“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
“And it shall be, in that day,” Says the LORD,
“That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’
And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’
For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals,
And they shall be remembered by their name no more.
This passage is a beautiful picture of the mercy of God. It follows God’s pronouncement of punishment on His people for their idolatry and adultery. “Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall deliver her from My hand,” says verse 10.
Yet, in the midst of His wrath, God’s great mercy remains.
The Valley of Achor mentioned is significant. That is the place where Achan was stoned following the conquest of Jericho when Israel entered the Promised Land. Achan is the man who disobeyed God, stole plunder for himself, and brought defeat and death upon the people. It is the place where Achan and his family were stoned and burned in punishment. It is the place where a heap of stones was erected as a reminder of what happens to the man who disobeys God.
And it is this place of punishment and despair that God promises to turn into a door of hope. This valley that represents all our sin and God’s well-deserved wrath is transformed in an instant into the entrance to His abundant mercy.
Good people have a hard time accepting this. Righteous, religious types who have always obeyed the rules just can’t imagine that God would have mercy on those who have abandoned and disobeyed. The big brother just couldn’t accept that the Father would welcome the rebellious prodigal back with open arms. “There must be more to it than that!” they say, “God can’t just let them off scot-free!”
But He does. That’s the beauty of grace. Those who deserve it least, those who have done everything to reject the Father still receive the same grace when they ask as the “good people.” Even the adulterous wife is welcomed back, calling Him “Husband” instead of “Master”. We think, “There must be some price to be paid for the rebellion and idolatry.” Yet, in the instant we turn toward Him, all the wrath of His punishment is washed away in the flood of His grace.
Just accept it. It’s not “too good to be true.” Remember, if we deserved it…it wouldn’t be called mercy.