Ps Jeffrey Lintag
"Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray." — Mark 1:35
RM Sydney’s May Series is all about “Hearing the Voice of God in a Generation of Noise”. It is my prayer that it will not be just another “information download” but a life transforming encounter with the truth of God’s Word.
Last Sunday, I was preaching on “Frequency: Tuning in to God’s Voice” and this message is inspired by the idea of tuning in to radio or TV channels. As listeners or viewers, we are given the power of choice to which channel or station we will tune in and listen to. I’d like to think of us listening to the voice of God that way too. We have been given our free will and also the . grace of access to hear God’s voice in our lives but it is completely up to us whether we will tune in to Him or not.
There's a Greek phrase used several times in the Bible that I think is really meaningful — “eremos topos”.⠀It’s made up of two words; “eremos”, which means lonely or solitary, and “topos”, which means place or location. In the gospels, the narratives that tells of Jesus' life refer to several times when he went to “eremos topos”—a solitary place—to be with God or to pray or commune with Abba, Father.
In my imagination, I thought that the “solitary” or “lonely places” mentioned in the texts looked like a beautiful garden or a beach like Coogee or Bondi or some far off location that is miles from civilization like a mountain or hilltop with a view. We are blessed to have those for us today, but in actual fact, the solitary places of the Bible were usually just a section of a hillside that wasn't being used for farming. These “eremos topos” locations were often right alongside a town or main road, where Jesus would carve out a little space to meet with God. There were lots of people in the places where Jesus lived and journeyed, so it just makes sense that he wakes up before daybreak so as there will not be as much people as is usual.
In our post-modern world, busyness has almost become a mantra. People have become so obsessed with “success” or “achievements” and the popular culture and the deception of the “American Dream” has influenced us so much that we have in the least of our priorities a “quiet time”. Although we claim to be Christians, we have approached faith to be just a thing we do on Sundays. I wonder how our lives will change if we go back to the profound simplicity of Jesus’ example. I believe we can!
Like Jesus, “eremos topos” is anywhere or anytime we can carve out some space to focus on God. When we carve out this time, we remind ourselves that our self-worth comes from God. Our lives are redirected to God’s divine purpose. When we get the revelation that God wants to meet with us, we will intentionally create space to hear what He has to say and our priorities will change. Worship leader Chris Tomlin says, “Don't chase accomplishments, people or positions to find your worth. You're already loved as you are by the Father”. In my opinion, “eremos topos” can be in your car or during your commute or during your lunch breaks from work or school; or after the kids are fast asleep; or before they wake up in the morning. ⠀
What about you? Do you have a place where you go daily to worship, study scripture, pray and listening for God? Do carve out time to hear God speak and remind yourself of who you are in God? He wants to meet with you. Do you desire to meet with Him too?