Millions of people throughout the world are voluntarily staying in their homes to avoid the coronavirus. Quarantine is a similar word but is imposed by law and is an enforced detention. Self-isolation is certainly not a new phenomenon and is used for a variety of purposes—fear, meditation, protection, hatred, and shyness to name a few. Anne Frank and her family were sequestered in a small attic for 2 years to hide from the Nazis. There have been cases of individuals who crossed the ocean in a small boat or raft alone. Presumably this was to test the limits of human endurance or simply to escape the stress of society.
Several people in the Bible self-isolated almost from the beginning of creation. After breaking God’s specific command not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves from God, but to no avail (Gen 2:16-17) (Gen 3:10). Noah and his family had to self-isolate on the ark to survive the great flood (Gen 6:13-19). Moses self-isolated on the top of Mount Sinai to meet the Lord and receive the 10 Commandments (Ex 19:20) (Ex 20:1-21). Elijah had to hide from the wicked Queen Jezebel for fear of his life (1 Ki 19:1-5). “When the wicked rise to power, men go into hiding” (Pr 28:12). Jonah expected to drown in the sea but God prepared a great fish in which he spent 3 days and 3 nights alone. There he had time to pray and repent from running away from the Lord (Jnh 1:10-17).
Jesus often withdrew in self-isolation to better pray to His heavenly Father (Mk 1:35) (Mk 14:35-37). Once He spent all night praying just before choosing His 12 apostles (Lk 6:12-13). He urged his disciples to go into a room and close the door in order to pray to the Father (Mt 6:6).
Most people today are self-isolating to protect others, loved ones and themselves until the virus is controlled. Christians should self-isolate in order to read and study the Bible, to meditate and pray each day to prepare themselves for service. It does not have to be for a long period, but needs to be free of distractions.