In Ezekiel 20 God speaks to the leaders of Israel about his dealings with them in the past. He said in verses 6 & 10:
6 ” On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands.
10 “Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness.”
God’s desire was to bring His people into a good land of milk and honey, but He took them first into the wilderness. He did that because in the wilderness there was nothing, definitely no milk & honey and they needed that experience before they were ready to enjoy milk and honey.
In the wilderness with nothing they had to learn to lean on and depend on God as their primary life source. Once that was in place they could go to the Promised land and enjoy milk and honey as their secondary life source, as the icing on the cake.
If they had gone straight to the land of milk and honey they would have become too focused on the milk and honey and drawn their life from that, what God had blessed them with, rather than God himself. They would have mistaken the secondary life source as their primary life source, mistaken the icing for the cake.
Like the children of Israel we must have God as our primary life source and his blessings as our secondary source, as the icing on the cake.
We must go into the wilderness and learn our lessons there before we are ready for the land of milk & honey.