BE STILL

T. PIERCE BROWN

I do not remember a time during the past 72 years that I did not seem to be in a hurry. Even as a boy, I seldom walked when I was able to run. A few moments ago, Psalm 46:10 grabbed my attention. “Be still and know that I am God.” When I checked the word in both Hebrew and Greek, I was a little surprised to note that it was not “damam,” which might normally be used to suggest “stand still” or “be quiet.” It is “raphah” which is translated by such expressions as “weaken,” “fail,” “be feeble,” or “let go.” In fact, it is translated at least two dozen different ways. In the Septuagint, it is not from “phimoo,” the word Jesus used when he said to the waves, “Peace, be still” (Mark4:39). Nor is it from “sigao,” the word used when Paul commands women to keep silent in church (1 Cor.14:34). Nor is it “hesuchia,” the word Paul used when he said for us to work in quietness (2 Thess.3:12). It is from “scholazo,” the word used by Jesus in Matthew 12:44 when he speaks of the unclean spirit finding the house empty from whence he went out. It is the word Paul used in 1 Corinthians 7:5 when he speaks of giving yourself to fasting and prayer.

What I am suggesting is that to be still and know God means far more than we have ever seen expressed in a commentary or devotional thought, which normally suggests the value of a “quiet time” where one meditates on God. This is valuable, but does not express adequately what David meant. The idea which most aptly fits the meaning of both the Hebrew and Greek word is that one needs to let go, empty himself of himself, recognize his own weakness and impotency so that he may know the power of God.

This is illustrated very well by Paul who had a thorn in the flesh and prayed three times to have it removed. When God told him “My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9), He is touching the same idea. Be empty, be still, be weak, that the power of Christ may rest upon you, and know that I am God.

Although we need to have a “quiet time” and cease from so much hustle and bustle so that we may find a peace that passeth understanding and meditate more deeply on God’s truths, commune with our loved ones, and live more happy and useful lives, this “Be still” means far more than that. This involves what should happen as a result of that quiet time when you realize your own poverty of spirit, weakness and inability to play God.

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