Not long ago, we considered that all wildernesses are not created equal. There are a few models in Scripture, and it is important to identify which is our wilderness when these seasons come upon us. The nation of Israel had their wilderness (Exodus 19:2). John the Baptist lived in the wilderness (Luke 1:80). Jesus was led to the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11).
Sometimes our wilderness experiences from seasons past revisit us, and we meditate on lessons learned. The truth is that some of us met this new year still in a wilderness season. If that is you, don’t try to escape or find your way out. Instead, survive the sword (the cutting) and learn new grace. Be encouraged toward thanksgiving for the GRACE and LOVE of God that met (and meets) us in the wilderness. Let’s review Jeremiah 31:2 —
Thus says the Lord, “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness — Israel, when it went to find rest. (NASB)
Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. (KJV)
Here are a couple of blessings in this verse —
1. Found is more than just discovery, a wandering into something. Found here means to secure what is sought. The people who survived the sword ATTAINED grace.
2. Wilderness is more than a place or a condition. Here, it comes from a root word that refers to verbal confession — to speak, command, declare, promise, sing, warn, threaten.
The wilderness can make us weary over time, and we fight for perspective. If we are there long enough, we suffer from a compromised and limited ability to agree with God and recount His Word. But when we meet God’s LOVE and GRACE and FAVOR in the wilderness, rest comes as well as restoration.
God desires to give us rest, those of us who survived the “sword season”. We searched for God to bring change to our mouths and thus our lives. And He met us, favored us, accepted us, and gave us rest.
Yes, survival is noteworthy…in many contexts. But what happens after that? Do we glory in making it “through”? Not really. The glory, the testimony, the victory is in how God met us in our wilderness experience. The glory is in the rest God gave us when we met His love and grace in the wilderness. Rejoice today, for God’s love extends even into our wilderness.