“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there” (Hosea 2.14 NLT).
God offers each of His children personal promises and plants in us a deep desire to see them fulfilled. Yet, the promises never come right away. In fact, God deliberately leads us into the wilderness of our dreams, so He can do an internal work in us, preparing us for the burden and blessing of those promises. Those promises are a part of God’s glory, yet He withholds them for a time, so we can learn to trust and love Him with no strings attached. In the book of Hosea, God is about to lead Israel into the wilderness yet again. He has “lavished on her silver and gold,” but they took God’s gifts and worshipped Baal (a false god) with them (Hosea 2.8). Because of their unfaithfulness, He will strip them of everything, so Israel can learn to love and trust Him again. As Christians, we can’t run away from our time in the wilderness. Both Jesus and John the Baptist did their time, working out their faith in the wilderness (Matthew 4.1 & Matthew 3.1). The wilderness is a necessary part of entering our Promise Land. There is no side-stepping or walking around it, unless we want to wander for years and years. However, God promises us that He is especially “tender” in the wilderness. While we wait, He establishes a beautiful vineyard in our lives that will bear much fruit, brining hope to those around us (Hosea 2.15). Once we learn to put our complete trust in God in the wilderness, our fulfilled promises will not cause us to forsake our relationship with Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3.5-6 NLT).