Isaiah 65:8-10 (ESV)
Thus says the LORD: “As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,’ so I will do for my servants’ sake, and not destroy them all. I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of my mountains; my chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there. Sharon shall become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for my people who have sought me.
The Valley of Achor (Trouble) is where Achan and his family were killed because of his sin of keeping some of the treasure from Jericho (See Joshua 6:17-19 and 7:10-26). The Lord demands obedience and when His people did not obey, the Israelites failed in their battle against Ai, a smaller and weaker army than that of Jericho.
But as people turn back to the Lord, there is blessing. God is more than willing to embrace us when we repent of our sins, and turn from our wicked ways. As we seek God, He welcomes us. So God makes this promise for the restoration to the Valley of Achor, when Israel (Judah) turns from wickedness, the Valley of Achor will be restored as well, and be a place for flocks to graze.
As we look forward to the celebration of Christmas, we should evaluate what we might be hoarding, that is keeping us from God’s blessings. If we harbor sin in our hearts, God cannot dwell with us. So we need to turn from our wickedness and let the Lord come to dwell in our hearts.
Advent is a time of preparation, and in this first week of Advent, we focus on our need for the Lord. We all have our weaknesses and favorite sins. But if we want to prepare to receive the Lord, we need to clean house, and seek the Lord. He will come and dwell with us, as we seek Him and do what is right.
by Virgil Stripes