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When Solitude Drives Us Deeper, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
November 10, 2022 7:05 am

When Solitude Drives Us Deeper, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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November 10, 2022 7:05 am

Clinging to Hope

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Without question, 2020 and 2021 will be remembered by generations to come as one of the most remarkable eras in history. While many suffered from the virus, millions of others had a far different experience. For them, the pandemic was defined by isolation and phrases like voluntary quarantine, social distancing, and virtual meetings. Today, on Insight for Living, you'll hear a message that Chuck Swindoll delivered during the peak of the pandemic. Through a careful study in Galatians chapter 1, Chuck draws a fascinating parallel between Paul's isolation and our own. We begin today with prayer. Our Father, it is so good to come together, even in these unusual circumstances, in your house, where we gather as your people to meet with you and to hear from you. We're grateful also that your word speaks truthfully, not only to our times, but to all times, and I pray that you will help us realize the relevance of it as we grasp the application of Paul's experience and how it relates to our own.

As we have been set aside apart from one another during this time, may we not miss your message, which is so important. Guide us, we pray, as we go through the balance of these days dealing with a virus that is invisible but so deadly, so contagious, still spreading, we pray that you will watch over our flock, your people and all people, that you will by your grace preserve us until ultimately we're able to return together in health and strength. I pray today for those who are sorrowful as their loved ones are ill and some grieving over the loss of those who have been taken in this plague, I pray that you would give comfort that you would speak in such a way that your word directs counsel to them especially. To all of us, find us with open hearts and willing minds to grasp the implication of what we're hearing and seeing in the scriptures and then direct your message to us individually as if we were the only ones here that we might apply it in whatever area is needed. Speak to me as well, Lord, and what I need to hear, may I not miss that. Today we are grateful for your message that goes forth in so many places and through so many venues. Use your word to reach out to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. To those who are ill, we pray that you would give strength and encouragement and to those who are serving alongside them, we pray they give extra strength as the days wear on, as this has gone on now for weeks. Guide I pray through your Holy Spirit and the timing of all of this so that we will realize you are in this, you are not absent from us. Now we commit the time to you as we meditate and quietly consider your message, give us tender hearts to grasp what you're seeing, and use the gifts that are given from this gathering and from around the world to further your work. These things we pray in the name of Christ, our Savior and Lord, everyone said, Amen. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To study the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures and Studies by going to Insight.org slash Hope. And now the message from Chuck titled, When Solitude Drives Us Deeper. Unusual times, what an unusual period to live through. If we're not careful, we will lose the significance of it, especially as we think about getting to the end of it, getting past it. Quite likely we will, if we're not careful, miss God's message in the middle of it. So let me redirect our thinking for the next few moments, this Sunday and the next as we consider what he might be saying. The first stop-off I would like you to make is at Psalm 139.

If you have your Bible handy, please turn. And rather than looking at the familiar early part of the Psalm, I want you to go to the very end of it, which is a prayer, David's prayer. He writes in verse 23, Search me, O God, and know my heart.

Test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life. David's prayer is a prayer for self-awareness, which is easily missed by all of us who are leaders engaged in life, frequently helping others as they live their lives. Search me, O God. Now, he didn't ask to be searched that God might find out what he was like. No, God already knew.

He knows all about us. As the Psalm begins, he's aware of every move we make, every thought we have, every word we speak. But the Psalmist says at the end of it, now search me that I might be aware. Make me aware of what I have been missing. In fact, the key part of it is right there in verse 24, rendered in the New Living, anything in me that offends you. Search me that I might become aware of something that needs to stop or the reverse, something that needs to begin. What is it within me that you, O God, want to change?

What's that message? Now, let's go from Psalm 139 over to 1 Timothy chapter 4. Look at the last part of verse 7, 1 Timothy 4. Paul writes to Timothy, instead, instead of these other things, wasting your time or spending your energy on those other things which he's been writing about, instead of that, look at this statement. Your Bible probably reads, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness. This rendering I'm using reads, train yourself to be godly.

That tells me that it isn't automatic. It also is a reminder that it isn't easy, since there's a discipline involved. Notice it is an imperative, it is a command.

