Solitude is defined as the state or quality of being alone or remote from others. There is a necessity of taking time away from the business of life to be with the Lord. God says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In other words, “Hush! stop your commotion and realize that I am God.” Humans tend to talk too much and listen too little. The believer needs to learn to settle down, meditate, pray then hear the voice of God through the scriptures. The Bible gives us examples to persons that sought the Lord in solitude:
God spoke to Abraham saying, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation…” (Genesis 12:1-2). Abraham was to be separated from the associations of his early life. The influence of heathen family and friends would interfere with the training which the Lord planned to give him. So he obeyed (Hebrews 11:8). And for his obedience, he became God’s friend (Isaiah 41:8).
When Jacob was troubled with the fear of his brother’s revenge. He spent the night in prayer and agony repenting of the sins that he has committed against his brother and seeking forgiveness and help from the Lord. There, the Lord appeared to him and blessed him with peace and a promise of help (Genesis 32:24–32).
Moses spent 40 years in the solitude of the land of Midian (Acts 7:29, 30). God’s wisdom called him to become the leader of His people and spend many years in the humble work of a shepherd. The habits of watchfulness, of selflessness and tender care for his flock would prepare him to become the patient, longsuffering shepherd of Israel. He had to unlearn what he learned in Egypt. In the desert, Moses met God at the burring bush (Exodus 3).
When Elijah was threatened by Jezebel, he ran away to the wilderness. There, “the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains…but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11,12). The prophet realized that not by bringing down fire from heaven, not by putting to death the prophets of Baal, but by a quiet work in which the Spirit of God would soften and subdue the hardened hearts of sinners (Isaiah 30:15).
The prophet Jeremiah called people to seek the Lord in solitude: “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone and keep silent, because God has laid it on him” (Lamentations 3:25–28).
After the conversion and before his ministry, the apostle Paul went to Arabia for three years (Galatians 1:17, 18). In the solitude of the desert, Paul had a good opportunity for quiet study and meditation. He emptied his soul of the prejudices and traditions that had till this point shaped his life, and received instruction from the Source of truth. And the Lord confirmed him in the faith, giving him a rich measure of wisdom and grace (Job 22:21).
One of the significant characteristics of Christ was that He earnestly sought His Father in solitude and prayer. Just before His ministry, He spent 40 days in the wilderness alone, fasting and praying (Matthew 4:1, 2). And during His ministry “while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35). He “often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16 also Matthew 14:13).
Jesus, in solitude asked for wisdom before choosing the disciples (Luke 6:12–13). And after their missionary work, He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31–32). Finally, just before His crucifixion, He prayed alone in great agony in Gethsemane for power to do the will of God in saving man (Luke 22:39–44). By His prayer life, Jesus left for us a great example to follow.
In His service,
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