Attack, Withdraw (repeat)
Now when Jesus heard this (John the Baptist's execution), he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:13-14
Isaiah 30 has become a "go-to" chapter for me personally. God chided his people, called them "stubborn children" and used these phrases to describe their stubbornness:
"you carry out plans, but not mine"
"you make alliances, but not of my Spirit"
"you take refuge in, rely on Pharaoh and Egypt"
"you are unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD"
"you reject my prophets and their words"
"you leave the way, turn aside from the path"
"you don't ask for my direction"
And then verse 15: For thus said the LORD God, the Holy One of Israel, In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you were unwilling...
In returning and rest: rest is Hebrew "nachath" = to rest be quiet, quietness. The word "returning" has arrested me -- it is a form of the Hebrew word "shub", meaning to repent or turn back. This particular word, "shuba" is used only in Isaiah 30:15. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament translates it as withdrawal or retirement. God was saying to Israel then, and me now: "You are making plans, being active and busy, but you haven't heard from me. In fact, you are so busy you are ignoring my clear direction and guidance. Stubborn children!" He clearly said that a pattern of quiet reflection, with alone times of withdrawal to soak in His presence and Word, leads to proper activity.
Confession: I've been a stubborn child, conducting myriads of religious activity without sufficient resting and withdrawing to clearly hear his still quiet voice. Jesus modeled this in the gospels; his pattern of life reveals times of withdrawal, followed by bursts of supernatural ministry. He regularly withdrew, retired from public work, to focus on the private work of hearing Father -- then ministered in the Spirit's power. Withdraw, attack, repeat. John's gospel has an example: "Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself" (6:15).
Corrie ten Boom once said that if the devil can't make you sin, he'll make you busy. There's truth in that. Sin and busyness have the same effect--they cut off your connection to God, to other people, even to your own soul. The famous psychologist Carl Jung had this little saying: Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil." **
Willing to withdraw to receive battle instructions, Perry Floyd
**The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer, p. 20