"I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her." Hosea 2:14
Charles Spurgeon comments:
The goodness of God sees us allured by sin, and it resolves to try upon us the more powerful allurements of love. Do we not remember when the Lover of our souls first cast a spell upon us and charmed us away from the fascinations of the world! He will do this again and again whenever He sees us likely to be ensnared by evil.
He promises to draw us apart, for there He can best deal with us, and this separated place is not to be a paradise, but a wilderness, since in such a place there will be nothing to take of our attention from our God. In the deserts of affliction the presence of the LORD becomes everything to us, and we prize His company beyond any value which we set upon it when we sat under our own vine and fig tree in the society of our fellows. Solitude and affliction bring more to themselves and to their heavenly Father than any other means.
When thus allured and secluded the LORD has choice things to say to us for our comfort. He "speaks to our heart," as the original has it. Oh, that at this we may have this promise explained in our experience! Allured by love, separated by trial, and comforted by the Spirit of truth, may we know the LORD and sing for joy!
Note that it is the WILDERNESS to which God allures His chosen ones, to recall them to their first spirit love. It is the wilderness, not a resort. A wilderness, a place of barrenness, a desert, a place of wildness, with solitude and affliction. Whoever is wise will hear and take instruction: whom the Lord loves, He disciplines. And the lonely wilderness is intended the only place whereby the beloved can receive her basis of blessing. Truly, it is intended as the first phase in a "harvest of righteousness" (Heb. 12:11). In this place, the Lord speaks to the heart, with great tenderness.
Also note that the wilderness becomes a DOOR OF HOPE. The next verse says this (v. 15): "I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope." The AV translates this verse "I will give her her vineyards from thence." In other words, the vineyards spring from the wilderness place: when the heart is restored to love, divine fruitfulness springs forth in life. The Valley of Achor thus becomes the Door of Hope for the covenant child.
This fruitfulness may not resemble what humans call blessing. It may be in the fuller blessing of another, as this passage is fulfilled perfectly in the in-gathering of the Gentiles into covenant blessing (cf. Romans 9:25). It may be in a life of affliction, as my father witnessed in a holy life of physical handicap, or Joni Eareckson Tada witnesses to daily, from a wheelchair of paralysis. The point much larger than humans might make it, in falsely defined blessing. The fulfillment is holy harvest, supernatural vineyards in redeemed human life. Divine fruitfulness is the promise of the wilderness!
The lesson is enduring. The place of affliction, the valley of trouble, is never intended as an end in itself. For the child of God it is destined to be a gateway of hope, as the heart receives its needed healing, away from the comforts that distracted it from the heart of Life. Never give up on your desert, friend! Never give up on your valley. Look anew to the word and presence of God. Listen for the voice of the holy Lover speaking tenderly to your heart. A holy vineyard awaits you. The heart's home is yours. Alleluia!