Be Still and Know, Part 2
Psalm 46 addresses two big questions about rest. In Part 1 we looked at how the Psalm answers Who is God? And now we will look at What is our response?
What is our response?
We will not fear.
What causes anxiety? In part, it is the thought that we have to be our own fortress—we have to strong and protect ourselves. But God is always present. After the resurrection, Jesus said that it was better that he go away because we would have the Comforter—the Holy Spirit—always with us. As Christians, we have the presence of God in the Holy Spirit. God isn’t in the midst of a temple anymore—he goes with us wherever we go. We do not have to fear.
We will behold the works of the Lord.
The Psalm also calls us to stop and behold, to look at how God is in control: “Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.” He’s the only one who can bring permanent peace.
Stop! Look! Behold how God is at work! The less we look at God in his Word, the more anxious and troubled our hearts become.
We will be still and know that he is God.
A couple of nights ago I was walking home in the dark from a football scrimmage with my family, and an app I have told us we could see Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus all together. But to see them we had to physically stop. We had to stop so we could look up.
We need to stop. Be still. We can’t listen in the constancy of motion.
Recently I was with friends sitting in church with their five year old boy. He started to squirm; he just wanted to move. His mom said, “Sit still, calm down, listen.” There’s something with parents that we know if our children are moving, they’re not listening.
Sometimes we don’t want to stop because we’re afraid of what we’re going to find. We know we’re not going down a right path and if we stop, we’ll really know we’re not. So we just keep going. How does that work out for us?
Sometimes we don’t slow down because we don’t know how. If we stop, someone else will get ahead. We think we need to be in control and so we work ourselves ragged. Where does be still and know that I am God fit into our lives?
Alan Fadling says in his book The Unhurried Life, “The Hebrew mindset saw the day beginning with rest, not with work. In the West, our day begins with sunrise, and basically, with work.” Eugene Peterson expands on this: “The Hebrew evening/morning sequence conditions us to the rhythms of grace. We go to sleep, and God begins his work. As we sleep he develops his covenant. We wake and are called out to participate in God’s creative action. We respond in faith, in work. But always grace is previous.”
When we are still, we show that we trust God is in control. We acknowledge, “I’m not a robot, and I’m not God. I can’t work continually.” Resting is an opportunity to relish in God’s grace.
Do you feel like you’re having a hard time hearing from God recently? Does God feel distant?
Our anxious hearts need to stop and acknowledge truth about God. Knowing that God is God helps us to be still. If we are trying to be our own strong refuge, the one who is in control, to do all we need to do to make everything turn out the way we want, we’re not going to be able to find the soul-satisfying rest that comes from allowing God to be God. We don’t need to be God because God took on flesh in order to be our refuge.
This kind of rest—a settledness in the power and presence and security of God being our fortress and sovereign King and refuge for our weary souls—is a rest that we can take advantage of wherever we are, whatever we are facing.
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