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Be Still and Know...

A picture of trees with the words "Be Still, And Know That I Am God" overlayed.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth.”

(Psalm 46:10 NIV)

The normal mode for many of us is busy. Sometimes we are so busy and there are so many things to accomplish that it's difficult to make time to be still in God's presence and know Him. Sometimes our lives are so filled with noise that we have trouble hearing God's "still, small voice".

Psalm 46:10 is a great reminder to build into our lives a regular, consistent quiet time to read the Word of God, pray and listen for God's voice to speak to us. I find if I do not take this time at the beginning of each day it can be lost in the pressure of my to-do list. There are some things I do every single morning. Brush my teeth. Take a shower. Spend time with Jesus. I use a reading plan called the One Year Bible to read a couple of chapters from the Old Testament, a chapter of the New Testament, a Psalm and a couple of verses from Proverbs in a systematic way. Over the course of the year, I read the entire Bible.

The great story of Redemption that is cover-to-cover in Scripture soaks into my consciousness as I read the Bible through. And the daily time reading and praying draws me closer and closer to God, and allows me the time and space and stillness to hear His voice speaking to me.

There is another side to "Be still and know that I am God" that becomes evident when we read the context. Psalm 46:7-10 says this:

The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations He has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease

to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

In context, God is not so much urging us to stop being busy and settle down to listen for Him as He is urging us to stop thinking we can win the battles we fight by our sheer strength and effort, and to cease striving and know that He is God. He will win the battle. Some battles are simply too big for us to face alone. And we don't have to.

This sense of "be still" is the same sense as the thing Moses told the Israelites when they were trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army on their exodus from slavery in Egypt. As the Egyptian army bore down on them, the Israelites said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” This is his reply:

Moses answered the people, “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.” (Exodus 14:13-14 NIV)

The sense of "be still" here is to cease striving. To quit complaining and stand still and watch what God does. This can be even more difficult for us. We have grown up in a culture that values rugged individualism and hard work. If things get tougher, our instinctive response is to work harder. But that doesn't work in all circumstances. And there is another way to respond to battles and storms. It is the way of putting trust in God and not in ourselves. It is the way of quiet confidence in Jesus Christ, to whom we have committed our lives. It is to be still and know that I am God.

This being still is not laziness. It is not abdicating our responsibility to do our part in following Him. It is rather rock-solid confidence that we do not face our battles or our storms alone. We have a God who is bigger than the Egyptian army, bigger than Goliath, bigger than sin and death, and bigger than the battle we find ourselves fighting. Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth."

Whatever battle you fight, whatever storm is crashing in on you, whatever circumstances you face, be still. Cease striving as if it is all up to you. Some battles only God can fight. Some burdens only He can carry. Trust Him. Watch for His hand to move. Believe that He will deliver you. Be still and know that I am God.


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