May 20, 2023: Haftorah - Hosea 2:1-10
This week's Haftorah reading is from Hosea 2:1-10. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he highlights “the valley of Achor” as a message of hope, in the midst of judgement! It speaks of a bright future as a promise by ELOHIM, despite the deep valleys we may be walking through in our lives.
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftorah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion – Hosea 2:1-10
We see in Hosea 2, after highlighting a message of judgment for wayward Israel, Almighty Elohim gave this prophet a message of hope. The central theme of Hosea is both infamous and unforgettable. Elohim appears to the prophet Hosea (a Hebrew name rooted in the word for “salvation”), and commands him to marry a whore. That is problematic enough, but he is further commanded to have children with the woman, children that will then necessarily be “children of whoredom” (Hosea 1:2). This will make them instant outcasts in the community. However, Elohim’s message through Hosea included these words…” 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, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.”
We find that phrase, “the valley of Achor” 3 times in the Bible. First, in the Book of Joshua, in connection with the story of Achan (Joshua 7:26). It was there that judgement swift and terrible fell upon a man who troubled the whole nation by compromising with evil things, and disobeying Yah. The second occasion is in Isaiah 65:1-10, who was a contemporary with Hosea. He linked the valley of Achor with Sharon as a place of rest for those who seek Elohim. Thirdly, we find it here in Hosea. The expression “Valley of Achor” probably became proverbial for that which caused trouble, that which had been a source of calamity would become a source of blessing. So, Hosea uses it as an expression of hope; trouble would be turned into joy and despair into hope.
We all go through deep valleys in our lives. Sometimes those valley’s cause us to question Elohim’s concern while we are going through our personal valley. The message in the valley of Achor is one with a bright future as a promise of Elohim. Yes, we may have trials and troubles in our lives, but Elohim… Yes, Elohim can turn things around! He can turn your situation around! The prophet Hosea, whose name means deliverance or help, safety or salvation, is almost as obscure and little known to us as the Valley of Achor. Hosea would be the last writing prophet to minister to Israel before the fall to the Assyrians. He has been called the prophet of “Israel’s zero hour”, because “the nation had sunk to a point of such sin and corruption that his book is the prophetic voice of that nation within the heart of the Kingdom itself.
No prophet preached a more painful “action sermon” than Hosea. He was instructed to marry a prostitute named Gomer who bore him 3 children and he wasn’t even sure the last two children were fathered by him. Gomer left him for another man and he had the humiliating responsibility of buying back his own wife. What was this all about? This is a powerful picture of what the people of Israel had done to their Elohim by prostituting themselves to idols and committing “spiritual adultery.”
Their first-born son’s name was “Jezreel” (Elohim will scatter), a reminder of coming punishment because of the disobedience of going beyond Adonai’s intent. The second born daughter’s name was
“Lo-ruhamah” (not loved) and had a double significance: Elohim’s compassion for Israel, the northern Kingdom, had come to an end; its judgment was imminent. However, Elohim still had compassion for Judah and would deliver it through supernatural means. The third child, a son, his name was “Lo-ammi” (not my people). This was not a denial of Elohim’s unconditional covenant with Abraham because it still continues today. Elohim was speaking to those Israelites who, while related to Abraham physically, were not related to him or his Yah spiritually.
Hosea’s horrible situation was a living picture of Israel’s relationship with Almighty Yah. Sadly, it still reveals the spiritual waywardness of Elohim’s people today. Look at Ya’akov 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with Elohim? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of Yah.”. With what are we cheating on Yah?
Whether or not this harshly offensive notion of the marriage between Hosea and Gomer is historical or symbolic only is in the end not really important. According to Hosea, Israel is doomed. The flirtation with the Baals and its consequent refusal to care for the poor and marginalized of society, has angered Yah so much that He appears ready to start over with another people who might actually perform the divine will. And yet! And yet! We find a future with hope…” And I will pity (or “I will cherish”) the House of Judah and I will save them by Elohim their Yah, I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by humans.”
Is it not the case that pain and hope are regularly found together? Do we attempt to find hope in the midst of pain? We don’t downplay the realities of pain when we search for hope, nor do we forget it. The two belong together, the prophet Hosea suggests that too! Remember as followers of Yeshua our faith is in the Abba who never gives up on us. No matter how dark, dreary and hopeless, cruel or violent the world is, we believe in hope, a hope based squarely on the love of Elohim as fully revealed to us in Yeshua HaMashiach. We, as Israel, are prone to wander from the call and way of Elohim. But Halleluyah that Yah, finally, will never wander away from us. Yes, Abba can and will be vastly disappointed in us again and again and yes, we may do huge damage to ourselves and the world Abba has given to us. But Elohim still calls us to follow that call! Pain and hope may be found together, but hope, grounded in love will abide. You can count on that!
Hosea 2:14, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.” This “therefore” suggests mercy! Elohim no longer utilizes the Hedge but the Hinge, we no longer face a wall but a way. He doesn’t abandon us, but He allures us. What is the “therefore” there for…they had forgotten Him, so He said that He would remind them of Who He is. Man’s miseries invite Elohim’s mercies. Elohim has mercy, not because we deserve it, but because we need it. He therefore draws us, because we are so deeply sunken. The depths of our mercy cries to the depths of His compassion and this changes His wrath into mercy and speaks to the heart which, for her salvation, He has broken.
The word “allure” suggest that Elohim would entice Israel and woo her. He says that He would “bring her into the wilderness.” When there is sin, Elohim must show His punitive correction towards His people, but then when the judgment has ended, He will show His precious connection towards His people. To “bring” has the idea of walking with her as if they are hand in hand. And just as they would be walking hand in hand, they would be talking heart to heart.
In the midst of these difficult moments, for them and for us today, Hosea assures us that Elohim remains active in our lives…that in the midst of pain there is always hope! May that hope remain for us our guiding principle as we move forward in wholeness with Yah, people, and all who have been brought into our path.
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,
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May this Sabbath be filled with the Presence of Adonai. May the Ruach fall fresh on you and restore what the enemy has stolen. Gather this Sabbath and honor King Yeshua. Let your praises be heard and we will see you at the altar!