Be Still and Know

Posted on 05/17/2009 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


I pray for the demons to stop chasing me.....Im tired of being afraid....Im tired of hiding....Im tired of giving in.....Im tired of feeling like Im dying all the time and be afraid to do so. Please pray the demons in my life away
   –Illiam Janic

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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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WHAT A MIGHTY GOD

What a mighty God we serve
    what a mighty God we serve
Angels bow before Him
    heaven and earth adore Him
What a mighty God we serve!

HE IS THE KING OF KINGS

He is the King of Kings
    He is the Lord of Lords
His name is Jesus, Jesus,
    Jesus, Jesus
O, He is the King!

His name is Jesus, Jesus
    sad hearts we've no more
He can heal the broken hearted
    open wide the prison door
And He's able to deliver evermore!

BLESS THE LORD O MY SOUL

Bless the Lord O my soul
     and all that is within me
     bless his holy name

For he has done great things
     he has done great things
     he has done great things
He's so good to me

He saved my soul
     he saved my soul
     he saved my soul
He's so good to me

He is coming soon
     he is coming soon
     he is coming soon
Bless his holy name

STILL

Hide me now, under Your wings
Cover me, within Your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father, You are King over the flood
I will be still, know You are God

Find rest my soul, in Christ alone
Know His power, in quietness and trust

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You, above the storm
Father, You are King over the flood
I will be still, know You are God

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Aren't you thankful for God's peace today? It's a peace that doesn't depend on what's going on around us. It's a peace that the world does not and cannot have. It's a peace that surpasses our understanding -- we can't comprehend it, we can't put it into words.

Do you feel God's peace in his presence here today? The worries of this life can weigh us down, but what does the Bible say? He gives us the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness. And from where does joy come? Joy springs forth from the still waters of peace.

Do you have that kind of peace today? If not, there's absolutely no reason for you to leave here today without finding that peace.

And I'd like for us to talk about this peace, this stillness, this heart calm in the middle of any storm. And today's message is titled, "Be Still and Know."


Throughout Scripture, we see God, time and time again, reminding his people to trust in him. "Be still and know that I am God." "Do not be afraid." "Behold the Salvation of the Lord." "The battle belongs to the Lord."

And these words were written and preserved because although we live in very different cultures and very different times, we face the same doubts, fears, and struggles. And really, the underlying issues have not changed. As the Bible tells us, there is nothing new under the sun.

Just as it has been from the book of Genesis, we trust in everything besides God. We trust in our intellect. We trust in our strength. We trust in our goodness. We trust in religion. We trust in other people. We trust in gods we or others have invented. It's often only at the brink of complete destruction that we trust in the God revealed to us from Genesis to Revelation.

And so He tells us today, just as he has told us for thousands of years, "Be still and know that I am God."


This verse, "Be still and know," is found in the 46th chapter of the Psalms. It's a short chapter, and I'd like for us to read it together.

Psalm 46, beginning with verse 1.

1 God is our refuge and strength,
         A very present help in trouble.
 2 Therefore we will not fear,
         Even though the earth be removed,
         And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
         Though the mountains shake with its swelling.  Selah 
        
 4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
         The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
         God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
         He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
        
 7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
         The God of Jacob is our refuge.  Selah 
        
 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
         Who has made desolations in the earth.
 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
         He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
         He burns the chariot in the fire.
        
 10 Be still, and know that I am God;
         I will be exalted among the nations,
         I will be exalted in the earth!
        
 11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
         The God of Jacob is our refuge.  Selah


This is a beautiful passage of peace and rest, isn't it? It begins with "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble," and ends with "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." And verse two says, "Therefore we will not fear."


I don't know about you, but sometimes my heart is troubled over things much smaller than these things: "Even though the earth be removed, and the mountains be carried into the middle of the sea."

Sometimes I have fear when I don't have the money to pay a bill and don't know where it's coming from. But that's pretty small compared to this.

Those who believe the man-made global warming myth might have more reason to fear, if their beliefs were true, than I do. But suppose the earth WERE removed, destroyed, and the mountains were carried into the middle of the sea. What if the waters do roar and are troubled, and the mountains shake with its swelling?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.


It's frightening to think that we are an accident, that we evolved, that we're here as we are today through the survival of the fittest. What if we're the next evolutionary product to not be fit enough to survive? What if we are wiped out because the earth becomes so hot that we suffocate and burn to death? What if we're the ones causing this?

There can be no true peace outside of Jehovah God. If we don't believe he created us, we cannot know our true purpose. If we don't believe his promise that hot and cold will continue, we can become unreasonably afraid that we could all freeze or burn to death. If we don't believe that God created and maintains the laws of nature, we can be fearful that we could somehow upset the "accidental" balance of nature.

If we don't believe God is soveriegn, we will fear what men or nature might do. If we don't believe God's Holy Word, we will fear what tomorrow may bring, or how the end of the world will come.

The mind of the one who doesn't believe the Scriptures are true may conclude that men made up myths about God and life after death to calm their own fears and feelings of futility. But the end of that logic demands that reality is hopeless, and futile, and without true meaning or purpose.

You see, there can be no peace without the Prince of Peace. There can be no safety outside the shelter of the Most High. There can be no true rest without God.


Verse ten says, "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth."

Be still. Find true rest. He is God. He WILL be exalted among the nations. He WILL be exalted in the earth.

