Chrisitianity

God’s Party and Our Praise

God is going to start a party with the best food and finest wine.  Isaiah 25:6 says, “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine.” I imagine that there will be some decent music at this party as well (because every good party has good music).

One of the songs that will be sung is in verse 9.  God’s people will sing, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.  This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

This verse reveals 4 things about God and his people:

  1. God comes to us. We wait on him; we do not go to him.
  2. God saves people; we do not save ourselves.
  3. Salvation results in our gladness and joy.
  4. Our salvation is a reconciling of our relationship with God — not “getting into heaven.”

Let’s think about the fourth one for a moment.  Whenever Scripture mentions “the salvation of the Lord,” it is God bringing us to himself. God’s people are not simply rejoicing in the fact that God allows us to live in heaven and receive good things from him.  That is certainly part of it.  But it is not it. The redeemed are rejoicing because God has brought them from and oppressive enemy and destruction (which in the larger context of Scripture is sin, Satan, and death) to himself.    This is why they are singing, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him.”

Those who are truly redeemed wait for Jesus.  John Piper wrote, “Those who would be happy in heaven if Jesus wasn’t there, won’t be there.”  Is your rejoicing in God or in his gifts?  Is your gladness in the fact that God has brought you into relationship with himself or the fact that you get a lot of benefits from knowing him?  We need to examine ourselves daily and seek to make him our complete satisfaction.  Otherwise, we are making God out to be a divine genie and not the supreme treasure of the universe.

Out of the Valley of Achor into a Door of Hope

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. (Hosea 2:14-15)

God says he will allure his people into the wilderness.  So often, God leads his people to where it is dry, lonely, and dark in order to bring them to himself.  God has to bring us to a place where sin is no longer appealing, no longer satisfying so that we might hate it and want more of Christ.

When Israel arrived in the wilderness, God gave “her her vineyards and [made] the Valley of Achor a door of hope.”  And so it is for us today.  There God will bring us back to spiritual vibrancy and prosperity. He will take our trouble and turn it into hope — “Achor” in Hebrew means “trouble.”  Valley of Achor references Joshua 7:10-26 and Achan’s sin of plundering spoils in battle.  Achan had silver hidden in his tent and Joshua’s men found it. Achan, his wife, his sons and daughters, and his oxen, donkeys, sheep and all his possessions were stoned by Joshua and all of Israel for their sin. They were stoned in the Valley of Achor (v. 24). They broke the very command that God made in 6:17-19. God said, “But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD” (vv. 18-19).  After Achan and all his family and possessions were stoned, God’s anger was lifted. In verse 26, it says, “Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor,” because in verse 25, Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The LORD brings trouble on you today.”

So, in Hosea, when we read that God has made the “Valley of Achor a door of hope” it is no small thing. He will take Israel from a place where they deserve to be stoned because of idolatry, sexual immorality, false worship, and wicked hearts to a place where hope is all they see.

In the same way, God has taken us from the trouble of our own sins that we once were in as children of wrath and sons of disobedience and given us mercy found in his Son Jesus. God took us from a place where we should have been stoned to a place where Christ reigns with the hope of glory.  Only Christ can lift the trouble that we have on our hands because of our transgressions and give us life. Now we can believe what Titus 3:7 says: “Being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

At the end of Hosea 2:15, it says that God’s people will answer him when he gives them this hope.  When God gives his people back their vineyards and gives them hope in spite of their trouble, they will answer to God, “as in the days of her youth” (meaning when God and his Bride were first married), with the song of Moses, a song of exodus from their sin.  After Moses and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea to escape Egypt, they finally sang praise to God for deliverance (Ex. 15:1-21).  This is the same song that all God’s people will sing before the throne for eternity (Rev. 15:3-4). This song in Revelation is called “the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.”  The song of the Lamb.  It is the song of Jesus, the one who bore all of our trouble in his body of flesh on our behalf, so that we might have a true and lasting hope.

Who is the Savior who brought Israel out of Egypt in Exodus? Jesus. Who is the Savior that will bring Israel out of their idolatry in Hosea? Jesus. Who is the Savior that has rescued us from the domain of darkness and the kingdom of Satan? Jesus.

How awesome is our God!  Let us worship the Lord Jesus who has brought us out of the Valley of Achor and given us a living hope that we might be redeemed and live with him forever.