3/21/15 “The Need For A Deserted Place” – Pastor Shane Idleman



MATTHEW 14 15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food. 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18 He said, “Bring them here to Me.”

19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. 21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.


13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

The purpose of a “deserted place”:

  • In the same way that the body recuperates during sleep, we recover and regain strength when we retreat to a deserted place.

GOING ON A ‘RETREAT’ – draw back from war.

Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

Phil. 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.


BARREN: Without life sustaining elements

  •  We usually don’t ask until we encounter a “deserted place.”
  • We use to rely on God a lot more – rain, healing, food, provision.
  • He will often remove sustaining elements away so we see our need.

“Shane, that’s great for some, but I just don’t have the time.”

Let’s be honest: we find time for those things we want to do:

The beach, Los Angeles for events, countless hours on Facebook, Youtube, the movies, eating out.

  • The enemy loves keeping you busy so you avoid the desert place
  • Being antsy and saying I just can’t sit still – or be alone may be hurting you spiritually more than you realize.

“You can watch the NCAA Basketball tournament, Grey’s Anatomy, Vampire Diaries, Dancing with the Stars, the Blacklist, American Idol, Scandal, and American Crime, . . .BUT I’m going to retreat!”

Jesus Walks on the Sea

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 [a deserted place]. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

UNFREQUENTED: Without habitation

  •  The Jews (as well as the Romans) usually divided the night into four watches of three hours each – 6pm, 9pm, 12am, 3am.
  • Prayer – length and intensity matter

“I know of no better thermometer to your spiritual temperature than this, the measure of the intensity of your prayer.”  ~ C.H. Spurgeon

“We’ve have the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and 2/3rd’s of the Angels on our side.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill

27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

  •  “Jesus spoke to them”…He wants to speak to you as well.
  • God often asks us to do what we can’t do on our own.

Prodigal, Family being ripped apart, financial needs, and so on . . .

  •  Jesus came to them in a dark, deserted place.

         * We often don’t search for the light until the darkness comes

30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

  • Fear paralysis – fear leads to failure – fear forces us to REACT rather than respond – this is why a deserted place is vital to your walk.

KEY: One purpose of retreating is to re-group, contemplate, seek wisdom, rest, and restore your spiritual state.

Many Touch Him and Are Made Well

34 When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, 36 and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.

  • There was an effort to pursue and to touch Him – they walked from miles and miles.
  • Begged: ask (someone) earnestly or humbly for something.

Don’t Say That God is Silent When Your Bible is Closed

ABANDONED: forsaken – to fail someone in a time of need

The people realized that they were in a desert place…they were abandoned and in need.

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)