Today, we are continuing a series on Practicing the Presence of God. We are going step-by-step learning how to practice the presence of God. To review earlier posts in this series click the following:
In our last post, we saw God instruct Moses to prepare himself to meet with Him. Following God’s instruction of preparation, God tells Moses to come alone. No one was to come with Him. Here we find our next step as well.
Step 3: Isolation
“No one is to come with you” Exodus 34:3a
I love how God gives Moses such clear instructions regarding His presence. When Moses and the Israelites got determined to have the presence of God, Yahweh answered with a how-to list.
- Prepare yourself to Meet with Me (God)
- Come Alone
God tells Moses “Now leave these people. Moses, it’s just going to be you and Me–alone.” (Bobi Ann’s Revised Version)
Time away alone with God is vital to experience His presence in a real and practical way. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your responsibilities–you need to get away alone with God. God values time with you. He doesn’t take for granted the time you set aside to meet for Him.
The remainder of Exodus 34:3 informs Moses to not only come alone to meet with God but to clear the mountain of people or animals or anybody.
God wasn’t messing around. He was ready to show Himself to Moses and He wanted Moses to Himself.
No One Said It Would Be Easy
Isolation isn’t always an easy task. In fact, I would wager for many it seems an impossible task.
At my house, I have young children that demand my presence constantly. I serve in a busy ministry with lots of meetings and lots of needs to be met. I work hard to stay connected to my parents who live several states away. There seems to be situations needing my attention and presence all the time.
There was a time when I attended to all of these needs. I would tell myself and God: “when the baby was asleep and the dishes were done and all the phone calls were made, then we would get alone.”
I soon discovered there was never time left to get away with God.
I had a friend tell me once that if you have to choose between cleaning your house and getting away with God, you must choose getting away with God. The house will get dirty again but you won’t get the time back that you could have spent with God.
If you’re anything like me, letting it all go is a challenge. You feel the pressure to perform–to check it all off the list.
Please hear me, the best time you’ll spend for your children, your spouse, your boss, your parents, your ministry, whomever, is when you’re with God alone.
Isolate yourself long enough to get alone with God.
I’ve often heard my pastor tell the story of when he was in college at Baylor University, he had two roommates in the dorm. It was almost impossible to find a place of isolation in his small dorm room with two other guys. So, he would climb in the closet, shut the door and hide away with God alone.
For me, isolation is one of the hardest disciplines. It isn’t because I don’t want to be alone, but because there is so much demand for my time and presence.
Find a way to get alone. Get creative.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
The King James Version actually uses the word, “closet.” I don’t think Jesus was actually referring to a clothes closet, but if that’s what does it for you, get in that closet with the clothes hanging around you, the door shut and your heart connecting to God.
For me it is in a rocking chair in my bedroom or sometimes my back porch.
Throughout Scripture, there are men and women who met with God alone.
- It was when Abraham was alone with God that God gave him the great covenant.
- Daniel was alone with God when he received an array of prophecies.
- Paul was alone when he wrote the book of Romans and the letters to the early churches.
- John was alone on an island when God revealed Himself through visions and John wrote the book of Revelation.
- Jesus, Himself, withdrew, in the midst of a busy, fruitful ministry to meet with God alone.
If you want to experience God’s presence, if you want something real with God, it is a necessity to get alone with God.