Be Still and Know God
Many people have a desire to be closer to God. We certainly have this desire as Christians, but we are not the only ones. Many outsiders also want to be closer to God. There are people who are enslaved to sin and they want to break free. They want to find something that works in life, because what they are doing now is not working. They want to know God, but they just don’t know what to do. They, like the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts, need someone to show them the way. They desire God, but they do not know where to start.
As Christians we know how one begins this journey. We are familiar with the many Bible stories in Acts about becoming a Christian. We understand that giving one’s life to Jesus involves faith, repentance, and baptism. We can give any seeker the right answers about becoming a Christian, but the steps to salvation are only the beginning. Once we have become a Christian we often discover that we still have this desire to draw closer to God. We understand, as followers of God, that we have been saved, but still there is something more we yearn for.
How does one draw closer to God? How does someone who has been a Christian 20, 30, 40 years draw closer to God? This is something we wrestle with. This is something we want to know. The truth is there are several things one could do to draw closer to the Almighty. There are spiritual disciplines we could practice. We could spend time in God’s word or we could devote more time to prayer. We could fast from the things that are distracting us from God. These are all good things, but I think there is one thing we should do before we do anything else. If we want to draw closer to God the first thing we need to do is slow down.
Our culture has us on the go all the time. We go to work, go to school, go to play, go to shop, go to do this and that. We go, and go, and go. We rarely stop and if we do we are too tired to contemplate the deeper things of life. When we finally stop from all the going we slouch into our easy chair, turn on the TV, and let our mind go numb. We don’t want to think. We don’t want to meditate. We are worn down and we just want to unplug from all the worries and cares of this world. This kind of slowing down does not help us. This is a slowing down because we have no other choice, because we are exhausted.
What we need to do is slow down before we reach our breaking point. We need to slow down so we can recognize God’s beautiful creation all around us. We need to slow down so that we realize there are many things to be thankful for. The first step in drawing closer to God is slowing down and acknowledging God. When we slow down and recognize God we are reminded that the world does not revolve around us. We are reminded that we are not the center of the universe, God is. If you want to draw closer to God, then you need to slow down.
This is what Jesus did. In his ministry he was busy teaching his followers and helping those in need. Sometimes the crowds were so large they would be pressing in on him. He had plenty to do, but he took the time to retreat to the mountains and pray. Even though he was busy and had plenty to do he slowed down to acknowledge God. The Psalmist reminds us to “be still and know God.” This is a simple yet profound statement. A person could spend a lifetime dwelling on these 5 words “Be Still and Know God.”
In our busy, overbooked, overextended life what we need to do more than anything to improve our relationship with God is slow down and acknowledge him. “Be Still and Know God.”
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”