The Danger of Isolation

June 23, 2024

God has established man to be in relationship with God first, his/her mate second, then in family and in the covenant family. God has stated the reason: “It’s not good to be alone.”

Genesis 2:18 (ESV) — 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Adam was in a relationship with God, but he still needed someone to come along beside him. It’s interesting that before God provided a helper for Adam, He brought every animal before Adam so he could name them. But no animal could fulfill the need for companionship. Adam needed another person.

Genesis 2:19–20 (ESV) — 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

It’s interesting to note that one of the aspects of isolation today is how people find companionship in a dog, cat, or other animal instead of another person. Man was in need and God provided for Adam as He created the woman and gave her to the man. This is not a rebuke to those who have a pet, rather the word of caution that an animal will not fulfill us because we need people in our lives. The relationship of a husband and wife, parent and children, church member with member, and neighbor to neighbor are all important in character building and support. Where else could you practice the principles and enjoy the benefits of community unless you are part of one?

Philippians 2:3–4 (ESV) — 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

When we isolate ourselves, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to build up another individual and we rob others in the same way. You could say that isolation is a form of selfishness, in that we are too interested in ourselves than to allow others to have a part of us. This self-interest robs us of caring for others and being cared for by others.

Consider the account of the “Good Samaritan:”

Luke 10:30–37 (ESV) — 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Please notice the isolation of the priest and the Levite who were so concerned about becoming “unclean” for getting too close to a dead body that they would isolate themselves and in doing so void themselves of the joy of being the hand of God in helping the man who was left for dead. The Samaritan, on the other hand, sought community by being concerned about the man left for dead more than himself.

When we isolate ourselves, we focus on what is bad and tend to exaggerate the state of things. Example in point: The prophet Elijah. He had isolated himself after he condemned King Ahab of his ungodly ways and announced it wouldn’t rain. And it didn’t. God kept Elijah in isolation so as to protect him from the king for three and half years. While in isolation, Elijah developed an “I’m all alone” spirit. So much so that when he experienced a great victory at the showdown on Mt. Carmel (see 1 Kings 18), Elijah ran from the queen who threatened his life and sat down in depression asking God to take his life because he was all alone.

1 Kings 19:13–14 (ESV) — 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

By the way, God assured him that He had preserved 7,000 who had not been given to idolatry. Too often people who isolate themselves from the church do not see what God is doing. In fact, it’s well noted that a person who isolates themselves sets themselves up for backsliding. It’s proven that the admonishment to make sure we do not forsake the assembling of the church is there for a reason. Yes, when you miss church the whole body suffers, and when you miss you suffer. Or when you are there but not really present by not caring about other people, everyone suffers. When is the last time you went to worship God and asked Him to help you be a blessing to others and for Him to give you an opportunity to serve others? Jesus even said that it’s a matter of serving rather than being served.

Matthew 20:28 (ESV) — 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

It’s so easy to block off our attention from others and focus upon ourselves which may feel good for the moment but that begins a slide downward that ends in isolation, from which if we are not rescued will be taken further down the slope as we allow the exaggeration of things we fear to take hold. If we only had someone come along beside us, this could be squelched as we turn our focus from ourselves to the needs of another.

Thank God for those people that He has placed in your life. Receive them as gifts from God to save you from the perils of isolationism. Seek to bless them and allow them to bless you. Yes, there are growing pains in every relationship, after all you and everyone else involved are sinners and sinners have a constant battle with egos.

Philippians 2:4–8 (ESV) — 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Bob Brubaker, Pastor