Discipline yourself, discipline yourself. And what's the goal, godliness. Godliness doesn't just emerge in a life. You meet up with someone who has a walk with Christ that's consistent and enviable.

You can be sure of this. He or she wasn't born that way. That person didn't just wake up one day and discover that the qualities of godliness were at work. No, it's a matter of discipline to get there. It's something we're involved in, something we're engaged in. If godliness is our goal, then we're to be personally engaged in reaching it, unless you think we just sort of haphazardly go there. Look back and you will see that there's more to it than that, where the apostle writes that we are to be, or look ahead, I should say, verse 16, keep a close watch on how you live, stay true to what is right. Your Bible may re-persevere in these things.

There's work involved in it. I say again, it won't come easily and it won't come naturally, but it can come in a time when we're all set aside from the normal activities of life, if we are aware of it and see it as a priority. I suggest to you that a major message that's conveyed within the era of the virus is that we go deeper in our lives, that we take stock of how we have been living our days, our years, and we pause and go through the disciplines involved in probing deeper and deeper in our relationship with our Lord. Now we're ready for Galatians. We'll go to Galatians 1 and to no other passage, so find your way there where I read earlier. This chapter deserves the attention of anyone who wonders about Paul's incredible insight into spiritual truth.

But you wouldn't imagine that it took place as it did. You would think that Paul was mentored in the truths he taught. You would think there were those apostles that came alongside and discipled Paul, or Saul of Tarsus, as he was originally called. Remember his former life, if you don't, he tells us right here and he menses no words. Verse 13, you know what I was like when I followed the religion of my heritage.

Look at this. I violently persecuted the Church of God. He was a terrorist, did it in the name of religion.

Worst kind of terrorism is done in the name of God. It's a false understanding of God, but nevertheless, the apostle pursued it. He said, I was in fact more zealous than my own Jewish brothers in the faith.

My zeal for the traditions outreached and outstretched all of theirs. His name was a household word among Christians. He was a feared man. He wouldn't give a second thought to making sure that you were incarcerated, that you were removed from society, if you were following this Jesus. As Saul of Tarsus was on his tear to destroy the Church, and he gets into some very intriguing theology when he says that God had his hand on him from even before he was born. And as a result, you remember Acts chapter 9, the Damascus Road, when he was on his way to what?

To persecuting Christians. And the Lord stopped him with his bright light, and he was blinded, and then taken to the house of a man named Judas. Not as scary, of course, but another man named Judas. And there he sits blind, not knowing what's ahead of him. And he is at a total loss, wondering what this is all about, having just been converted to Christ.

And now he steps in with the next phase of his life. He says in verse 16, when all this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before me. He tells us what he did not do. Well, what did he do? What was it that moved Paul into the deeper things of God? This is going to perhaps surprise you. He says, instead, I went away into Arabia.

I want you to let your eyes study those words. He doesn't tell us a number of things. Why did he go? What did he do there? How long did he stay? Where exactly was it that he landed when he got to Arabia?

Who was with him? No answers are given to any of it. He simply says, with that dangling statement, I went away to Arabia. So as a result of there not being information, you would imagine those who write of this passage speculate. John Chrysostom writes, he went to evangelize a barbarous and savage people. How does he know?

It's not here. Be careful about making dogmatic statements regarding what occurred if it's not revealed here or elsewhere. We never read elsewhere that he went to evangelize barbarous and savage people in Arabia. And another writes, he sought protection from the unconverted Jews, Arabia became his escape. How does he know?

Or she know? Whoever wrote that, he doesn't say I got a way to Arabia to escape. He wasn't running from something. He was moving to something, which is my whole point today. Bishop Lightfoot comes closer, listen to his words, a veil of thick darkness hangs over St. Paul's visit to Arabia.

Can I make it even more relevant? Like the veil of thick darkness that hangs over the virus. You probably not in your adult life during a two-month period of time said more often, I don't know. More hurried authorities make this statement, we don't know. We're not sure. This is uncertain. We don't know.

A veil of darkness hangs over it. Some help is gleaned from Charles Ryrie's footnote in his study Bible. Allow me, quote, Paul's intent is not to pinpoint the location. So he doesn't tell us specifically in this large area of Arabia, doesn't tell us exactly where he was, probably a place fairly near Damascus. We could guess, but maybe went deeper back to Ryrie. He does not pinpoint the location, but he writes this to emphasize that it was a place in contrast to Jerusalem where there was no apostle to instruct him.

