The wilderness

(J. C. Philpot, "The Valley of Achor" 1861)

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead
her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her."
    Hosea 2:14

The children of God would not voluntarily go into the
--it is a place too barren for them to enter,
except as allured in a special manner by the grace of
God, and led by the power of God.

Nor do they for the most part know where the Lord
is taking them. They follow His drawings; they are
led by His allurings; they listen to His persuading
voice, trusting to Him as to an unerring Guide.

But they do not know the 'place of barrenness' into which
He is bringing them--this the Lord usually conceals from
their eyes. He allures and they follow, but He does not
tell them what He is going to do with them, or where
He intends to take them. He hides His gracious purposes,
that He may afterwards bring them more clearly to light.

Look at the place where He brings His people--the
. This is a type and figure much used by
the Holy Spirit, and conveys to us much deep and
profitable instruction.

The wilderness is an isolated, solitary spot, far, far
away from cities, and towns, and other busy haunts of
men--a remote and often dreary abode, where there is
no intruding eye to mark the wanderer's steps, where
there is no listening ear to hear his sighs and cries.
The Lord, when He puts forth His sacred power upon
the heart, to allure His people into the wilderness,
brings them into a spot where in solitude and silence
they may be separated from everyone but Himself.

The 'wilderness', we take as an emblem of being alone
with God--coming out of the world, away from sin and
worldly company, out of everything carnal, sensual, and
earthly, and being brought into that solemn spot where
there are secret, sacred, and solitary dealings with God.