WEEK 7: The Importance and Benefits of Solitude
TEXT: 1 Samuel 3:8

“Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth.
So Samuel went and lay down in his place.”

Have you made your personal space the place where God can reveal Himself to you? During the shelter in place period of this pandemic you probably heard people talking about building or establishing altars in their homes more often than before.  In ancient times, altars were the elevated places where sacrifices to God were made.  I recently saw a reference that stated that altars are also called the ‘Table of God.’ However, they can also be considered the place where humanity engages with the Divine. Communication with God and the confirming of covenants are made at the altar (see Genesis 15).

We may not build altars today as it was done back then but it is important for believers to not only establish a consistent time(s) to meet with God, but also a specific place if need be. God is everywhere and we can pretty much pray anywhere, yet, solitude for the purpose of waiting on and hearing clearly from God is key. 

When the scripture speaks of Eli sending Samuel back to 'his place' this simply means the part of the tabernacle where Samuel slept. The senior priest and young protegè obviously did not rest in the same space, but each had their own place.  Spiritual maturity will at times mandate that we no longer depend on what our leader is hearing from God on our behalf, but we must learn the discipline of solitude that we may here what saith the Lord for ourselves.  Spiritual dullness isn't always the reason we may not receive from our faith leaders the direction we seek.  I believe at times the Lord may not permit them to speak into our lives although He as a grace of their office allows them to perceive His will.  Solitude is defined as the state or situation of being alone.  I want us to be encouraged to do as our Savior did.  Embrace the importance of stealing away by silencing the phone, or going offline a while, and even going on a quiet stroll or drive away from the family just to be with God. 

Six Reasons Jesus Chose Solitude Over People

1. To prepare for a major task Luke 4:1-2, 14-15. After Jesus was baptized He spent 40 days praying in the wilderness. After this He was tempted by Satan and then began His public ministry.

2. To recharge after hard work Mark 6:30-32. Jesus sent the 12 disciples out to do ministry. When they returned He encouraged them to separate from the people who were following them to rest.

3. To work through grief Matthew 14:1-13. After Jesus learned that his cousin John the Baptist had been beheaded, He went away by Himself. Yes, even the Son of God grieves.

4. Before making an important decision Luke 6:12-13. Early in His ministry Jesus spent the whole night alone in prayer. The next day He chose his 12 disciples.

5. In a time of distress Luke 22:39-44. Hours before Jesus was arrested He went to the Mt. of Olives and went a short distance away from His disciples to pray. He was in great emotional agony knowing what he was about to face.

6.To focus on prayer Luke 5:16. Many times in Jesus’ ministry He spent time alone in prayer.