Pastor Craig Carter
North Kent Community Church
1480 Indian Lakes Rd. N.E., Sparta, MI 49345
What is the valley of Achor? This was a valley near the city of Jericho. It was the place in the Old Testament where a man by the name of Achan was stoned to death. You might be wondering, “What is your purpose in writing about this?” Bear with me and you will see how the Lord works in and through our times of trouble, even if we bring them upon ourselves—like Achan. The name “Achor,” in Hebrew, means “trouble.” So, this valley was actually the valley of trouble. Joshua 7:24-26 reads, “Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today.” Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since” (NIV).
We see at the end of this verse that God eventually turned from His fierce anger. Why? It was because the price for Achan’s sin was paid. Achan paid the high price of death. This is an amazing picture of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ paid the high price of death for sin. His death, like Achan’s death, paid the price for sin and God turned from his anger. This is the simple truth of the loving message of the Gospel. God’s not mad at you! Jesus Christ’s death satisfied God’s anger. If this is true, why are so many people, including Christians (God’s own children) walking around all the time thinking God is always angry with them?
Let’s see some other truths about this valley of trouble, so when we ourselves experience times of trouble, we can find encouragement. There were two prophets who had some very profound things to say about this valley. The first prophet was Isaiah. Isaiah 65:10 says, “Sharon will become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds, for my people who seek me” (NIV). Wow! Isaiah was saying that our valleys of trouble, our times of difficulty in life, can actually become a place of rest. How can this be? We must bring them to the Lord. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30 (NIV). Again, we see our valleys of troubles can become a place of spiritual rest.
The second prophet was the prophet Hosea. Hosea brought to light even more amazing truth about our valleys of troubles. Hosea said, “There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt” (NIV) (Hosea 2:15). He said that in our valleys of troubles, God actually produces hope. In the places we seem to feel the most hopeless, God brings us hope. Not just happiness, which is based on the happenings of our life, but real hope that sees past our troubles. I think this is what the Apostle Paul understood when he wrote, “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Rom 5:2-5 (NIV) Paul wrote that real biblical hope often stems from sufferings, yet it never disappoints us.
In closing, if you find yourself in a “valley of trouble” right now, remember these principles. Jesus paid the price for my sin, so God’s not mad at me. I can actually find rest and hope in this valley. Lastly, I do not need to remain disappointed, because God is producing a “door of hope” for me right in the middle of this low point in my life. So, do not be afraid to step through the door he opens.