Our Arabian wilderness!
(Alexander Smellie, "The Hour of Silence" 1899)
"But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me . . . I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia." Galatians 1:15-17
Paul went away from all human contact for several years, in order to spend time alone with God in the Arabian wilderness.
The newborn soul needs solitude, that, apart from the strife of tongues and the din of the world, it may meditate on those marvelous things which God has done for it. That it may frame a larger, deeper, more adequate conception of what salvation really is. That its gratitude may become more precise and more profound. That, with nothing and no one to distract, it may dedicate itself quietly and fully to its Lord.
The Bible teacher needs solitude, that he may apprehend the breadth and length and depth and height of that great, majestic, illimitable book he is to proclaim. That he may seize hold of the truth of God — and that the truth of God may seize hold of him. That the truths of Scripture may become, more than ever, his own possession and exceeding joy. And then, out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth will speak.
Every saint needs solitude, that he may shake off the dust and grime of worldliness and sin. That, waiting on the Lord, he may renew his strength. That a fresh unction from the Holy One may make him spiritually wise and strong.
In Arabia, as he came forth from the cloud, the face of Moses shone. In Arabia, the soul of Paul duly took and strongly kept the print of Heaven.
Ah, there are none of us who can venture to dispense with our Arabian wilderness!
Is it my custom and my delight to go by myself to a quiet place, and rest awhile with Jesus? (Mark 6:31)