14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her [Israel] and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart.
15 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.
16 And it shall be in that day, says the Lord, that you will call Me Ishi [my Husband], and you shall no more call Me Baali [my Baal].
I just finished the devotional on the book of Hosea with She Reads Truth. I've always loved Hosea and the revelation it gives of God's great heart. While we see His anguish, even His anger, at Israel's unfaithfulness and idolatry, we also see His relentless pursuit of the ones He loves. Not just Israel, but you and me.
My favorite passage in Hosea references the Valley of Achor, also called the valley of trouble or the valley of weeping. I've heard it said that this is the same valley of Israel's defeat at Ai. If you recall, Israel had just had an amazing victory at Jericho. Ai, a much smaller city, should have been a piece of cake. God's instructions were to destroy everything at Ai, but one greedy man decided to keep some of the spoil for himself. Because of his disobedience, all of Israel suffered a severe defeat.
I think of this when I read the passage in Hosea that says that God will make this valley a door of hope and expectation. This valley of defeat. This valley of defeat brought on by disobedience.
Hosea is all about Israel's disobedience and idolatry, and yet, God says He's going to allure her, speak tenderly to her heart, and make the very place of her disobedience and defeat a door of hope and expectation. Her response will be songs of praise, and finally responding and returning to God in love and calling Him, Husband.
That's all He wants from you and me, too, for us to respond to His tender words of love and to return to Him. He longs to hear our praise and for us to love Him back. He desires heart intimacy with us. There is no god like our God. No other god who loves like He does.