THE VALLEY OF ACHOR

Scripture Reading:  Joshua 7:22-26

“And Joshua said, ‘Why did you bring trouble on us?  The Lord brings trouble on you today.’  And all Israel stoned him with stones.  They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.  And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day.  Then the Lord turned from His burning anger.  Therefore, to this day the name of the place is called the Valley of Achor.”  (Joshua 7:25,26)

Most of us fail to realize how grievous our sins are to God.  We may quote Romans 3:23, “The wages of sin is death…” but fail to grasp the seriousness of its meaning.  Every sin is an offense against God.  He is perfectly holy in every way.  When we see our sin in light of His holiness, we should tremble.  We must never take sin lightly.  God is a just God and therefore He must punish sin — “He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7b).

Achan sinned against the Lord (v. 1).  His sin had a ripple effect — it brought trouble on all the people of God.  Israel was defeated at the battle of Ai (vs. 4,5).  Thirty six men lost their lives.  “And the hearts of the people melted and became as water.”  Achan fell under the judgment of God.  He and his family lost their lives because of his sin.  The people of God were defeated, for the blessing of God upon them ceased.  Joshua himself went into despair (vs. 6-9).

The place were Achan was stoned to death was called the Valley of Achor (v. 20).  Achor means trouble or disaster.  Sin brings trouble upon us.  We come across the Valley of Achor again in the book of Hosea.  Hosea is a story of God’s judgment.  Hosea was commanded to marry a prostitute named Gomer.  She represented the unfaithful way God’s people had acted toward God.  Read Hosea 2:6-15.  God used judgment to bring about change — “And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” (Hosea 2:15).

Who can turn the Valley of Achor into a door of hope?  There is only one person who can — Jesus Christ.  He did it by taking Achor’s trouble on Himself.  He went through the dark valley of judgment, dying for us, in order to give us a new life and a new relationship with God.  The gospel is a message of forgiveness and hope.  When we bring trouble upon ourselves, our only hope is Jesus.  He took all our sins (trouble) upon Himself and died in our place as He suffered the judgment of God for us.  He alone can turn our Valley of Achor into a door of hope.

Lord Jesus, thank You for taking upon Yourself all the troubles I have brought upon myself and others.  Thank You for bearing the judgment that is rightly mine.  Thank you that You alone can turn my Valley of Achor into a door of hope.

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