Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 22, 2015

“the valley of Achor as a door of hope”

Today’s devotion comes from Joshua Chapter 7.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+7&version=NASB

“1 But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel.

2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.”  So the men went up and spied out Ai.  3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up;  only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai;  do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.”  4 So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai.  5 The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.  7 Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?  If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan!  8 O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies?  9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth.  And what will You do for Your great name?”

10 So the Lord said to Joshua, “Rise up!  Why is it that you have fallen on your face?  11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them.  And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived.  Moreover, they have also put them among their own things.  12 Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies;  they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst.  13 Rise up!  Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the Lord, the God of Israel, has said, “There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel.  You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.”

… (then, the LORD directed Joshua to Achan who was the one who sinned by taking some of the things under the ban – Bill’s note) …

24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him;  and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.  25 Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us?  The Lord will trouble you this day.”  And all Israel stoned them with stones;  and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.  26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger.  Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day.”  Joshua Chapter 7:  Verses 1-13 and 24-26.

——————-

What hope is there in today’s Scripture? 

There is the sin of Achan.  There is the accountability of all Israel for the sin of Achan.  There is the fierce anger of the LORD.  There is the defeat of Israel at Ai.  There is the fear that the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land would hear of it, and thereby be emboldened, and would surround Israel and kill all of them.  There is the stoning and burning of Achan, his family, and all that he had.  There is the great heap of stones in the valley of Achor.

Our hope is not that we will not sin any more, although we certainly should not sin any more.

Our hope is not that we will properly punish those who sin so as to turn aside the fierce anger of the LORD, although we certainly should properly discipline.

We look hard for hope in Scripture and come across the valley of Achor in the Books of Hosea and Isaiah.

“14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her.
15 “Then I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the valley of Achor as a door of hope.
And she will sing there as in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
16 “It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord,
“That you will call Me Ishi
And will no longer call Me Baali.
17 “For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth,
So that they will be mentioned by their names no more.
18 “In that day I will also make a covenant for them
With the beasts of the field,
The birds of the sky
And the creeping things of the ground.
And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land,
And will make them lie down in safety.
19 “I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
20 And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the Lord.”  Hosea 2:14-20.

“8 Thus says the Lord,

“As the new wine is found in the cluster,
And one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it,’
So I will act on behalf of My servants
In order not to destroy all of them.
9 “I will bring forth offspring from Jacob,
And an heir of My mountains from Judah;
Even My chosen ones shall inherit it,
And My servants will dwell there.
10 “Sharon will be a pasture land for flocks,
And the valley of Achor a resting place for herds,
For My people who seek Me.”  Isaiah 65:8-10.

Our hope is to seek the LORD and His grace:  His salvation and His righteousness. 

“1 Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
Who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were hewn
And to the quarry from which you were dug.
2 “Look to Abraham your father
And to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain;
When he was but one I called him,
Then I blessed him and multiplied him.”
3 Indeed, the Lord will comfort Zion;
He will comfort all her waste places.
And her wilderness He will make like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the Lord;
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.

4 “Pay attention to Me, O My people,
And give ear to Me, O My nation;
For a law will go forth from Me,
And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples.
5 “My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth,
And My arms will judge the peoples;
The coastlands will wait for Me,
And for My arm they will wait expectantly.
6 “Lift up your eyes to the sky,
Then look to the earth beneath;
For the sky will vanish like smoke,
And the earth will wear out like a garment
And its inhabitants will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not wane.”  Isaiah 51:1-6.

Which doctrine best shows the LORD and His grace:  His salvation and His righteousness?

Other doctrine focuses on man and man’s alleged free-will and urges man to try harder.

But, Reformed Doctrine focuses on the LORD and His grace:  His salvation and His righteousness, our only hope! 

Reformed Doctrine presents the LORD and His grace:  His salvation and His righteousness from “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” through “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

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