By Lauren Hall
When the honey is wild.
The land flowing with milk and honey.
Ahhh… the promised land. We are all searching for it, it seems. The place where the milk of life and fertility flow freely. Where the sweet healing honey nourishes and heals. Such a fruitful, life giving place. Where His promises fulfilled are a tree of life.
But before the promise, comes the wilderness. The place where the promises are given. The place we are forged, where our chains are broken off, where the call to repentance and changing of mindsets and perspectives comes.
A voice of one crying out in the wilderness
Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make his paths straight!
Every valley will be filled
And every mountain and hill will be made low
The crooked will become straight
The rough ways smooth
And everyone will see the salvation of God.
This voice crying out the promise in the wilderness was John the Baptist. Luke tells us “He wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.”
So… what is the difference between honey and wild honey. While I was in Israel I was surprised to learn it is quite different. Wild honey is not the liquid nectar made from bees, but is referring to mashed dates. This puzzled me at first but then as I drove through the very wilderness John went out to; where Jesus was baptized, and where the Spirit led him directly afterwards deeper into the wilderness this began to make more sense to me. You see it was a barren rocky place. (It looks like an Indiana Jones movie, actually.) Then at random you would see a date palm tree. It was the fruit of this tree, present in the wilderness, that John sustained himself on.
It's with this information that I realized the honey of the promised land and the honey of the wilderness were a different thing. Okay but why is that important? I’m glad you asked.
The Word compares itself to honey. I also find it incredibly fascinating the Hebrew word for wilderness, midbar, also has the meaning of “mouth, speech, and organ of speech” and its root word dabar means “to speak” and “promise”. You see God speaks to us in the wilderness and I believe there is a beautiful analogy to be unfolded here.
As someone who has spent some time in a few wilderness seasons, I can tell you it is a time that ignites a new kind of hunger for Him. In these seasons of refinement when you feel like you are wandering and waiting for promises there is a different sort of word that comes to you. A wild sort of word. His still small voice will whisper seemingly illogical and irrational directions and promises. He may tell you to Go, without further direction. (Genesis 12) He may tell you to leave the place of slavery just to lead you to a giant sea blocking your way and the enemy on your heels. (Exodus 13:17-14:29) He may tell you to throw a tree into the water to make it drinkable, or that when you hit a rock water will pour forth, then later just speak to the rock - don't hit it and you'll have the same effect, or that he will rain bread from heaven, but also don’t keep any leftovers. (Exodus 15;16; & 17 & Numbers 20) He may tell you to take a land filled with giants. (Numbers 13) He may tell you to go to the wilderness - when you are already there. (Mark 1:12-13) He may say go find the lost, and then give further instruction of “Don’t acquire gold, silver, or copper for your money belts. Don’t take a traveling bag for the road, or an extra shirt, sandals, or a staff.” (Matthew 10:9-10)
He may tell you and your husband to leave a good job, take your 5 kids in a less than ideal travel trailer with no pull vehicle to go hit the road, make disciples and expand his kingdom. (Gospel of my life.)
While what you hear may not be what you were expecting, it is always sweet and teeming with Hope and gives a burst of energy to carry you further… til the next wild honey tree.
So if you are in the wilderness, find a tree to rest under, consume the wild honey, know He is good, His word does not fail, and His ways are so much higher than ours. I promise you can trust Him.
King Jesus, I thank you that your word is sweet and sustaining and often wild. I thank you that your ways are higher than mine and that you withhold no good thing. Lord you give me grace enough, so in this wilderness I can wait. In the refining I can rest in You. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a desire to consume the “wild honey word” that you whisper to me. Give me the courage to heed your word even when it doesn't make sense, knowing that you are good and you are on the throne. Amen.
Written by Lauren Hall