I was just randomly reading my bible this morning, and was reminded of something our assistant pastor said last night during his message. So I went to a scripture he mentioned last night, remembering that it was somewhere in Isaiah 35. The chapter talks about how God was going to cause streams to spring up in the desert, and make it blossom like a rose. (Among other things, it is a great chapter full of promises and one of my favorites in the bible… I encourage you to read it!)
It reminded me of another passage, in Hosea 4:
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
Hos 2:15 And I will give her 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, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
Hos 2:16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.
I looked up the word ‘wilderness’, it means pasture , or desert, and comes from a root word that gives the idea of being driven into that pasture like cattle. The root word means to arrange, appoint, subdue, commune, promise, speak…
I think that God arranges or appoints our wilderness experiences. He knows that we are more likely to turn our hearts toward him when we are in need, than when we are in a relaxed state of prosperity. (Sad, but true.) It is when we are aware that we are poor and needy that he can speak ‘comfortably to us’ and we will be attuned to listen. King David, who had all the riches he could wish for, knew this, and called himself poor and needy, a beggar on a dunghill. Jesus said: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
‘Achor’ means ‘trouble’. The bible says that God has given us the valley of ‘trouble’ to be a door (an entrance way) of hope. The word hope there literally means a cord, in the sense of being bound together, figuratively, it speaks of expectancy, hope for the thing that I long for.
The thing that I, Sumi, long for is probably best expressed by the words of Paul, in Phillipians: ‘That I may know him…’ I believe this cry is in the heart of every believer…this is what we were created for, to know God intimately and to be known by Him.
I interpret this passage to mean that God will use my troubles as a doorway to greater intimacy with Him!
This passage closes by saying we will no longer call the Lord ‘Baali’ (which means ‘my master’) but we will call him ‘Ishi’ (which means ‘my husband’.) In the wilderness, if we want it to be so, and allow God to do this, our relationship with Him takes on new meaning. He is no longer the hard taskmaster that we follow out of duty, he becomes the husband whom we are bound together with in love.
At the end of Song of Solomon, the bride comes up from out of the wilderness, leaning upon the arm of her beloved. I pray that my wilderness experiences will teach me to lean upon the arm of my beloved too.
I thought it interesting that most of the major people in the Bible spent time in the wilderness… Abraham, Moses, God led the Israelites through the wilderness, feeding them with manna, Joseph was cast in a pit in the wilderness, David kept sheep in the wilderness, and hid from Saul there, Isaiah was fed by ravens in the wilderness, Jesus was tempted there (and came out in the power of the Holy Spirit!) , John the baptist was there until the day of his showing to Israel…the list goes on and on…