KNOW WHEN TO SEND THE MULTITUDES AWAY
“And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.” (Matthew 14:23 NKJV)
Being a Christian is not belonging to a religious sect, organization, or denomination. But, it is essentially having a personal, intimate and loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
However, Christianity is not isolation or separation from people. It is beneficial for a believer to belong to and be active in a Christ-centred local church.
The Bible admonishes us to fellowship with other believers.
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (NKJV).
It is undoubtedly very good, necessary, and highly rewarding for you to fellowship regularly with other born-again believers.
The Bible reports that the early Church met and had fellowship daily.
41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (NKJV).
However, regular corporate fellowship must never be considered or regarded as a good substitute for your regular personal and intimate fellowship with God.
There is nothing more rewarding and enriching than a time spent alone with God. Therefore, it is wisdom to prioritize and protect your time of personal and deep communion with God jealously. Nothing must be allowed to compete with it or to substitute for it!
Although our Lord Jesus Christ always had multitudes with varied needs to attend to every day, yet He knew when to send them away, so that He may have a personal and intimate fellowship with His Father.
After ministering to and feeding the multitudes, the Lord Jesus sent them away; not just the multitudes, but even His close disciples.
21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. (NKJV).
At other times, after ministering to the people Jesus would withdraw from them to a deserted place for a personal time alone with His Father.
40 When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.
41 And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ.
42 Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them. (NKJV).
Jesus often withdrew from His disciples while they were still sleeping to go out to a solitary place to pray and meditate alone.
33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door.
34 Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
36 And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him.
37 When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” (NKJV).
If our Lord Jesus Christ, who came into the world purposely to seek and save the lost souls, could send the people away or withdraw from them so that He might have time alone with God, there is absolutely nothing wrong for you to send the people away or withdraw from them in order to spend quality time alone with God.
It is wisdom for you to prize, esteem and guard jealously above anyone or anything else your time alone with God.
Truly, we live in a boisterous and clamorous world. There are many things competing for your attention, devotion, and affection on a daily basis.
Your loved ones need you to spend quality time with them daily. Your business, ministry, career or job also needs your undivided attention and devotion. You have church services to attend weekly or even daily. You also need time for recreations and other activities.
Considering your daily busy and tight schedule, it is so easy to sacrifice your time alone with God, deceiving or consoling yourself that God understands that you are too busy. It requires no effort to substitute your personal fellowship with God with corporate fellowship.
When you constantly sacrifice your time alone with God for other activities or fellowships, you will miss the tremendous blessings or benefits of personal, deep and intimate communion with God.
While Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes in the public, he explained all things in the closet to His disciples, who delighted in spending time alone with Him.
33 And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it.
34 But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples. (NKJV).
There are deep things about God, His kingdom, and His plans and purposes for your life that you may never get to know or understand in the public or while among the multitudes, but only when you are alone with God, in your closet or solitary place.
Drifting from one church to another, from one special meeting to another, or from one prophet to another may compound your confusion and frustration. But, when you set aside a definite and quality time to be alone with God regularly, like Jesus did to His disciples, He will explain all things to you.
God waited patiently for Jacob to be left alone before He drew near to wrestle with him to transform him and bestow upon him true generational blessings. Until Jacob was left alone with God, he never disclosed his true identity and his deepest longing to God (Gen. 32:22-32).
Like Jacob, there are some deep longings, wounds, hurts, inner struggles or anguishes that you may not feel too comfortable or may even be ashamed to expose for God to heal while you are in the company of other believers. This is why you must always set aside a time for a personal and deep communion with God.
Beloved, it is very good, beneficial and rewarding for you to cultivate the habit of taking time out of your daily busy schedule to be alone with God daily to worship God, to behold God’s beauty, to inquire from God’s mouth, to meditate upon God’s Word, and to share freely your deepest thoughts and emotions with God.
Moses might have died as an insignificant shepherd if not that he turned aside from his flocks to focus on God and spend time alone with God (Exo. 3:1-10).
You may never become all that God has destined you to become in this life if you continue to treat or handle casually or nonchalantly your personal time of fellowship with God.
Friend, take time out today and everyday to be alone with the Lord, beholding His glory and being transformed into His image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18).
Don’t continue to miss out on the tremendous benefits of spending quality time alone with God daily!
32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise, And do not disdain it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the LORD. (NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, teach and help me to identify and deal effectively with everything that is hindering me daily from having a quality personal and uninterrupted communion with You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.