In Arabia, he was alone with God, thinking through the implications of his encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus Road, end of quote. What does this have to do with us? Frankly, I think everything. Maybe you haven't paused to think in this realm, I've thought on it for two months. Why are all of us hunkered down?

Why are all of us isolated? What is the message from God? I understand physically, I understand as it relates to the virus and the whole idea of keeping us safe and protected. We understand that.

I'm saying the message from God, which is not written out, just as we're not given the script of his life in Arabia. We were busy about our work prior to this. We were busy in Israel.

What a wonderful tour, and I was looking forward coming back to tell you about it. It happened two months ago. I hardly remember what happened in Israel back then, but maybe someday it'll emerge. What's happened in these last two months has taken over. Have you gone deeper? Has it dawned on you that you have been stopped in your tracks for a reason?

That you are not to be engaged in things as you earlier were? You know what? Just the other day, I was in my car, made a quick trip to the post office and back, and I looked at the gas gauge, man, it is still full. Too much.

It's still full. I'm thinking, boy, it'd be so great to get gas when it's so cheap and I don't even need it. Why? Because I'm not driving.

And you aren't either. There's a reason for this. Soon as we got home from Israel, we were taken into quarantine 14 days. Our tour was the last group of flights out of Israel, then there was a ban on flying. And this veil of thick darkness hung over this, what became our life and lifestyle.

It became our Arabia, if you will. Think about it. In fact, if I may give it a word, the message from God to all of us is make the most of the solitude. Solitude. Three, four, five months ago, the word rarely crossed our lips, solitude. We're not forced to stay inside, solitude. We're given an experience that is involuntary, admittedly, but it isn't accidental. It's extended.

It's longer than anyone would have expected or perhaps wanted. Remember those days? Do you recall the feeling of isolation when the pandemic required voluntary quarantine?

Well, the lessons we learned during that season still apply today. You're listening to Insight for Living and the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll. He's titled today's message, When Solitude Drives Us Deeper. To learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. While your learning doesn't need to stop at the end of this program, Insight for Living Ministries has prepared a variety of resources to help you dig deeper. For instance, every sermon Chuck delivers on Insight for Living is paired with online study notes. It's an interactive document that allows you to jot down your personal observations. But best of all, Chuck walks you through a chronological process so that you search the scriptures just as he does.

Take a look at this free resource by going to insightworld.org slash studies. Then in addition to this teaching series, Chuck has written a brand new book that's also titled Clinging to Hope, and you can purchase your copy right now. Sometimes our problems cause us to question God. When chaos and calamity strike, we tend to wonder if he sees our despair.

In his new book, Chuck reassures us that God not only knows, but he truly cares. To purchase a copy of Clinging to Hope, go to insight.org slash hope. Keep in mind that it's your donation that empowers us to provide the hope of Jesus to men and women far beyond our borders. A couple of years ago, we established an ambitious goal of reaching every country in the world, and we refer to this mission as Vision 195.

It's gaining momentum because of people like you. We invite you to join us today. To give a contribution, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can give online at insight.org slash donate. Others who want to take a tour to Israel have lots of choices, but few measure up to the thoughtful journey prepared by Insight for Living Ministries. With a proper mix of historical information and biblical context, we provide ample opportunities to pause and let the wonder in.

Our goal is to create special moments when you deepen your love for the Bible and draw closer to your Lord. Experience an unforgettable 12-day tour to Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries, March 5th through the 16th, 2023. To help you grasp the significance of each site, you'll be accompanied by hand-picked Israeli guides, and we choose the best, along with seminary-trained pastors and professors to enhance your spiritual journey. No organization I know of offers this level of exceptional, in-depth instruction and personal care for Holy Land travelers.

To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along sacred sites and watching the Bible come to life. Take your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe how to hear God's voice in solitude. That's our topic Friday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, When Solitude Drives Us Deeper, was copyrighted in 2020 and 2022, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-09 15:02:21 / 2022-11-09 15:06:55 / 5

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