Hosea the prophet took a wife of whoredoms in reveal God’s love. The valley of Achor became a door of hope. We can grow in the things not seen — love, joy, peace.
(Hosea 1:2; 2:7-15, Ezekiel 36:26)

Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11558
11:00 AM on 10/14/2018



P. Schaller

(Is. 10:27) When you come to church, you come as you are. We might have some yoke like we have here. The apparatus that connected oxen or animals together. Meaning my bad habit. It can be broken. The yoke is broken because of the anointing. The anointing breaks the yoke. Maybe a bad habit, an addiction, a sickness, a disappointment, – something you can’t shake. It’s hard to shake it off. Something hurt you but you come to the church and this is always our prayer. By your anointing, Lord, break the yoke and release your people. Release your people. Heal your people. One time, I was preaching in another country in Europe and a woman had a tumor in her breast. She felt the heat go through her body and after the meeting, she went in the bathroom to examine herself and there was nothing there. She went the next day to the doctor and they did a scan and it was gone. This happens. Healing can happen. Answers. I want you to know that and think about it. We are coming to meet God. This is not just a church service and I punch the clock and I’m out of here. I want to meet God. Sometimes I just come and it’s a habit for me. Of course, because I’m the pastor! You know.

That reminds me of a joke. The 40-year old man living with his mother at home doesn’t want to go to church. You have to go. I don’t want to go. Why? You’re the pastor!

I do believe this and I want you to believe that, too. Let’s assemble. God anoints us. Jesus is the Anointed One. He breaks the yoke. You might say my life just will never – and we say yes. It is true and let’s assemble in faith and hear from him. How to turn a bad situation into a good one. How to turn a bad situation into something – maybe the situation stays bad but how to find God in a situation. That’s our subject. Does it apply to you? Do you need to hear that? How many have been in a car accident lately? I asked once how many have been shot with a bullet or shot by a gun and five hands rose. We have a rough crowd here! One brother said the bullet is still in me. He was shot when he was 16 and now he’s in his 40s. How to take a bad situation and find God in the situation. Are you going to be awake when you sit down? Okay, be seated!

Something very strange happened at our pastor’s retreat. P. Ken Feyers from Miami where in Florida there are a lot of venomous snakes. You know, Florida. Burmese pythons. He flew up here and preached Wednesday night in this pulpit. Wasn’t he a blessing? He went to the men’s retreat and walking on the pathway and lo and behold a copperhead, a venomous, copperhead snake bit him in the heel. Oh my! He went down on one knee. He was brought to the hospital and he was treated and to make a long story short and a lot of jokes, we had so much fun with him. He came the last night in a wheel chair and we had a good time with him. We are buying him a pair of rattlesnake cowboy boots! When he was raising his sons, he was always telling them always be aware of your environment. You know the little boys. So he’s lying in the hospital in the Bronx getting text messages from his grown up sons. Dad, always be aware of your environment! We had a good time.

Josh. 7 you are Bible readers and when it comes to this church, it will happen to you little by little, you will learn your Bible. In my view, our view, it’s such a blessing to us. You start reading your Bible and God speaks to you. It happens little by little and you grow in wisdom. If coupled with humility and trust, why not when God so loved the world that he gave us his Son. God was incarnated in Christ and came because we are too foolish and sinful, separated from God and easily get into a lot of trouble as people.

In Josh 7 you can read the full text with this man who stole. They were told as a nation not to take anything out of Jericho. He couldn’t resist the temptation. He took a Babylonian garment and a wedge of silver and gold. Eventually, he was detected and God brought judgment on him. He was stoned to death for troubling Israel. They did that in the valley of Achor.

vs. 26. It’s a bad place. It was a place of judgment. There was a pile of stones with the guilty parties buried there. That’s what happened in the story.

Hos 1:2, take unto you a wife who is sleeping around as a way of life and supporting her life by prostitution. How could a holy man of God take a woman like this? God is saying this is like Israel. I am holy and I have a nation totally given over to the sex drive. They are sleeping with each other’s wives, going after idols, and following the desires of their own hearts.

Hos 1:2, picture of the heart of man. He has something missing. He has desire and the desires are many. Many desires we have that are normal or natural or understandable, reasonable. We are made in a certain way. But in this story by Hosea, the nation has departed from God and now she is running after many lovers.

Hos 2:7, they are not necessarily wrong in themselves. I’m a single woman and I’d like to get married. We understand it. You have a desire to be married or have a family or a home or job or health. I’m sick and I’d love to be healthy. We have many of these desires. The problem is when we don’t have our new heart then our desires are self- centered. Our desires are always about us. This is the nature of man. He has many lovers. This woman is seeking for these lovers but can’t catch them.

Hos. 2:7, they may be out of reach or God doesn’t allow me to catch what I’m looking for. Everyone wonders about this. How does it work? Things I’d like to get and I might get them but then I find an emptiness in my heart. I find another lover and might catch that one. I go after another one. I don’t catch what I really need. These are what we want. The wants or the desires of the human heart. What I want. I can’t really find it. That’s what happened to her.

vs. 7. It is true we follow after our desires and get in some trouble. Maybe I’ll go back to the first one. I had a better situation with the first one. It’s amazing how discontented – let’s put down that word – and unsatisfied we can be as people. There is always another thing with the heart of man.

It says here in chapter 2:8, Baal is the name of the idol she has followed after. One reason why so much Baal worship is because Baal worship was connected with promiscuity and sexual activity. Sexual activity in our country has grown enormously in our culture. It’s something we grant ourselves. Take what you want. Take it. The responsibility aspect is not emphasized. The pleasure is. Go after it. Get it. Get what you want. It’s about your seeking and desiring and you can feed these desires. So she did. But didn’t realize how much God had already given her. How much she already had. Israel didn’t realize how blessed she was with her prosperity and blessing. It’s kind of like in our country as well. We have so much that we are not recognizing what it is that we have. We’re seeking after many things that come from within our hearts with this kind of empty hole with all these things that are kind of available to us. I draw them as little pieces because they are not big enough to satisfy the hole in my heart.

2:9-11 he is going to deal with her as a nation and take away from her, bring her to a state of poverty. He wants to draw her to himself. He would like her to find who God is. That’s a general principle in life. We generally believe in God but follow the desires of our life and hearts.

vs. 14. I will bring Israel into the wilderness and then I will speak comfortably. I will not judge her. I will love her. I will give her a new beginning. I will give her a new heart. It says that in Ezek 36.

vs. 15. Valley of Achor – what is it? Where that family was stoned in Joshua which we read a few minutes ago. The valley of Achor will become a door of hope. The snake bite on our pastor. That’s strange, isn’t it? It happened with the apostle Paul. He escaped the hurricane, the storm, the ship wreck and as he was gathering sticks, a viper struck him in the hand and he shook it off into the fire. No swelling and he did not die. The natives had seen it happen and were amazed. He escaped the hurricane but he must be a bad man because the viper will kill him. He shook it off into the fire and no problems. A bad situation but in principle we need to understand we have seen in the valley of Achor a door of hope. Where there was a judgment there is mercy always in your life. Always.

P. Ken had the swelling. He was hospitalized. But that night when he came to our fellowship in a wheelchair treated he shared with us, you know, being a pastor is also not an issue of being strong. It’s an issue of being weak and finding God’s strength in our weakness. It’s getting into a bad situation and realizing this is not defining my life.

God is saying I will give you the valley of Achor which is almost like a nightmare as a valley of hope. That cross goes to the valley of Achor and changes it. That Christ in our life takes every situation and by the Spirit of God we are with another heart. This new heart we have is without a hole in it. It is I will give you a new heart and a new spirit.

Ezek 36:26. The valley of Achor which is like a nightmare or the snake bite becomes a door. A valley becomes a door. What is a door? The door is there. It’s in a bad situation. In a bad situation there is a door there. If you are in a prison in a way there isn’t a door because it’s locked. I can’t get out. I’m a slave. I can’t get out of Egypt. But wait there is a door. There is a door. When Noah built his ark, that door was closed and it says no window in the ark except the one above that let in life. There is a door. If God closes the door, he opens a window. If there is a tragedy, there has to be a door there. This is the meaning of our new life. There is God. God is there. There is always a door. That’s the definition of God. There’s God. Always a door with God. In your heart, go back to this one. It’s more like this is strange. It’s a prison. My old heart which is me. This is about me. Life is about me. This is a small world. It’s me. Jesus came so that it would be about God. This woman in Hosea is seeking after her lovers and can’t get them. When she sleeps with some, it’s like where is another one. There is no door. It’s a prison of my lust and myself. Jesus Christ comes and it’s not about him. It’s about his Father. I always do what I see my Father do. I came to manifest him in this world, to show him. Glorify him. Father, not my will your will. The great prayer that is different from the prayers of Adam. Adam is saying my will be done, my life, my desires. Be careful how you feed your desires.

