BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
In Exodus 33:7-11, the Bible talks about the tabernacle of meeting or tent of meeting set up by Moses far outside the camp. It was Moses’ custom to set it up as the children of Israel journeyed from Egypt. The LORD talked to Moses there. He spoke to him face to face, as a man spoke to his friend. Moses would return to the camp after each visit to the tabernacle, but his servant, Joshua, did not depart from the tabernacle.
The Bible does not tell us what Joshua would always stay behind to do. Probably he was guarding it, and in the process would have fellowship with God. Maybe it was part of the reasons that when God terminated the ministry of Moses, He asked him to hand over to Joshua, his servant or assistant (Numbers 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 1:37-38).
Jesus is our perfect example. He spent time alone with God despite his very busy schedule. Though he was the Son of God and was indeed God, He didn’t joke with spending time alone with God. If Jesus could cultivate and sustain this discipline (Luke 4:42; 5:15-16, 6:12; Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:45-46), nobody has any excuse not to do so.
I want to discuss ten benefits of spending time alone with God. There could be more, but I am limiting myself to ten.
What are the benefits?
1.You experience a glorious transformation. That was what happened to Moses after spending 40 days and 40 nights before the LORD to receive the Ten Commandments, which he had earlier broken. He had thrown out of his hands the two tablets of stone and broke them. Moses was expressing his anger at Israel’s sin of idolatry, which Aaron had led the people into in his absence. Aaron had made a golden calf for the people while Moses was away, the first time, to receive the Ten Commandments.
When Moses returned with the new tablets, the people couldn’t look at his face. It had become radiant because he had spoken to the LORD. The glory of the LORD was upon him. He had to cover his face with a veil after speaking to the Israelites until the next time he would go to speak with the LORD (Exodus 34:28-35; 2 Corinthians 3:13).
Earlier in Exodus 33:22, God told Moses that as His glorious presence passed by, He would put him in the cleft of the rock and cover him with His hand until He had passed. Go to your secret place and be alone with God; you’ll see His glory. His glory will come upon you, which shall be evident to all that something has indeed happened to you just as it happened to Moses.
2. You’re exposed to God’s wisdom. God is the all-wise, all-knowing God. You can’t spend time alone with Him and remain ignorant. People will notice the impact on you. That was what happened to the disciples of Jesus. Acts 4:13 says that when the religious leaders saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marvelled; and they realized that they had been with Jesus. You can’t spend time to seek the LORD and not be wiser than you are now. “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation” (Psalm 119:99 NKJV).
In His presence, confusion and ignorance are dealt with. Proverbs 28:5 says, “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand all” (NKJV).
3. It avails you the opportunity to engage in undistracted enquiry from God and spiritual warfare. As I said previously, Moses had a tent called the tabernacle of meeting where he used to meet with the LORD; and He spoke to Moses face to face, as a man spoke to his friend (Exodus 33:7-11).
David was fond of enquiring of the LORD. Each time David enquired of the LORD, he got an answer. Therefore, he could handle the situation in question wisely (1 Samuel 23:2-13; 30:7-8; 2 Samuel 2:1-2; 5:17-25).
Also in Genesis 32:22-32, the Bible records how Jacob was alone with God and wrestled with God in spiritual warfare. The LORD changed his name to Israel and blessed him. You need to set time apart to be alone with God and sort out some issues of your life instead of chatting away with people who can’t help you. God will answer your enquiries.
4. It enables you to focus and refocus on God, and gain divine perspective of life and life issues. In 1 Kings 19, the Bible records how Elijah ran to Mount Horeb from Jezebel, and God encountered him while he was alone. He caused him to refocus on Him and the assignment He had given him. He was delivered from depression, which had made him feel that he wasn’t better than his fathers and that he was the only prophet of God alive who had not compromised. God informed him thereafter that there were still 7,000 others who had not bowed to idols and sent him back to continue his ministry with specific assignments.
Thank God Jezebel forced him to be alone where God met him! If Elijah had asked God earlier, he probably would have been told everything he heard from God during that encounter. The death threat of Jezebel wouldn’t have made him ask God to kill him before his time rather than Jezebel killing him.
5. It gives you a renewal of physical and spiritual strength. When you spend time alone with God, you do not only gain renewal of physical strength, you also enjoy spiritual refuelling and refreshment. Isaiah 40:31 says those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. According to Psalm 68:35a, the God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Spend time alone with God and He will give you power and strength.
