“At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah. For Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him, saying, ‘Why do you prophesy and say, “Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon?“‘ Jeremiah said, ‘The word of the Lord came to me…’ The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard: ‘Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.'” Jeremiah 32:2-3,6; 33:1-3
A siege by a foreign and feared unknown, and confinement by his own king within four walls, gave the prophet every reason to resist against being shut up. Would his needs be met? What was happening in his country? When would he be released? Many would chafe and rebel, yet Jeremiah made the most of his imprisonment, his forced quiet, shut-away space, to commune with his Lord. When we believe God is sovereign, any shut-up in isolation, whether by government edict or by choice, is an opportunity to focus on God in worship and to hear from Him.
Nothing compares with time prioritized and kept to be alone with the Lord. Shut away from busyness and distraction, sheltered from noise and screens and company, hunkered in with His word, we can commune on a deep, spiritual level impossible in the fray. It takes discipline and determination, and reaps innumerable rewards.
Being shut up with almighty God provides focus to surrender our wills, time to ask Him to guide our thinking and praying, to give understanding of political or academic theories, current events, and how to apply the bible in present issues. It affords us the concentration to sense the Spirit’s prompting of people with whom we should connect (and how to do it effectively), ministries He would have us support (and by how much), people for whom we should be praying (for courage, guidance, favor with employment, emotional stability, creativity, healing, flourishing of marriages, and fruitfulness in service). We need time in the secret place to beseech protection, purity, and power for our pastors and churches; wisdom, intuition, and grace for all leaders.￼￼ The Lord answers how to vote, organize, serve, manage schedules, train children, strategize for work and spiritual battle. He guides what to eat, discard, pack, purchase. We have not because we ask not, and can choose every day to get alone and ask. (Judges 20:18,23,26-29; 1 Chronicles 22:6-19; Matthew 7:7-8; Acts 8:26-29; James 4:2)
Where do we need fresh insight, greater love for an unlovable, clarity in a dilemma? When was the last time we really communed with our Savior, and heard from Him? Would we deliberately shut-up with Him and not leave until He has finished with us? (Genesis 17:22; 18:33)
Lord, draw me near, through the abundance of Your love, to enter Your abode and bow in the hidden place. May I always, with all my heart, seek Your face and perfect will. (Psalm 5:7; 91:15; Jeremiah 29:12-13)