STUDY 6 OF 8: ROCK SOLID SERIES PASTOR BARRY @ THE GATHERING CHURCH
ALONE IN A CROWD Deuteronomy 31:1-8, Psalm 25:16-21 Have you ever felt alone in a crowd? Joshua did. In chapter 31 of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses, at 120 years old, announces that he will no longer be leading the people. He calls upon Joshua in front of the assembly and informs him that he will lead them. Joshua was surrounded by people but he was certainly in a class all by himself…He was alone in a crowd, but Moses said to Joshua:
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
You may also find yourself alone in a crowd for other reasons too, like the loss of a loved one, a painful secret, deteriorating health or feelings of rejection. Like Joshua, we can take heart in knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us. We need not be afraid or discouraged because our God is with us.
In Psalm 25:16-21 King David revealed his loneliness. He asked God to “relieve the troubles of his heart”His hope for the relief of his loneliness was in God. We too must remember that our feelings of loneliness are temporary and that in reality God is always there if we will only seek Him.
NEVER LEFT AS ORPHANS John 14:18-26 Jesus said that He would not leave His followers as orphans, but He also gave a condition for that promise. As we obey the commands of Christ (loving Him in deed and truth: 1 John 3:18) we are filled up with the presence of the Holy Spirit. He is our advocate, our comforter, our teacher, and our peace. He reminds us that we are not set aside but we are set apart from the world. To be set aside is to be rejected. To be set apart is to be given an assignment by God that requires preparation.
SET APART and PRESSING ON Philippians 4:7-14, Colossians 3:1-4 As God’s people we have been made holy. That means to be set apart for God’s purposes. We are called to be Holy (1 Peter 1:16) and to be a holy nation of people (1 Peter 2:9) that proclaim God’s “marvelous light” to the world. If you are feeling alone then seek God to be like a lighthouse standing tall in a dark and raging sea. Search for the lost because they are out there and you can help them like no one else. Your loneliness can be an opportunity for preparation? Look at this side of loneliness:
- Look for the gift of being humbled. Proverbs 11:2b reminds us that “with humility comes wisdom” . In this set apart place, God will give you special wisdom that you will need for the assignments ahead. The Lonely times in my life have helped me to identify with Christ and deepen my relationship with Him.
- Look for the gift of being lonely. This will develop in you a deeper sense of compassion for others. Those who have experienced loneliness will be the ones who look for someone sitting alone and make sure they know someone noticed them.
- Look for the gift of silence. When we are surrounded by the voices of people we often miss the voice of God. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10
I know it can be painful to be alone, and I know how tempting it can be to think that God has set you aside and has forgotten you, but this is never true. Pray through your feelings, and see if maybe your situation has more to do with you being prepared than you being overlooked. There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a person chooses to look past being set aside to see God’s call to be set apart.
Learn from the Apostle Paul and keep Pressing on to the higher call: But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7-14
Until the call of glory comes: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things; for you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.