Psalm 46:1 – “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” NKJV
Attempting to build on the foundation we laid last time I call your attention to the fact and truth that God is the Infinite Communicator and the Hebrew people understood that. They expected God to speak and reveal Himself to them and they understood Him to be LIVING and able to speak. They understood they were created in His image and if they could communicate with each other, then how much more with the one who designed us? They believed this, but as all humans do, at times they allowed the din of emotions and the turmoil of life’s circumstances move them from a condition in which they could HEAR HIM SPEAK.
We have all allowed panic, frustration, or the pressure of life overpower us. In that state, we often do not and cannot hear God. That does not mean He is not speaking it means we are not in a condition to hear. Thus, the need for the command, “BE STILL.” I can almost hear God saying to them and to us, “So, you don’t feel me. Just be still and know that I am God.” It is imperative that we learn to control our raging emotions and learn to come to “inner stillness” where we can HEAR GOD. Sadly, too often people substitute stillness with activity, even praying. NEVER MISUNDERSTAND ME… I am not suggesting we do not pray but sometimes BEFORE we pray we need to HEAR and in HEARING we have direction and know how to pray, for what to pray, and what to do after we have prayed.
Let me encourage you to picture in your mind the situation when Israel stood before the Red Sea and the entire Egyptian Army hot on their heels. Three Million panicking people is utter chaos and there is no doubt that was their condition on that day. They were petrified! On one hand, I can understand their state of mind and on the other they should have been slapped like a hysterical person to bring them to sanity. They had dismissed from their minds who had delivered them and led them to this point. It is ridiculous to think that the God who performed the miracle to deliver them was now incapable of continuing that deliverance, but they somehow forgot and panic overpowered faith. If I could put it in East Texas vernacular I can hear God saying, “Hush up! Stop all this nonsense. Why are you calling out to me in a panic? Have you forgotten who I am and what I have done?” Exodus 14:14, Moses stood before them and said, “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” What a nice way to say SHUT UP! Imagine God rebuking someone for praying but He did.
That brings me to another thought that I dare not gloss over. Sometimes what we call prayer is simply a demonstration of our panic erupting from our lips expressing the fears that are controlling our hearts. God said to them, “If you’d only BE STILL, you would KNOW that I AM GOD and then you’d understand that I’ve Got This!” The Bible tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick” and they were sick in their hearts as their hope was clouded by their fear. I call you to remember the situation in 2 Chronicles 20 where Jehoshaphat and Israel faced an impossible situation in the natural. The king was filled with fear but as he prayed he came to STILLNESS in the inner-man and in that stillness as he relaxed and ceased to strive God gave him the answer.
Some misunderstand what I’m saying as equivalent to Hindu meditation or some Eastern Mysticism practice where the mind is blanked. That is totally other than what I’m saying. I am talking about stilling the mind not blanking it. I am talking about causing our emotions and the raging voices inside to BE STILL so we can HEAR Christ. In the Eastern religions silence is the goal but in Christianity, it is the place we being and can hear the Voice of God. We live in a world of noise and I know some who cannot be in a room without noise. They keep the television or radio on all the time even when they are not in the room because they cannot operate without noise. Someone said, “This generation is drugged by noise” and I believe there is a lot of truth in that statement. I heard a prison warden and chaplain tell an audience that the time they feared the most inside the prison walls was when there was silence. They said when there was total silence they began to look for suicides or attempts. This generation cannot live with silence very long. Try it sometimes in a group and have everyone sit silently without speaking and watch what happens. It is an inner cry of the human heart, “Don’t leave me alone!”
Sadly, many in America, equate activity and busyness with direction and obtaining goals. We seem to think that as long as we are DOING, DOING, and DOING we are getting somewhere so we fill our lives with noise and activity. We allow guilt to grip us if we are not DOING SOMETHING and that is why we are so addicted to noise. Then, when we become overly busy we complain that we are spreading ourselves too thin and lament, “I ought not! I ought not!” We are somewhat like the Laodicean Church full of busyness and activity but the word of the LORD was, “If any many hear my voice.” Jesus was standing outside the door knocking but no one on the inside could hear him above the din of doing and noise.
I am not suggesting finding some isolated part of the world and become monkish I am talking about, in the midst of the storm, learning to BE STILL. God bless you as you embark on today’s journey.