, trusting relationship with him where we bear all—hiding nothing from him. And, as expected under our Covenant of Grace, he initiates each step of the path to restoration. Our part is to trust in his tender care “as in the days of our youth.”
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son, our bridegroom, who lovingly laid down his life for us to restore us to the fertile Promise Land of hope. Would you please help us to draw near you and your Son and wholeheartedly entrust ourselves to your loving care and restoration as in the days of our youth? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling