Most people have heard, or sung, about the valley of Achor. Especially when you regularly visit a church or congregation. But do you know, what actually happened in the valley of Achor? Many times people sing songs, but often don’t actually realise what they sing. They sing songs and pronounce words, that in comparison to their lifestyle don’t line up. It’s so easy to sing a song with a nice melody, and be led by emotions. But do you know the meaning of the valley of Achor? Do you know what happened in the valley of Achor?
The fall of Jericho
In order to find out what actually happened in the valley of Achor, we have to go to the Book of Joshua. Starting in chapter 5:13, we read about the captain of the hosts of the Lord, who appeared to Joshua, and stood before him with a sword drawn in his hand. Joshua fell on his face on the earth, worshipped, and asked him what he had to tell him. The captain of the hosts of the Lord first asked Joshua to take off his shoes, because the place, whereon he stood was holy. And Joshua obeyed him.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, that He had given Jericho into his hand. He revealed His plan to Joshua and told him, step by step, what to do. When the Lord had given Joshua all the information, Joshua called the priests and the people of Israel, and shared with them, what the Lord had told him. Joshua also gave them the following commandment:
“The city of Jericho and all there is within (except Rahab and her household) shall be accursed.
And you, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest you make yourselves accursed, when you take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord” (Joshua 6:17-19)
Joshua not only gave them this commandment, but also explained to them, why they were not allowed to take anything from the city of Jericho, and what would happen if they would disobey this commandment.
The people of Israel went, obeyed the words of the Lord, and took and destroyed the city of Jericho. But not everyone obeyed the commandment of the Lord.
By the rebellion of one person,
the whole congregation of Israel became accursed
One man rebelled against the commandment of the Lord. He didn’t obey the words of the Lord, which were spoken by Joshua, but he obeyed his flesh. He was led by his lusts and greed and took of the accursed things. He brought it to his tent and hid it in the ground. Because of his act, the whole congregation of Israel became accursed.
Because of his action, God left them. It became visible, that God had left His people, when they went out to smite the city of Ai. But instead of smiting the city of Ai, the men of Ai, took and smote the lives of the 3000 Israelites.
Israel had sinned and transgressed the covenant of the Lord, which He commanded them. Because of that, the people couldn’t stand before their enemies. They turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed.
The Lord couldn’t be with them anymore, unless they would destroy the accursed from among them. The people had to be sanctified, so that God could dwell with them again.
The Lord instructed Joshua to sanctify the people, and to inform them, why they were not able to stand against their enemies, and what they had to do, to remove the accursed out of their midst.
So in the morning, Joshua brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. He brought the family of Judah and he took the family of the Zarhites. And when he took the family of the Zarhites, man by man, Zabdi was taken. And Joshua brought his household man by man, and Achan, the son of Carmi was taken.
Joshua confronted Achan, and asked him to give glory to the Lord, and make confession to Him. Joshua asked him to tell him, what he had done, and to not hide it from him.
Achan confessed, and told Joshua that he had sinned against the Lord God of Israel. He told him that when he saw a good Babylonish garment, two hundred shekels of silver, a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, he coveted them, and took them, and hid it in the earth in the midst of his tent.
When Achan came clean, Joshua sent messengers to the tent of Achan, to collect the accursed things. The messengers took the things with them, and brought them to Joshua and the people of Israel, and laid them out in front of the Lord.
Joshua and the people of Israel, took Achan, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons and daughters, his oxen, his asses, his sheep, his tent, and all he had, and brought them unto the valley of Achor.
Joshua said: “Why hast thou troubled us? The Lord shall trouble thee this day” (Josh 7:25)
And after these words of Joshua, they were killed
The valley of Achor became a door of hope
When the accursed was removed and destroyed among the people, the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. The valley of Achor meant for Achan and his family the end; death. But for the people of Israel, the valley of Achor became a door of hope, because in the valley of Achor the tide turned, and they were reunited with God; God became their God again, and they became His people.
Both Isaiah as Hosea prophesied, and wrote about the valley of Achor. They prophesied about the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ, and that His work of redemption at the cross, would become a door of hope, for everyone, who would believe in Him, and accept Him as Saviour and make Him Lord over their lives.
By disobedience of one man: Adam, evil entered, and the whole human race was accursed.
Every person, who would be born of the seed of Adam, would be affected by evil, and would be born as a sinner; and therefore deserves the death penalty.
Jesus Christ became a door of hope
But because of God’s great love for humanity, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took this death penalty of the whole human race upon Himself, so that everyone, who would accept Him as Saviour and Lord, would not have to carry this punishment anymore.
Jesus took all the sins and iniquities of the world upon Himself. His precious blood was shed, so that you would be reunited with God, and become a son of God by His Spirit. He did this for you, so that you could live in freedom, and receive eternal life.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (Col 2:13-15)
In the valley of Achor the old man dies,
and the new man arises
The valley of Achor is the place, where the old man and his evil nature dies, and where the new man arises. When you go to the valley of Achor, it means the end of your life as a sinner, with its deeds and practices. In the valley of Achor, you lay down your old life, and your new life will begin, when your spirit is raised from the death by the Holy Spirit.
The valley of Achor means, for the old man, the valley of troubles, but for the new man, it means a door of hope (Hosea 2:15)
It is important to count the costs, before you make this choice.