Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her.…
The Israelite past seems to Hosea a mirror in which to read their future. The gloomy gorge through which at one time Israel journeyed proved a door of hope. In all our difficulties and sorrows it is within our power to turn them into occasions for a firmer grasp of God, and so to make them openings by which a happier hope may flow into our souls. But this promise, like all God's promises, has its well-defined conditions. All depends on how we use the trial.
I. The trouble which detaches us from earth gives us new hope. Sometimes the effect of our sorrows is to rivet us more firmly to earth. The loss of dear friends should stamp their image on our hearts, and set it as in a golden glory. But it sometimes does more than that: it makes us put the present with its duties impatiently away from us. The trouble that does not draw us away from the present will never be a door of hope, but rather a grim gate for despair to come in at.
2. The trouble which knits us to God gives us new hope. All the light of hope is the reflection on our hearts of the light of God. It is only when we by faith stand in His grace, and live in the conscious fellowship of peace with Him, that we rejoice in hope. Sorrow forsakes its own nature, and leads in its own opposite, when sorrow helps us to see God. Hope is but the brightness that goes before God's face, and if we would see it we must look at Him.
3. The trouble which we bear rightly, with Gods good help, gives new hope. If we have made our sorrow an occasion of learning, by living experience, somewhat more of His exquisitely varied and ever ready power to aid and bless, then it will teach us firmer confidence in these inexhaustible resources which we have thus once more proved. "Tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope." That is the order. You cannot put patience and experience into a parenthesis, and omitting them, bring hope out of tribulation. I build upon two things — God's unchangeableness, and His help already received. Upon these strong foundations I may wisely and safely rear a palace of hope, which shaft never prove a castle in the air. The past, when it is God's past, is the surest pledge for the future. Then lot us set ourselves with our loins girt to the road. The slope of the valley of trouble is ever upwards. Never mind how dark the shadow of death which stretches athwart it is.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.