There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor [troubling]
to be for her a door of hope and expectation.
And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth
and as at the time when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
(Hosea 2: 15 Amplified)
When God speaks about the metaphorical woman in the book of Hosea, the one who has been running to everyone but the one who can save her from a self-destructive lifestyle, he says there will come a time when she will sing to him as in the days of her youth.
The word translated “sing” in the New American Standard Bible is written as “respond” in others. The Amplified uses both terms. It is the Hebrew word ‘anah.
This same word is used 38 times in the Psalms alone, usually as a cry to God to save us from some sort of trouble –or even ourselves. ‘Anah Adonai! Hoshi a na! Hear and answer, Lord! Save us!
Sometimes, when it is translated answer, it describes God’s response:
I cried. He answered.
I called. He answered
I sought. He answered
I prayed. He answered
I pleaded. He answered.
Near the end of the book of Psalms (147: 7) one phrase directs the answering/responding/singing to God. Sing [‘anah] to the Lord with thanksgiving. (NASB)
I’ve been thinking about singing as our response to God –and about him singing to us. He also cries, calls, seeks, and pleads to us to answer him, not to rescue, but to recognize who he is, that he might be able to lavish his love on us. Is it possible that God’s call is like a prayer to those with ears to hear?
I have learned, the hard way, that sometimes the Lord didn’t answer my prayers and left me in a very uncomfortable place (called the Valley of Achor or Valley of Trouble in Hosea), not because he didn’t want to give me good things, but because he wanted me to be desperate enough to pursue him and find out who he really was. I needed to let go of the image I had of him and move toward deeper relationship. My image of him was made up of a compilation of authority figures I had known -and he was none of these.
He’s not a father who created us and then moved out, or a cruel task master, or even Santa Claus. God is not a lot of things we project onto him. God is holy, which means completely set apart, totally unique and different from anyone or anything we have ever known -but definitely worth getting to know.
I’m still learning as each new lesson and accompanying practical exam reveals more of his character.
A relationship with God can start with a cry for help, but it can move on to something much more mature.
After years of “saying my prayers” and giving him my daily laundry list of requests, I am learning prayer is more about finding out what he wants than telling him what I want.
When we pray and agree with his plans we see answers, but first we have to find out who is really is and what is on his heart. Prayer is about spending time with him, listening, studying His plans, examining them, being inspired by them and receiving a vision for the future that includes our participation.
What he desires to do is greater and so much better than anything we have ever imagined -but we need to respond to him and move toward him to be part of it. When we ask according to what is on his heart we see answers, but first we have to find out what is on his heart.
And that requires turning around from our own self-designed blue prints and responding to him. He delights in his beloved bride and responds to the things on her heart as well.
There is something about Armenian/Canadian soprano, Isabel Bayrakdarian’s voice in this video, recognizing who God is that carries my own heart’s song. Holy, holy, holy are you, Lord!
I bless you now and forever.