After Jesus’ disciples came back from an outreach programme with testimonies of what the LORD did through them, He told them to get away from the crowd and get some rest (Mark 6:31-32). During such a time of retreat, you can spend more time to pray and study, but you’ll also be able to rest physically (sleep, relax) and recreate yourself. Two times the angel of God woke up fleeing Elijah in the wilderness from his sleep to eat and drink, and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God where God spoke to him (1 Kings 19:5-8).
6. It provides you with an opportunity to seek and get divine direction or guidance, especially when you want to make an important decision. In Luke 6:12-13, before Jesus chose the twelve disciples, He spent time alone with God. This is a very good habit to cultivate. Don’t assume you know already. If you don’t ask God, He may not tell you. You may end up choosing eleven Judases, given that Jesus, who prayed before choosing the twelve disciples, still had one Judas who betrayed him!
Spend time alone with God to pray on issues of your life. Pray for direction; pray for guidance. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (NKJV).
7. You enjoy divine stability. Those who spend time alone with God are not tossed to and fro in life by every new wave. Because they spend time with the Word of God and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, they know and follow the mind of God. They don’t follow the crowd; they follow the cloud! The cloud of glory – the presence of God. Exodus 33:9 says that whenever Moses entered the tabernacle, the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle. That was the presence of God.
Mary spent time with Jesus. Jesus said one thing was needed, and Mary had chosen that good part, which would not be taken away from her. But Martha was distracted with much serving (Luke 10:38-42).
God does not want His children to be tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting (Ephesians 4:14). If you follow the crowd, you’ll miss your way in life! God wants you to mature. Those who spend time with God are not easily moved by what is happening around them or what appears to be popular. They don’t think or speak like the crowd (Isaiah 8:11-15).
8. You receive private correction from God. As you spend time alone with God in prayer and in the study of His Word, God begins to interrogate some aspects of your life, pointing out to you what is wrong that you need to correct, the sins you’re committing that you need to repent of. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (NKJV).
God first corrects you privately for some time, but if you persist, and don’t genuinely repent, He may expose you to others, not to destroy or humiliate you, but to help you and save you from hell-fire. All Scripture, among other things, is for correction (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
In Isaiah 6, when Isaiah saw the LORD and saw His holiness, he said, without anyone telling him, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts” (verse 5 NKJV). One of the seraphim touched his mouth with burning coal taken with a pair of tongs from the altar, and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged” (verse 7 NKJV).
9. It helps you to review your life and make some changes, including decongesting your life. Spending time alone with God helps you to prayerfully evaluate your life – where you’re coming from and going; what you’ve done right or wrong; what you’re doing and shouldn’t be doing.
Many people have crowded their lives with unnecessary commitments and appointments, thereby complicating their lives and becoming ineffective in their destiny. As you spend time alone with God, He helps you to see what you’re not supposed to be doing or should be doing, where you’re supposed to go or not go, those you’re supposed to be associating with or not, etc. You’re able to decongest your life and face the right things. Many people have made some life-changing decisions through this.
10. You experience restoration of joy. Psalm 16:11 says, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (NKJV). The challenges of life put pressure on us, causing tension. Time spent with God helps us to refill our tank of joy regularly. A Christian who is too busy to spend time alone with God denies himself the opportunity of receiving divine joy in the midst of life’s pressure, yet the Bible says the joy of the LORD is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). That’s why James 1:2-3 says to count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But the natural man or a carnal Christian can’t do this. One must be controlled by the Holy Spirit to be able to rejoice in spite of adversity. Prophet Habakkuk said despite the economic calamity that would befall Judah, he would rejoice in the LORD and joy in the God of his salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-18). The Bible tells you, too, to rejoice in the LORD, and rejoice always (Philippians 4:4, 3:1a; 1 Thessalonians 5:16).
You need an abundance of joy in you to act as a shock absorber when you run into the potholes of life’s crisis, disappointment, pain, etc. And this is available to you when you spend time with God, especially when you spend time alone with God.
Conclusion: Don’t be too busy to spend time alone with God. Prioritize spending time alone with God daily and even spending more time with him regularly. This discipline will help you to live a Christ-honouring, God-glorifying and fulfilled life.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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