The Valley of Achor
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her vineyards from thence and the Valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there as in the days of her youth.” — Hosea 2:14, 15.
The Valley of Achor was so named be cause of the death of Achan. It was a sad place and the Israelites never liked to recall the name. Yet God picked out that very valley for a sort of “lover’s lane” — a door of hope — a place where He would commune with His distressed ones and comfort them.
Our Heavenly Father likes to mark the sad places of our lives and later on take us back to them and there give joy and blessing.
At the age of eleven the writer felt the call to preach and began her work in a small way. About six years later her church wanted to give her an evangelist’s license. It would have been granted but for the remonstrance of one man who seemed to think that I was too young. Being of a very bashful disposition, I felt this keenly, and more because the spirit of my opposer was coarse and bombastic. I was greatly hindered by this “set’ down” and perhaps never would have tried later employed me to hold my first revival in their church.
A few years later, I returned to that district with fear and trembling. We attended a camp meeting there and to my surprise I was invited to preach. There sat in the rear of the audience the one who had kept me from having an evangelist’s license, but God gave me unusual liberty in speaking and I felt I was too far up into the heavenlies to care. Again and again I was asked to preach and God gave souls.
My opposer finally came around and seemed to be sorry for his past actions but did not apologize; Instead, he, showed his kindness by making us a present. Soon he fell from a ladder and was killed. I was sad over his death but could not help noticing how my Valley of Achor had been turned into a door of hope to me.
Another instance. When a young girl, I was very zealous for God and souls. I entered every door of usefulness, and sang and testified everywhere. I was given an opportunity; My zeal was a trial to some; and as I look back, I can see now that I was partly to blame. For I did not always know the voice of God and the leadings of the Holy Spirit; hence sometimes was too noisy in my demonstrations of joy or of sorrow over lost souls. I was determined to keep as far from the world as possible to avoid questionable pleasures, gay attire and flirting. This brought persecution, and I suffered. In school; the girls stood aloof from me for I was a “speckled bird” to them and some of the boys called me, “Salvation Army”. Even many of the dear young people in my own church criticized my attire. Trials came of various sorts. Though gloriously victorious and happy in the Lord, yet at times I could say with Job, “My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death; my friends scorn me but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.” — Job 16:16, 20.
I have always dreaded to think of those days but recently God took me back to that district where I attended a campmeeting. I found that many of my opposers were gone. Some had fallen into sin or great misfortune, for which I was very sorry. But I saw that it had paid me to obey God. “It is a long road that has no turn ;” and here instead of suffering as I once did, I was given a gracious welcome and honors more than I deserved. Though this was a noted camp yet I was put up to preach in important services and souls flocked to the altar.
This is but one more instance of God’s way of turning the Valley of Achor into a door of hope. Let us be patient, dear ones, for the valley where you now suffer may some day blossom as the rose and be the place where God chooses to meet you and show you His love.
* * *
Glorying Only In The Cross
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See, from his head, his hands, his feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down:
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small,
Love so amazing, so Divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
— Isaac Watts