Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
This morning, the rat race of life seems to carry on at an unsustainable and destructive pace. One of the tactics of the enemy is to keep people too busy to be able to properly think about things. There is an old cliché that states, “Think long, think wrong.” While there is some validity and truth to the statement, a similar extreme action – if not more destructive – is to think rashly and quickly. Teachers stress reviewing tests before submitting them, and writers go through several proofing processes before sending the final edition to publication. When someone rushes and thereby forces a decision, it is likely going to be wrong or at the least wrong-headed. When someone is completely immersed in activity, it can prove quite difficult to give a matter the needed thought that it requires. Satan understands this, and he has ensnared many children of God with this device.
When the Bible speaks of “still” or “stillness” there is generally always a profound reason for it. For example, the children of Israel on the banks of the Red Sea were commanded to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” The express reason they needed to be still was to see and process God’s deliverance to them. God delivers us in many ways and at different seasons, but our observance of it in large part depends on the attention we can give it. For example, if someone was spared from an automobile accident by God’s providence and carried on down the road without another thought, that deliverance – while real – would go unnoticed. Seeing that life is a fragile thing, what – dear reader – do you think the sum of God’s unseen deliverances to our natural lives would be? Having thought about that from time to time, I rather suspect that many of us would be staggered at the sheer magnitude of the times that God took care of us without our knowledge or observation of it.
God’s care of us is so far-reaching that Satan enjoys stealing our sight of any or all of it that he can. If he can encourage a child of God to doubt his standing, he will do it. If he can wreck the life of a dear sheep or lamb of God, he wastes no time. At this present hour, he walks to and fro seeking who he may devour, as that is his chief aim of work. To combat this, sometimes the best move in a field of battle is to step back and observe the scene in a more general way. Though trench warfare is sometimes called for, spending our entire existence in the trench can rob us of the sight of the bigger picture of the battle. So, what happens when the foot soldier is able to gain access to the general survey of the war?
The command from the Psalmist is to “be still.” What is the result? The result is that something is seen that would not be otherwise. When we are still, we then know – or “perceive” and “discern” – that the Lord will be exalted among the heathen and in the earth. By being still (or stepping back in the battle analogy), we can then discern that no matter how badly the battle seems to be going, the war’s outcome is secure. We win through Him! He will be exalted above all those things that oppose. Even enemies that seem to have the mastery of us – like death – will be manifestly put under His feet some day. Though He rules and reigns above all right now, it will in the future be manifestly evident that this is the case. Some mistakenly think that He will fight a great battle some day in the near or distant future. The outcome of this battle will determine the fate of the universe with heaven’s forces being pitted against hell’s. Friends, He fought a great battle 2,000 years ago at Calvary, and His coming at the end of time will not be to battle His enemies with the outcome in flux but to show that He has already won!
One of the things that amazes me when reading writings of the past is how rich and illustrative they can be. Brethren that lived 100-200 years ago had a mastery of words and thoughts that seems harder and harder to find today. One of my fathers in the ministry said, “The old fathers wrote in a style that seemed to clap like the thunder of heaven.” When I asked him why there was no writing style like that today, he replied, “When men put aside the plow of the field, their pen was put away too.” Reflecting on this today, I can quite see his point. Men in those days worked in fields, and though perhaps not as educated or classically trained as men today, they had hours upon hours of sweet meditation with the Lord. Though not on the same scale, I glimpse this when I work in my garden. While the hands work on the ground, the mind can cycle through thoughts and passages in a fertile field of thought.
Meditation is one way of being still so that we can glimpse and discern things above the normal bustle of life. Putting aside the daily slough for a little while, our minds can focus on the higher plane (the overall battle scene). By meditating on the sweet things of Christ, we can glean again in our minds that He has taken care of us. Whether in this world or the world to come, He watches over us, and His mastery over our enemies is complete. Whether it is mastery of things that are in this earth or mastery of unseen enemies, He has never lost a battle or come close. One of the more fiendish thoughts that man has espoused is the idea that any fight between God and devil could be “in the balance” as it were. Friends, Christ does not squeak out victories. He comprehensively obliterates His foes beneath His feet!
Looking at our foe and ourselves in relation to the Lord, I am always amazed at what I see. The devil knows that he has lost (Revelation 12:12) yet he viciously fights like he could win. As God’s enlightened children, we know that we have won through the teachings of Holy Writ, yet we fight like we could lose! The way our enemy gains this advantage in our mind is by simply crowding out important things with a host of minor and petty elements. Solution: simply be still to understand and remember that God has all authority, power, might, and dominion. Many times He comes to us in a “still small voice,” and if something is still, the only way to perceive it is to be still too. By chasing the rat race of life, we can – and do – miss the glorious comings of the Lord’s Spirit to comfort, revive, and cheer our souls.
Friends, I am guilty as anyone at letting the unimportant and slightly important things of life crowd my mind from the really glorious things. My meditation times can be stripped from me, and times that require stillness are many times replaced by the noisy bustle of life. One day life will pass us by, and as I heard a wise old man say in my youth, “This world will spin without you one day, so it should be no big thing to let it spin on a bit while we’re here.” So what of our legacy, remembrance, etc.? They will one day fade away, and perhaps all that will be left of our memory in the earth is a stone that marks the resting place of the body. Therefore, let us think on One that is above the earth, will be exalted in the earth, and remembers us always. Shall we pause to listen and reflect?