God desired to change his relationship status with His people, so He led them out into the wilderness to begin that process. His ultimate goal was to become intimate with His people. Knowing their hearts, He desired to change how they viewed Him. No longer did He want to be called Master, now He wanted to be called Husband. From duty to relationship is a wide gap. Our human tendency is to become so consumed with habitual forms of worship that we forget what it is like to just bathe in His presence. He understands our deepest desires to know Him, so out of His greater desire to be known, He prepares a place for us in the wilderness so we can hear His soothing, wooing words.
At first, it is hard for us to accept that the wilderness, away from all the familiar voices we have in our lives, is a place that we want to be. We tend to fight it, resent it, and fear it. We even become angry and demand that others give us their attention. However, if this seemingly desolate destination is God-ordained and we still ourselves long enough to listen, we will be wooed by His voice. He beckons us to draw near to Him by speaking to our weary souls. It is when we surrender to His invitation that we are relieved of our burdens and we begin carrying His easy yoke. When we spend enough time in that place in His presence and away from all the distractions, our relationship with Him is transformed.
His goal for us in the wilderness is to bring us to a place of intimacy with Him so that when we are released to do His bidding, we easily tune in to His voice for direction, instruction, encouragement, and strength. To understand the ultimate purpose of that unfamiliar place makes it much easier for us to endure.
Hosea 2:14-20, Matthew 11-28-30