The dictionary defines still as not moving or making a sound; deep silence and calm.
To be still then can mean not moving, and being quiet.
However, from a biblical perspective, to be still takes on much greater meaning.
The word still is a translation of the Hebrew word rapa, meaning “to slacken, let down, or cease.”, to let go, surrender.
To be still means to stop frantic activity. The meaning would be best understood to say “cause yourself to become restrained or to let go”. For Christians being “still” would involve looking to the Lord for their help. In other words, we need to come to a place where we are willing to submit ourselves to God and acknowledge that He is in sovereign control.
Exodus 14:13 (NKJV)13 And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.
This command—“be still”—forces us to realize that we are finite, and that God is infinite, that He’s in control, He’s sovereign over our lives, He’s Lord of heaven and earth.
Romans 14:11 (NKJV) For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God."
Being still doesn’t mean that there won't be trouble. It is remembering that He promised to never leave or forsake us.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV) Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
Romans 15:4 (NKJV) For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
In a Bible study that I led we talked about creating a “God-space”.
Matthew 6:5-6 (NLT)5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
I don’t think that Jesus was talking about a literal closet but a place where it was just you and God. It could be a literal closet, or a place in your home where it is quiet with no major distractions from outside you, But it doesn’t have to be a literal place if you are able to “create space in which God can act.” That’s a God-space, a place to be still
Psalms 46:10 NKJV Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
The word exalted means being lifted up or honored. The next verse says that we can be still because God is our refuge.
Psalm 46:11 (NKJV) The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
That means that God is our shelter from danger or trouble. A place to be still.
Jesus told the multitudes;
Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
by Sarah Jennings Phillips
Be still and know that I am God. (Ps. 46: 10)
The affairs of God are accomplished little by little and almost imperceptibly. The Spirit of God is neither violent nor hasty. -- St Vincent de Paul
If you're American, you're probably busy right now. We're a country filled with activity. Studies show we're some of the most sleep-deprived people in the world. We work long hours, come home to more work (completed with the television blathering on in the background) before collapsing into bed to repeat the process again the next day.
Why do we live such frantic, hyper stimulated lives? Sometimes it's out of a sense of obligation - we feel it's a sin to say "no" so we overextend ourselves trying to fill the roll of Savior for everyone around us. Sometimes our frenzied lives stem from a sense of inadequacy - "If I work hard and accomplish such-and-such, I will have value." Sometimes it's a mode of escape - burying ourselves in work or in a TV program keeps our minds off life's disappointments. And sometimes we've just lost sight of our priorities, defaulting to the heightened pace of the culture around us, unaware that we've let our down time slip away little by little.
Regardless of why we're living in the fast (and loud) lane, deep down we all know we need to get out of it. Our souls crave peace, stillness, and silence. And even if we can ignore the cries of our souls for awhile, our bodies demand it when they eventually wear out.
Why do we crave that stillness? It seems the "noise" of life is more often man-made than God-ordained. In Scripture we see that time and again, God calls us to find peace in Him, to lighten our burden with Him, to set aside our anxieties and meaningless business. We see God speak to the prophet Elijah through a "gentle whisper" and tell an anxious Martha that her sister Mary chose the "better" part when she abandoned household duties to sit at Jesus' feet. (Luke 10: 41-42)
After a long day of running here and there, you may find yourself longing to be peaceful Mary whose only job is to be with Christ. So how can we become more like Mary when the vast majority of us more closely resemble worried Martha? I love the opening Scripture verse -- it's so simple, it cuts through all the junk clanking around in my brain. Be still.
In the midst of the activity surrounding her, Mary made a simple choice. To sit and be still. You and I can make that simple choice too, even when life seems to be pressing on all sides. It may be awkward at first - we may be tempted to grab for the remote or cut our time with God short. But by seeking stillness we are effectively saying, "Nothing else is as important to me as You at this moment, Lord."
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.