Solitude: A Place of Peace, Power & Preparation

Friday, December 26, 2008 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

These are notes from a sermon I delivered in 1994. Reading this reminded me that it is time to seek the Lord in a special way at the breaking of a new year.


Subtitle: Breaking Out of the Madness

SA 62:5, My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.
ISA 30:15, For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: "In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength." But you would not, 16] and you said, "No, for we will flee on horses"--therefore you shall flee! And, "We will ride on swift horses"--therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!

A. Confusion, nervousness, instability, and distraction are common maladies among people today – including Christians. We have become a non-stop society, where we place high value on those operations and businesses which are able to perform 24 hours per day, every day of the year.

Another word for all this is “madness”

1. There was a time before electronics, that when night came, all operations ceased until morning.
2. We demand convenience – and have attained it at the price of our own mental/emotional well being
3. Solitude, or time alone, is a lost art – activities like fishing, walking for pleasure, and reading have given way to high tech entertainment
4. We were not created to be perpetual motion machines. We were designed to function in cycles of rest, reflection, interaction, service and rest again.

B. We pay a high price for neglecting solitude in the presence of God.

1. Our lives become ordered by the pace and practice of this world and not by God
a. David got distracted and feigned madness 1 Sam. 21:13
b. David wound up in the cave of Adullam 1 Sam. 22:1

2. We experience bewilderment, disorientation and random thoughts – like a machine that is operated outside of its tolerances.
3. We are prone to misunderstanding people and purposes because of a lack of personal, inward focus (e.g. rose colored glasses)
4. We begin to feed on noise and clamor – becoming addicted to confusion and preferring it over quiet.

C. Jesus gave us the perfect example of human existence according to divine order. His entire ministry was birthed and sustained out of the crucible of solitude and silence – He could know His Father’s direction no other way. His preparedness to minister and the level of anointing upon Him was in direct proportion to His solitary time with the Father and with His own thoughts.

1. Jesus lived a life of devotion to God interspersed with periods of ministering to others – not the reverse.
2. Jesus began His ministry in the wilderness, in solitude, gaining strength for what lie ahead. When Satan came to tempt Him, he was at His strongest point, not His weakest point.

a. “Jesus constantly sought solitude from the time of his baptism up the Garden of Gethsemane, when He even went apart from those he took there to watch with him. It is solitude alone that opens the possibility of a radical relationship to God that can withstand all external events up to and beyond death.” (Willard, p. 101)
b. “Retirement is the laboratory of the spirit; interior solitude and silence are its two wings. All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursers, the followers, the master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night.” (James S. Steward, “A man in Christ”)

3. Jesus expended a lot of energy just to be alone. He sent people away. Walked long distances to find solitary places and places no one knew about. He arose early and stayed up late to spend time with God.
4. He was not driven by the needs of people, but by the purpose of God – which met the needs of people in dramatic, miraculous fashion. Had he labored with people more than spent time with God, he would have managed to get some people healed, but He would have been exhausted doing so. Because He spent time with God, His times of public ministry were dramatic and miraculous. He got more done in a shorter period of time.

a. Spiritual "Dullness" makes us tired, as we use more of our own strength, and less of God's: Ecclesiastes 10:10, If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

D. We need to practice spiritual disciples that helps us overcome the "madness."

1. Order • Personal, Relational, Apostolic
2. Authority • Coming under covering
3. Purpose • Keeping to God’s schedule
4. Silence • Jesus will not speak to us above internal noise and clamor
MAT 12:19, He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. (“...neither shall any man hear his voice above the street noise” NAS?)

MAT 9:24, He said to them, "Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping." And they laughed Him to scorn. 25] But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose.

5. Solitude
David discovered that when one is alone, his soul can bless the Lord. David’s soul and flesh cried out for the living God
PSA 84:2, My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

What now?

“Do not stay in the stronghold; depart, and go to the land of Judah.” (1 Sam. 22:5)