Sunday, February 3, 2008

"be still and know that I am God"

I've been thinking a lot lately about what exactly it means when we are to be still before God. What exactly does it look like? How do I do that?

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Being still is not something that I am good at. I always want to be doing something. But Go dhas been chalenging my lately with this. While all activity isn't wrong, there are times when I need to stop and just be in God's presence. The constant busy-ness and endless noise of our society can sometimes drown out this simple call to be still – to stop and just meditate on who God is and worship Him.

Moses uses similar words when he speaks to the Israelites in Exodus 14. He is speaking to a nation that has just fled from slavery in Egypt and is now stuck in a seemingly impossible situation – they have Pharaoh’s army approaching on one side and the Red Sea on the other. In fear they cry to Moses asking why he brought them into the desert to die when they could have just as easily died in Egypt as slaves. Moses says this in response to them in verses 13-14:
“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (emphasis mine)

In the midst of their fear and panic, Moses tells them to “be still, because God will fight for them.” It seems almost to be a strange command in the situation that they are in. But, they are being called to stop trying on their own and allow God – to concentrate on just being in the presence of God as He fights the battle for them, rather than scramble and panic and try to do it themselves.

As I was thinking about these two Scripture passages, which seem at first glance to be quite different, I started to notice a similarity between them. They both talk about a need to be still before God. When we learn to be still before God in our everyday life, it becomes easier to be still before God and trust Him to act when trouble comes our way.

I know when I’m in a situation where I appear to be stuck, much like the Israelites were in Exodus 14, I often react as they did – with fear and panic and even anger. But, I have also heard God say those same words to me that Moses said to Israel: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” That’s so counter-intuitive in those situations! I don’t want to be still! And so I often make things worse by trying to win the battle on my own. But, I also know that the few times (fewer than I would like there to be) I’ve actually listened when I heard those words and allowed God to fight for me things have turned out for the better in the end.

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

My prayer today is that we would better understand what this means and that we would learn to take time to be still before God, rather than this constant activity that we have come to see as normal.

(Disclaimer: For those who read my posts on the Alive Minstries webpage, much of this post is the same as what I posted there recently.)

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