There is a tension between the ideas of ‘be still’ and ‘move forward’. God tells Israel to do both when they are at the edge of the Red Sea. When we think about being still and knowing that he is God, it could lead us to believe that sitting still is what we ought to do…
14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
Being still is not the same as sitting still. God says that we should both be still and move forward. How can you do those things at the same time? What I am realizing is that being still is all about control and the heart. It’s not about sitting still at all.
We prefer to control things. We prefer to think that when we are in situations which are sticky or dicey or dodgy or threatening, that we can get out of them ourselves, right? We do this through human effort, strategy, tactics, preparation, planning, and self-centred self-sufficiency. I can do this. Bring it on! I can do this…
The world is cheering us on in this, and the god of this age would prefer nothing more than for us to believe that we are right – that we can do it on our own. ‘Be still’ says don’t go there. Stop going there. Stop making that your go-to. Don’t lean on your own understanding, Proverbs 3:5 teaches us. Be still and know that I Am God, Psalm 46:10 teaches. Know that I am God. You are not God. You are not in control. You are not able to do what I can do. Be still and know that I am God.
The concept of ‘be still’ is also about the heart. Be still in your heart. Because when you are still in your heart, you are less likely to be governed by your circumstances. Psalm 46 also offers that He is our refuge and our strength. We will not fear when our hearts are still before God.
The apostle Paul is a great example of this stillness. Paul wrote, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:7). Paul had been shipwrecked and stoned and beaten and hungry and thirsty and tired and cold and naked all in his service to God and still the peace of God was guarding his heart. In the face of this, Paul actually said, like we often say, “I can do all things.” I can do this. Right? Sort of.
He didn’t stop there. He actually said, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:13). His heart was guarded and peaceful because he knew that he was not in control.
Being still is about giving up control and taking hold of peace of heart. Giving up control… And taking hold of peace of heart. Be still. The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still. Be still.