Sunday, August 14, 2016

Be Still

Tonight there are a million things in my mind. Thoughts about people, thoughts about life and death, thoughts about who I am, questions about purpose, and the knowledge that there is no possible way for my human brain to understand it all are circling around. I put in my headphones and the lyrics from music about who Jesus is and our reliance on Him started replacing the ricocheting thoughts. I realized that while I have physically sat still this week many times, I have not truly been still. What does it mean to "be still"? For many Psalm 46:10 has become such a familiar verse that it has lost some of the poignancy to us. "Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

About a month ago I read the entire chapter of Psalm 46 for one of the first times. Almost every single verse declares either who God is, or what He can overcome.

1God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
    how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

To me the two verses before the well-known verse 10 sum up what it means to "be still and know that I am God." It starts out saying, "Come, behold the works of the Lord." Look, see all the good He has done in your own life, in the world around you, the earth itself, history. If you can't see what He has done, have no fear, the next verse lists a few of the many many things. "He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the chariot with fire." In other words, He brings peace. So we have established that part of the act of "being still and knowing" is dwelling on what He has done.

The following verse reminds us while we are resting in the knowledge of what He has done, just who He is- "The Lord of hosts is with us;" Let's stop there, He is the Lord of hosts. He commands all the angels, and ultimately He will defeat the 1/3 of the angels that turned away with Satan. The verse goes on to say, "the God of Jacob is our fortress." The meaning behind that statement is very significant. Jacob was the father of 12 sons, who were the patriarchs, or fathers, of the 12 tribes of Israel. Through Jacob's line came Judah, who's blood line went on to father Salmon, the father of Boaz. Boaz fathered Obed, who fathered Jesse, who fathered David. King David was the writer of Psalms. Though those may just sound like a bunch of names, the way God turned the bad in each of their lives to good for His ultimate plan is incredible. So while saying, "The God of Jacob," may not seem like a big deal it most certainly is. The significance does not stop there though, from David's line came Mary the mother of Jesus. Jesus was a piece of God, who humbled Himself so much that He came to earth in the form of a human through the womb a virgin. Jesus took on the flesh He gave His creations in order to bridge the gap between God and man. Through Jesus every single person is offered salvation, hope for life and eternity to come. When we think about all of those little details, and study further into the stories of the men that came before Him in the line of Judah, not to mention the women like Tamar, Rahab and Ruth in the same family line, we see that though the world is sinful and far from perfect God is powerful enough to turn ANY circumstances to good when we submit to Him. THAT is who God is.

When His face feels far away and you are so busy that you forget just how powerful God is, take time to dwell on who He is. Be still. Take a deep breath and remember. Remember that though the earth gives way and even if the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea He is still our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Thank you, Jesus.

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