There are several stories in the Bible where God calls one of His chosen into a place of solitude and seclusion. The apostle Paul, who has one of the greatest conversion stories in the Word of God, was led into the desert for three years. During that time the Holy Spirit instructed him in the ways of God. Saul, later known as Paul, had persecuted Christians with near fanaticism until his conversion along the Damascus road. God used the desert years of solitude to renew Paul’s mind and to transform him into the image of Christ. This desert interlude was a part of Paul’s roadmap, and the years of solitude were essential in preparing him for Christian ministry. Certainly, it was a time when the Lord revealed many deep spiritual truths.
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“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days.” Galatians 1:15-18 (NKJV)
“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.” Daniel 2:22 (NASB)
It is during those times when we are unseen, hidden away from others, that we go deeper in our relationship with Christ. There are treasures in the depths of solitude, but we have to dig them out. When we silence the chaos of the world around us and meditate on the living Word, our spirit will burn with intensity. We are quicker to recognize the Shepherd’s voice and better able to discern the counterfeit mouthpiece of the enemy. Times of solitude are seasons of absolute dependence and submission, and these characteristics ought to follow us into the daylight hours of servitude and Christian ministry.
Moses is another example of a great leader called into seclusion, but the degree of his sequestration varies. Upon his exile from Egypt, Moses lived as a fugitive for forty years in the Arabian Desert. Once a Prince of Egypt, he put on the cloak of a humble shepherd. This was not an easy life since shepherds spent most of their time outside (in all kinds of weather) away from family and friends. Moses spent many nights alone watching over his father-in-law’s sheep.
In Exodus chapter 3 we read that Moses is tending Jethro’s flock in the wilderness near Mount Horeb/Sinai. This is where the angle of the Lord appeared in the form of a burning bush. God calls His people to remote areas for several reasons: to learn, to prepare, to test, to strengthen, to direct.
Later, in Exodus 24:9-18, God tells Moses to come up to Mt. Sinai to meet with Him again. This time, Moses is gone for forty days. Moses needed time alone with God to receive instructions and so that he would have the courage to face the opposition of men. The first time, he needed courage to face Pharaoh with God’s directive to allow the children of Israel to go free.
“So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.” Exodus 24:18 (NKJV)
We read in Scripture that Jesus frequently went off by Himself to be with God. Private time with the Father is necessary for every believer.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 (NIV)
After Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led the Lord into the desert. There, for forty days and forty nights He was tempted by the devil. Jesus overcame every enticement of the evil one and left His wilderness seclusion to begin His public ministry.
Paul, Moses, and Jesus sought out, or, were led to secluded places. Wilderness and desert locations are not easy environments to abide in. However, under the shadow of His almighty wing, there is protection and comfort. Great treasures are hidden deep in wilderness locations. Treasures that build faith and strengthen godly convictions are worth more than rubies and gold. Do not be afraid to dig deep. If God is leading you to a solitary place, He may be preparing you for a new ministry, or equipping you for the next leg of your spiritual journey.
I have decided to follow Jesus; No turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, still I will follow; No turning back, no turning back.
~ S. Sundar Singh.