Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
If life came with a marketing campaign, its description could easily read “the most exhilarating, exhausting, and interesting roller coaster ever.” With its ups and downs, we sparsely have time to rest and when we do it always seems like the alarm clock erupts into our tranquil slumber. And sleep aside, when did you last get a time of rejuvenating quiet? And when was the last time you had quiet but you weren’t pondering to do’s, processes, worries, fears, doubts, or possibilities. When did you just stop and breathe? There is an old catch phrase they still teach when at a railroad crossing, “Stop, Look, Listen.” This is not so different from how we need to approach our lives, and the Word.
We are often confronted with problems, pain, and unpredictability in life. We turn to a lot of different “cures.” One of the most common is busyness. Busyness is often our prime, American defense mechanism to feign control over the chaos of life. Whether it’s work, entertainment, or leisure.
If I exercise enough, I won’t have a heart attack.
If I gain enough wealth or fame, I won’t feel so insignificant and I can finally rest.
If I live well enough, I’ll be safe from all the bad things happening to me.
If I watch enough TV, I won’t feel the loneliness and fear inside me.
Solomon laments this “vanity of toil’ and cries out “I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.” It doesn’t matter if you are wise or a fool, a diligent worker or a sluggard, rich or poor. In the end, we all die, our work is left for another to enjoy or bring to ruin, and our riches are abandoned for the following generation. “It’s just not fair,” we hear the sage thinker proclaiming to the skies. Have you felt that about life? Like you are chasing wind? Impossible to keep up with, impossible to catch even if you could overtake it and once you have it you realize it was the same as the air you already had.
But be encouraged, this isn’t a proclamation to give up, but instead that the motivation can’t be these things that will inevitably pass away anyway. We must find a motivation in what is eternal. Ultimately, that is the declaration of this verse in Psalms. ‘Be still and know that I am God. I am eternal, your battles need not be all consuming.’ Our God gives steadiness in the midst of a crumbling world, he gives strength to our fearful souls through his ever-flowing river of life, his word of authority protects us, and his protection gives peace and restoration to our desolate souls. How can we not stop the activity to look at and worship God? Let us stand in awe, let us know him, and exalt him as we walk in a world that busily swirls around us.
What is your biggest obstacle to being still?
How does knowing that God is God change your life and perspective?