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Be Still and Know

We can learn more when we be still

Howard Thurman tells of one of his University students who was a deep sea diver. He wrote of his experience of being on the bottom of the ocean as he learned the value of being still. The water was clear and he was in the midst of a coral rock garden. He sat down to look around and just be still. Occasionally a fish would swim up to take a look at him, and then pass the word to his friends, and soon there were many curious fish about him.

As he sat there in stillness, the beauty of the of the bottom of the ocean became more intense. Plants had opened up revealing what looked like blossoms. He felt like he was in a beautiful flower garden. He enjoyed it for a long while, but then he realized he could not stay there forever, and he started to go about his business. As soon as he moved all the flowers disappeared. They were living things, and they emerged only when still and quiet. The activist sea diver who comes splashing through such a garden would never see its full beauty. He learned that there are marvelous things you will never see unless you sit in stillness.

Be still in quietness

The point of Psalm. 46:10 is that there are things about the Creator, as well as His creation, that can only be learned by those know how to be still and quiet in the presence of God. “Be still, and know that I am God.” How do we get to know an omnipotent God who most often speaks in a still-small voice? By being still and quiet. Too often Christians find difficulty in hearing God speak to them but they never take the time to just sit quietly in His presence.

Think for a moment about your prayer time. How much talking do you do? How much time to you spend in quiet reflection of God’s Word, listening for the Holy Spirit? For most of us, we spend the entire time talking and making our requests to God and we don’t give Him a chance to get a word in as we move from one prayer request to the next.

Be still and silent in worship

Being still and silent before God is a vital part of a total worship experience, for it gives God a chance to reveal Himself to you. This is why we are to “be still and know.” God listens to us, and He appreciates it when we return the favor and listen to him. Often the answer to our prayer is received by listening. The solution to many a problem is found in having the mind of Christ, and this comes by listening to His Spirit. Friendship between two people is hard to develop if there is all talk and no listening. We miss the depth of the friendship of Christ if we do not learn to listen.

We need to learn to pray, “Lord, what is your will for me today in these areas of my life?” Then we need to listen to hear if God puts any ideas into our head or if he recalls a certain Scripture to our minds that answers our need. “Be still and know that I am God.” There is a knowing of God that can be learned only in silence. Silence plays a major role in learning of God, for we need quietness when we study and meditate on His Word

A Culture of Anti-Silence

We have a hard time sitting in stillness and quiet because our culture is a sound oriented culture. We specialize in making everything that makes sound portable so that we can have the sound even at the beach, or out on the lake, or camping in the woods. Our society has made it possible to escape silence completely, even if we find ourselves in the most remote area. We have made it possible to banish silence from our lives almost completely. So much so that we feel awkward when there is silence in a conversation and we feel as if we need to fill the silent moment with – something – anything.

There was a tunnel down in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where radio waves did not penetrate, and there was a 20 to 30 second break as motorists went through. A man got permission to set up a system inside the tunnel to give weather information so drivers would not have to endure the agony of that few seconds of silence.

The Biblical value of quiet

Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet.”

Psalm 23:2 – “He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.”

Ecclesiastes 9:17 -“The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.”

Lamentation 3:26 – “It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the Lord.”

Habakkuk 2:20 – “The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.”

Zephaniah 3:17 – “Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love.”

I Thessalonians 4:11- “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.”

1 Peter 3:4 – “Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.”

God often does His greatest works when we be still

We cannot look at all the Bible says about the importance of being still and quiet, but we want to focus on the fact that God so often does His greatest works when we simply be still and sit quietly in His presence.

And anonymous poet wrote:

Silently the green leaves grow
In silence falls the soft, white snow
Silently the flowers bloom
In silence sunshine fills the room
Silently bright stars appear
In silence velvet night draws near…
And silently God enters in
To free a troubled heart from sin
For God works silently in lives
For nothing spiritual survives
Amid the din of a noisy street
Where raucous crowds with hurrying feet
And “blinded eyes” and “deafened ear”
Are never privileged to hear
The message God wants to impart
To every troubled, weary heart
For only in a QUIET PLACE
Can we behold GOD FACE TO FACE!

So take some time today to sit quietly and simply be still and ask God to show you something new about himself. If you find it uncomfortably awkward, then start with just three minutes a day and increase how long you bask in his presence as you become accustomed to being still in His presence.


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