Valley of AchorValley of Baca


Finally the Israelites were going into the promised land.  Joshua had been installed as their leader and the Lord was with them.  But first they had to take out the big, powerful and important city of Jericho that stood in their way and would attack from behind if they went around it. 


God intended to give the people the riches of the land of promise He was giving, but Jericho was a different matter.  It was not in the land of promise and all within it was banned by the Lord.  Nothing was to be taken from there and all belonged to the Lord.


But human greed crept up and something got into Achan’s heart.  He saw some silver and gold and a Babylonian robe and he wanted them.  No one was looking and he took the items and went and buried them beneath the floor of the tent.  He involved all his family in the secret, not realizing that the Living God had seen.


We live our lives much the same way don’t we.  We want God’s care and love, but we want to explore the dark side too.  We act as if God seen just our good stuff, but then hide the bad stuff and think somehow God doesn’t see.  How foolish we are!  He looks at everything, not even a thought can escape His scrutiny.


But we need to look further into the story.  You remember that the army went up to Ai a little Podunk city that should have been an easy battle, especially after Jericho!  But they were defeated and lost 36 men that day.  What happened!

There was sin in the camp.  The drew lots and it came down to Achan.  Did you know Achan means troubler.  How  would you like to marry some one with the name of troubler?  Achan was in trouble now. 


Joshua 7:24 - 26 (NASB) 24Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.  25Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.” And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.  26They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day.


This is a very sad story.  Can you imagine the searing regret in Achan’s mind as the stones began to strike his wife and children?  The pain in his heart must have been enormous.  I know that searing regret for things I have done in the past.  God seems to be a distant memory and your days are filled with pain and tears.


Ah but God sees this too and knows the grief of the heart of men.  He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief the Word says.


The Valley of Achor is only mentioned five times in the scriptures, twice in this passage of sorrow above, once in Joshua 15:7 as a boundary.  In Isaiah 65: 10 it says that the Valley of Achor will be a resting place for flocks for those who seek Him.  Nice and peaceful for that former trouble spot and searing regret and sorrow.  But the last one in Hosea is the one I am interested in.


Hosea 2:14 - 15 (NASB) 14    “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness     And speak kindly to her. 15 “Then I will give her her vineyards from there, And the valley of Achor as a door of hope.  and she will sing there as in the days of her youth,  As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.


Look here and see what God does with the Valley of Achor.  That valley that was dead end, where everything seemed a loss, where you would never escape the sorrow and grief you feel and suddenly, through the grace, mercy and power of God become a “Gateway or Door of hope”.  Isn’t that just like our God to come and do such a thing?  Isn’t that the Cross of Jesus that becomes such a doorway of hope for us?


Look at Psalms 84 one of my personal favorites.


Psalms 84:5 - 7 (NASB) 5    How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,     In whose heart are the highways to Zion! 6    Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring;     The early rain also covers it with blessings. 7    They go from strength to strength,     Every one of them appears before God in Zion.


Look at these verses.  Our strength come from the Lord.  These highways in the heart that lead to Zion the city of God they must pass through the valley of Baca or weeping.  But God who sees all and comforts all who mourn in Zion lets those tears turn into springs of water the ground and covers it with blessings.  We weeping, but full of joy go from strength to strength and we all appear before our God in Zion.  He doesn’t forget even one and leave them in the valley of Baca or Achor.  Our God reigns and He loves.


If you are in that valley today, look up to the One who loves you and will turn it into a doorway of hope for you!


Evan Wiggs