I want to read to you about that. You can see how this happens. “The steps of the process of a desire. A man allows himself to desire something.” Good statement. I allow myself a desire. A man is married and he sees a woman and looks again, looks a third time, he looks at the woman and he recognizes her. He looks at her and the desire begins in him. “That thing begins to dominate his thoughts. He finds himself involuntarily thinking about it in his waking hours and dreaming of it when he sleeps. It begins to be what is apply called a ruling passion. He begins to form imaginary schemes to obtain it.” I don’t think it’s only a man or a woman or a woman and a man. I think it’s about a business, a job, an object, a car, a house, maybe a child, a family. I’d love to have a family. Any number of things. They are not necessarily wrong. They are earthly. They can become very powerful. In this progression, it becomes something dominant in his soul. I want to say be careful of that. This is another way. This new heart has a desire for the godly things. It has a desire for God. Has a desire for truth. For the invisible. We set our affection on things above and it’s real. As we were together with this group of pastors we realized in our fellowship for two days we realized how much we all love what we do. We love speaking about these things and thinking about them. The desire God put in our hearts to serve and walk with God and find his will. You have it because you are born again. You can feed that godly desire. That’s what you are doing here this morning. Even the valley of Achor in a way is a nightmare becomes a door of hope because the new heart defines the world for us. The prison isn’t the end of the world. I am the Lord’s prisoner Paul said. Wait, Paul. You are the prisoner of the Roman Empire. I am, but I am a prisoner of the Lord.

We rejoiced when we heard of that release of that pastor in Turkey, that American that came home. We were happy to hear it. I love it when you find something godly and good happening. We rejoice in it. They asked, what is your next step? We are going to pray as a family and seek what God’s will is. That’s beautiful.

What is God’s will? I got bit by a serpent at the pastor’s retreat but it became a message for us. The valley of Achor there is a door of hope. There is a message, a spirit. P. Ken had this spirit of joy. We all had and thought about it and how unique and unusual it was.

We also don’t have these lower end desires that frustrate people. I didn’t get what I wanted. It didn’t go the way I thought it would happen. I’m so disappointed. I’m filled with disappointment. It didn’t work out. I didn’t get what I wanted. I thought it would go this way and it didn’t go that way. Why? God is there. God is saying I want you to seek me, believe me, trust me and walk with me. I will fill you and satisfy you and you will find me. We can grow in it and feed it and become worshippers of God. We get the wisdom to realize how to organize our lives. Life is not easy. It takes the wisdom of God to understand how to stay away from some things and feed other things. “We begin to form imaginary schemes. These schemes may involve ways of eliminating those who stand in my way.” I’m going to eliminate the opposition. I’m going to get what I want. It might lead me to stealing. It might lead me to deceiving. It may lead me to killing. It may lead me to betrayal. It may lead me to adultery or some other deceitful thing because of my desire being fed. Way back here in church I hear another message and it’s another heart and another set of desires. Another place to set my affection on things I can’t see. While we look at the things that are invisible. We look at the things that cannot be seen. The things that are seen pass away but the things that are not seen. What are the things that are not seen? Here’s three. Love. I may not see it but it’s here. Love is here but I don’t see it maybe. Then I see it through you. I hear it in the Bible. I see it on the cross. There is love. I can’t buy it at Walmart or find it on the street. There is joy that is not seen and packaged. There is peace that is not seen. This is how bad situations turn into something better. It’s where ever God is when he is with us, if God is for us who can be against us. If we have found God, we have found everything. We have found what we really need. This is not want. This is what I’m really made for that I actually need. It’s not needs. I don’t have needs. I have a need.

I need this loving God who says I will meet all your needs in Php 4. Through him we can do all things. Who says I will give you beauty for ashes. Who says I will redeem you. If you can’t find your lovers, come to me. You will call me Ishi but not Baali. You will call me husband and not master. God will be our husband, not our master. He is not a master; he is a husband. Husband is different. He lays down his life and takes care.

It says “for long enough (in this focus on his carnal desire) all this may go on in his mind. Then one day the imaginings may blaze into action, that he may find himself taking the terrible steps necessary to obtain his desire. And every crime in this world has come from desire which was first a feeling in the heart through which being nourished long enough, came into action.”

Why is it sometimes that people don’t fall into these sins? Because they don’t desire them in the first place. They catch it way back here. They say I don’t want that and I cannot be thinking about that.

I want to have some other desire in my life, to seek God, to relate to him, to worship him, to trust in him and to follow him. As we do that, as the God of all grace he will take even the valley of Achor and make it a door of hope. We’ll say our God is not a God that judges us but a God that loves us.


Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.