“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”’” (Hosea 2:14-16, NKJV).
The Holy Spirit has been talking a lot about “reproach” lately. First, it was forgiveness; now He has moved onto reproach. Holy Spirit is not speaking for Himself, of course, but only what Jesus is showing Him, that we might be brought into beauty and completion– not to mention be given power to be witnesses of Jesus. So, let’s follow with Him, shall we?
Imagine you’re a prophet of God, longing to bring beauty and restoration to Israel. But instead of a message, God gives you a marriage. Not just any marriage, either, but one where He instructs you to marry a prostitute. And no, not one who was, but who is a prostitute–and will be unfaithful–so He can release the sound of forgiveness, sonship and marriage.
OK, that might not be a good idea, but in Hosea’s case, it was God’s idea and His will. Why? To make the message loud and clear. Because most of our own funkiness is found in our disconnectedness from His love, often through lies foisted or forced upon us. Impinged lies, the kind that make you cringe and retreat out of the light. Israel couldn’t see their idolatry, so God made it personal. Hosea wanted a message and ended up with a mess. Nevertheless, the Lord used this very trouble to open the door of hope for Hosea, Gomer (his wife), and all of Israel. What if our lives are the same? A message found inside of a mess.
Reproach is not good! It’s not God! It shameful and full of blame. It is the devil’s attempt to resist the Glory of God in our lives and shift our value to mere appearances; to reinterpret our worth by the awful things we go through rather than by the finished work of Christ. The enemy tries to take advantage in our vulnerable times to force his story line, his interpretation and his lies upon us.
You know what we will do for the sake of appearances; sometimes, almost anything! The devil knows this, too; put enough reproach on us, and he can silence our witness and stop our transformation. The word “devil” comes from the Greek word “diablos” and in Strong’s concordance means “traducer”. Now, I had to look up “traducer” to know what that meant. In Webster’s dictionary, “traducer” means “to expose to shame or blame by means of falsehood and misrepresentation” and it’s a transitive verb. Not sure what that meant, but I found out that transitive verbs always have an object—so this traducer or defamer, otherwise known as the devil, exposes shame or blame by means of falsehood and misrepresentation against US. You and me. In other words, the enemy is always “talking trash” about us, slandering us, and telling lies.
If all this is true, which it is, why doesn’t God protect us from all this reproach of shame and blame through the devil’s lies and misrepresentation? Because He can’t. We live in a living cesspool of words spoken, fears felt, and lies believed. He would have to take us to heaven to stop the accuser. In fact, God is counting on US rising in maturity to stop the accuser with Jesus’ blood, the word of our testimony, and freedom from the fear of death; in order that salvation, strength, and the kingdom of our God and power (authority) of Christ can fully come. (See Revelation 12:9-12).
Jesus emphasizes reproach to show us His strategy against the devil’s accusation of us. He uses reproach to shift identity from ourselves to Christ. From trying to “do it right” to being righteous in Christ. He shows us that the lies woven into our souls, influencing our emotions, and tormenting our lives, are LIES!
We are loved, wherever we are in our lives. We are victorious, wherever we are in our lives. We are sons being conformed into the image of the firstborn from the dead, wherever we are in our lives. We don’t need the Lord to stop the madness; all we need to do is change the channel!
It’s time to listen to the Holy Spirit’s music. We can listen to the Lord sing His love songs over us. We can sing along with the Holy Spirit about the fulfillment of Christ’s salvation, deliverance, and healing in our lives. We can sing of the mercies of our God forever. We can sing! We can sing Jesus! Think of reproaches as the chrysalis (caterpillar cocoon): a hard, outer case keeping us put while we transform into the Glory of Christ within. When the transformation is complete, the reproach/chrysalis gives way, and the new creation truths emerge like a butterfly, overwhelming and shedding the past.
Reproaches are not good, nor do they come from God, but God uses them to accomplish good things and fulfill His good pleasure in us. That’s why Moses could esteem the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; why Paul could take pleasure in reproaches; and why Jesus recognized that the reproaches against God fell upon Him (See Hebrews 11:26; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Romans 15:3).
It is so that the cesspool of lies could drain, people could be saved, and Glory could come.
There is a door of hope in our troubles, and His name is Jesus!