Theme of the Week: Hosea
Bible Verse: “I will … make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope.” Hosea 2:15
Scripture Reading: Hosea 2:2-23
This promise of hope comes in the context of a season of trouble caused by the wayward infidelity of God’s people. In Hosea’s metaphor, the unfaithful wife has been severely disciplined for her promiscuity; the nation of Israel for allowing Baal worship to flourish.
The valley refers to the story of Achan (Joshua 7), who hoarded loot from Israel’s conquest of Jericho into a secret stash of his own. This act of unfaithfulness — disobeying a direct command — led to the unexpected defeat of Israel by a militarily inferior foe.
One message here is that God is not to be trifled with. Abandon God, and God’s power will disappear from you. Disobey God’s commands, and suffer dire consequences.
Shame is one of the bitter consequences of such betrayal (2:10). Shame surfaces strong feelings of unworthiness that overwhelm any person whose faithless acts are exposed. It is a sense of censure so deep and debilitating that the shamed ones seem to lose their very identities. Their sense of self seems based on their most dastardly deeds.
And yet, God does not want people to wallow in unworthiness, and offers a healthy way forward. “Therefore, I will now allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her” (2:14). Two things stand out here: First, there is a season in the wilderness, a place of utter dependency at a distance from all other allures. It’s a hard place to be.
And, second, it’s a place of tenderness. The vulnerability occasioned by open shame is a portal to the kind of full confession that draws out the tenderness of God. It is the place of repentance where restoration begins. God turns this valley of trouble into a door of hope.
Prayer: God, in your mercy, receive me as I am and continue to build in me a greater capacity to conform to your will and to live in your ways. May hope flourish even in the midst of the troubles I bring on myself. Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen.
These writings were previously published in theStory by Scripture Union. Used with permission.
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