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Be Still

December 10th, 2018

Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:8-11 ESV)

The very existence of this ancient psalm – a psalm that encourages faith in God when others are filled with anxiety and on the verge of panic – teaches us something important about human nature. There will always be people who are prone to fear and anxiety, and they need to be buoyed up by faith in God.

“Be still” is the voice we need to hear and the command that we need to heed. This Hebrew word – raphah – means to rest and relax. It is related to the word – rapha – which means “healing.” It carries the idea of laying down and resting as a sick person would do in the ancient culture. There is deep soul healing that we only receive when we pull away from the busy-ness of life.

We also need to be still from the busy-ness of religion. Even Christianity can fill us with a thousand and one things to do, each of which claims its own urgency. Put those things aside and be still in your heart, meditating on His Word. Even in private devotions we are tempted to measure its effectiveness by how many chapters we read, rather than how deeply we meditated upon the simple truths of God’s word.

“And know” – but it is not rest alone that we see here. We are also to know that the Lord is God. It means that we are to put aside all of the things that normally consume our thoughts and instead put this one truth before our minds – the Lord is God and He will be exalted in due time among the nations. All of the fear, anxiety, and worry, as well as the animosity and anger and conflict, have an answer and that answer is the Lord Himself.

Someone aptly noted that we are changed the most not by how many verses we read but by how many verses we let read us! That is how often we humbly get before the Word and let a simple truth from God’s Word sink deep into our souls and spirits. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

Christ calls us to Himself and thereby to the grace He offers. When He walked on earth He said:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. or my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, though he achieved much in his life, knew the importance of this truth about rest. He said: “Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.” There are many who profess to be Christians around whom I always feel exhausted because of their constant worry. But the Spirit of Christ is not like that. He will lift us up if we will rest before Him.

When was the last time that you can say you were truly still in your heart and meditated on this truth? The Lord to be the fortress of our hearts, just as He is the fortress of our spirits. We can rest in Him today, just as we will rest in Him for eternity.

 

 

Daily Devotions, Psalms