Following God Into the Wilderness

Have you ever tried to have a quiet time with the Lord, but your heart just wasn’t in it?  Maybe you’re feeling discouraged or hopeless.  Or, maybe, it’s just a rainy day and you’re just feeling down.  Are you feeling a little lost this morning and wondering how you got there?

If you only have the energy to read one verse this morning…turn to the book of Hosea.

Therefore, I am going to persuade her,
lead her to the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
– Hosea 2:14 HCSB

This verse just brought me comfort.  The Lord is speaking to the people of Israel who had forgotten the Lord and turned to other gods.  They just no longer had a heart for God like they had in the past.  Three things stand out.

  1. I am going to persuade her…The children of Israel had turned their backs on God.  They had forgotten all that He had done for them.  Prosperity and pleasure surrounded them and they no longer had any need of the One who had delivered them from servitude and hardship.  God, however, does not walk away.  He does not give up on them.  He pursues them again.  In The Message, this line is paraphrased…I’m going to start all over again.  Are we so willing to accept only good things from His hand and then question His protection or provision when hardships come our way?  When we, like the Israelites, can be such fickle followers…He does not give up.  He persuades us to once again turn to Him.
  2. lead her to the wilderness…Sometimes, when we find ourselves in the wilderness, we assume that something has gone wrong.  When we are struggling to find our way or experience some disappointment..we think that we have, either willfully or unknowingly, taken a wrong turn. What if God Himself has led you to the wilderness.  Would that change the way you feel about being there?
  3. and speak tenderly to her…God will speak tenderly to us.  Yes, He may need to lead us into the wilderness to cause us to refocus on Him…but, when we get there, He speaks tenderly.  There are times when we are certainly deserving of a harsh word from God…times when we have let doubt and fear creep in once again.  Yet, when we turn to Him with a weary heart…He speaks tenderly to us. 

Do not be fearful of your wilderness circumstances.  He is there.  Know that, if He lead you to the wilderness, there is a purpose behind it.  Be committed to following Him down any road. 

Refuse to be a fickle follower of Christ.  Follow him with the same passion and commitment whether He is leading you beside still waters or into the wilderness.

“And now, here’s what I’m going to do:

   I’m going to start all over again.
I’m taking her back out into the wilderness
where we had our first date, and I’ll court her.
I’ll give her bouquets of roses.
I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope.
She’ll respond like she did as a young girl,
those days when she was fresh out of Egypt.        

 Hosea 2:14-15 The Message

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