Edited by David Townsend
Isaiah 65:10 “Sharon will become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds for my people who seek me.”
Hosea 2:15 “There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.”
The Lord has been speaking to many about this new season in the Body of Christ. Here at Lionheart, the Lord spoke to Mike McClung in 2009 using Joshua 3-5 as a paradigm. The Lord indicated to Mike that He was going to use Joshua 3-5 to illustrate the process of refining that He would take the Body of Christ through in the subsequent years. All of it would serve to prepare the Body of Christ to enter into the Promised Rest (Hebrews 4) where the works of the flesh cease; His enemies are made His footstool (Psalm 110); and the Presence and Glory of God can rest on the corporate Body of Christ. This year, the Lord spoke to Mike that as the nation of Israel observed Passover in the Promised Land after crossing over Jordan, this most recent Passover in 2019 marked the same position in this prophetic journey. And as they began to eat of the fruit of the land, so also the Body of Christ is beginning to “eat the fruit” of the new season and see the fulfillment of that Promised Rest in this region.
In light of all of this, the Lord recently highlighted Isaiah 65:10 and Hosea 2:15 to me to give us a promise and a hope, and show us specifically how the Lord is bringing restoration. First, there is the area of Sharon. According to the John Gill Exposition of the Bible, Sharon was once a very fertile, beautiful, and fruitful land, where King David’s herds were kept (1 Chronicles 27:29). But in the time of Isaiah, it had become like a wilderness (Isaiah 33:9). Sharon is an illustration of that which was once fruitful becoming wild and useless through neglect or enemy activity. Yet the Lord promised that it would once more be a place for the flocks, where they would be kept safe and fed.
Then there is the Valley of Achor or Valley of Trouble. It was named for the stoning of Achan after his sin at Jericho. Once it was discovered that he had disobeyed the Lord, he, his family, his livestock and all of his property where taken into this Valley and stoned until it became one large heap of stones (Joshua 7:24-26). This valley was known as a place of trouble, affliction, and despair. Yet, the Lord promises through Isaiah 65:10 and Hosea 2:15 that He will take these places of grave error, trouble and judgment, and transform them into resting places of peace, and a door of hope.
It is also worth mentioning that these two places mentioned in these verses are the extreme limits of the Promised Land: Sharon—on the western coast near Joppa, and the Valley of Achor—east near Jericho. Also, what’s interesting is that the Valley of Achor is thought to be the first place the Jews set foot after they had passed through the Jordan.
So coming across this, I felt like the Lord wanted to encourage us in a few specific ways as we step out into this new season to be inherited. First, nothing is beyond the reach of God to restore. Just as Sharon was restored from a wilderness to a fruitful, fertile land again, the promises of God that have seemingly died will be revived in this new season. Even people that have become lukewarm in their faith will be revived to passionate, vibrant life in Christ. The Lord will even transform the situations of trouble and despair in our lives and ministries into places where the Lord is the Great Shepherd—watching over His sheep and opening the “door of hope.”
Next, consider that we have walked through this process together and we are entering this promise together. Throughout the process of Israel entering the Promised Land, the Lord saw His people as one. They crossed the Jordan as one, they were circumcised as one, they observed Passover as one, and they conquered Jericho as one. And when Achan disobeyed the explicit command of the Lord, the entire nation was judged until they made it right. The Lord saw them as one people, even though the sin was one man’s. So through these verses we can see that which had been a source of calamity to God’s people will become “a door of hope”—a place of blessing, joy and triumph to a restored people and who walk in the favor of the Lord!
From the time the Lord gave this Word in 2009 until now, it has been a Body journey. As we individually have embraced the work of the Cross, we have been drawn to each other and “walked through the Jordan” together. In other words, He has dealt with us more and more as a larger Body of Christ, to prepare a resting place for His presence. He has seen us as one, led us as one, called us as one, and is sending us out as one. Yes, we need Jesus individually, but He has been refining us as one in Him, so that the promises that are too big for any one person, family, fellowship or ministry to receive can be fulfilled in this region! This is how His glory will cover the earth like the waters cover the sea! (Hab. 2:4)
He has walked us through this process as one in Christ and now is leading us into the “door of hope.” Lest we forget, He is that door! He is the highest prize and reward. He is the door of hope given in Hosea 2:15, that represents where Christ causes His Church and people to lie down and rest in Him!
Praise be to the Lord! Let us declare Eph. 4:4-6—“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all!”
Thank You Lord, for this place of fruitfulness, joy and strength! Thank You that You have been restoring us in the places of trouble and calamity individually and corporately. And thank You for leading us through the Jordan and through Your door! We are one with You and each other!