Tuesday, July 12

Prepare to Be Awed

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

The first part of this verse, "be still and know that I am God", graces the cover of one of my journaling notebooks. Whenever I have looked at that cover, my brain instantly begins thinking of the tune of the song "Be Still and Know". I never bothered to look up the context of verse 10, or even think about what it really means to be still and know who God is. Naturally, my academic personality prompted me to do a little research on what God means when he tells us to be still.

I found that the Bible contains only seven instances of the phrase "be still". Six of them are in the Old Testament, and the seventh is spoken by Jesus in the New Testament gospel of Mark. In every case, God is not merely suggesting, but rather commanding his people to be still. When God tells us to be still, he's not suggesting we relax. What he's really saying is "stand back and watch what happens when my power is unleashed!"

Every time the words "be still" are uttered in the Old Testament, it is in connection with a battle or other major event in the history of God's chosen people. For example, in Exodus 14:14, Moses tells the people that the Lord will fight for them, they need only be still. Perhaps the most familiar utterance of the words "be still" is recorded in Mark chapter 4. Jesus calms a raging not of this world.

Just as when Jesus commanded the storm to cease, when God commands us to be still, he usually does so forcefully. This is something I have personally experienced. God brings me to places in life where I have to come to a complete stop whether I like it or not. Only when I am still, have I been able to recognize and appreciate God's power and sovereignty. The idea of being still is not something I am naturally inclined to do, but if doing so means that I get to see God displaying his glory in mighty ways, then I will gladly remain right where I am and prepare to be awed.

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