The days of Jehovah God are not coming to an end, just as they had no beginning. The athiests can't destroy him. The politicians can't dethrone him. The liberal professors can't erase him. All the hauty, prideful, and twisted efforts of man denying their maker cannot change who he is, or who they are, or the fact that he gives them every breath they breath, and their days are like a vapor before him, naked and bare, fools because they have embraced foolishness and have turned away from the truth.

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.


Be still. What does that mean? Be still. How is this done? Be still.

Be still. God has repeated it to his people many times, many places, and in many ways. And he's repeating it yet again, right here, right now, to you, and to me. Be still.

How, God? Be still.

Let's consider the story of Gideon. Just a regular person who God chose to defeat a great army that was coming to destroy the people of God.

He wasn't some great, powerful warrior. And although he had a small army follow him to battle, God told him to send a large number of them home.

Send them home? Wait, their army was already too small... Send them home? This just didn't make any sense. But God was telling him to be still.

And finally, the day of battle came. And what happened? If you know the story, you know that God told Gideon to have the men put lights under shades, and to surround the enemy, and on Gideon's signal, the men were to uncover their lights and blow their horns.

The army of God didn't strike a single blow in this battle. They didn't need swords, for the Word of the Lord was their sword. They didn't need shields, for their faith in Jehovah God was their shield.

The enemy was defeated before their eyes. They watched them all die, and then went down and plundered their camp.

Be still, and know that I am God.


Let's consider the story of Jericho. The walls of Jericho were very high, and since Joshua hadn't invented the airplane yet, the army had no way in. The walls were very thick -- so thick that chariots raced on top. Can you picture that? For chariots to race, there has to be room for at least two of them. There was absolutely no way the army of God was going to knock down the walls.

On top of that, they were being watched. The Bible says the guards were making fun of them. It's not as though they could secretly dig a tunnel, for they'd be found out before they even began.

So they couldn't go over. They couldn't go through. And they couldn't go under.

But it wasn't up to them to go over the walls. It wasn't up to them to go through or under the walls. It wasn't even up to them to get into the city and defeat their enemy.

God told them to march. So they marched. For seven days they marched around the city once, and then they marched seven times. And after the seventh time, they blew the trumpets and let out a great shout of victory.

And what happened? Those walls, those great walls, those walls on which chariots raced, those walls they could not go over, they could not go under, and they could not go through.... THOSE walls came tumbling down flat. And the battle was won.


Let's consider the story of Elisha the prophet, to whom God told the plans of their enemies. The king of Syria questioned his men to find out who was leaking their military secrets, and one of his men told him it was Elijah the prophet who, as the passage in 2nd Kings chapter six says, "tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom."

Elisha was staying in Dothan, so the king sent horses and chariots and a great army to surround the city by night.

Let's read this, 2nd Kings chapter 6, starting with verse 15:

15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"

16 So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
18 So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, "Strike this people, I pray, with blindness." And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

19 Now Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." But he led them to Samaria.
20 So it was, when they had come to Samaria, that Elisha said, "LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see." And the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw; and there they were, inside Samaria!
21 Now when the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, "My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?"
22 But he answered, "You shall not kill them. Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master."
23 Then he prepared a great feast for them; and after they ate and drank, he sent them away and they went to their master. So the bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel.

You see, the efforts of the armies of Israel had not prevailed against these raiders. But God had another plan. And it was not by the intelligence or might of man that this threat was brought to an end, but it was by the wisdom and power of God.

Be still and know that I am God.


We could keep going, from David and Goliath to Moses and the Red Sea to all the other times God used the weak and the foolish to confound the wise and secure the safety and victory of his people in the ways he saw fit.

But there is one thing all these events hold in common. There is one identical thread out of which these great stories are woven. And it is this:

Gideon had to obey God by shining the torches and blowing the horns; Joshua had to obey God by marching around the city, blowing the trumpets and giving a great victory shout; Elisha had to see with the eyes of the spirit and obey God by instructing the king to let the enemy go free; little David had to go, without armor, to fight an enemy the armies of Israel dared not attack; Moses had to obey God and lead the people of God through a great, impassible sea.

You see, they weren't required to be super smart. They weren't required to be super strong. They weren't required to be great in number. They weren't required to understand everything or have all the answers.

They were only required to obey.

Be still and know that I am God.


What is God telling you to do? And have you told him you're not strong enough? Have you told him you're not smart enough? Have you told him you're not brave enough? Have you told him you need to figure it all out? Or have you taken him at his word?

King Saul did what he thought was the smart thing to do when he spared some of the people and the livestock of a city of which God commanded all living things should die. Certainly the anti-war activists would have been on King Saul's side. But there was only one problem with this seemingly good action: it was disobedience. And there was a great price to pay.

King Saul, by not obeying God, was destroyed. By seeming to win, he became the loser.

He was not being still and knowing the the Lord is God.

So what does that mean? How could he, or can we, be still and know that the Lord is God?

In Hebrews chapter three, verses 16 through 19, we read this:

Hebrews 3:16-19

16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?
17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?
18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?
19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.


Hear this. God had offered rest for his people. But something kept them out. He had said to them, "Be still and know that I am God." But something hindered their stillness and robbed their knowledge of God.

And it was this one thing. This one single thing kept them from being still. This one single thing kept them from truly knowing God. And that one thing was this: Disobedience. Unbelief.

These two are one. To believe in God is to accept that everything he says is true and will come to pass.

None of us want to fail. None of us want to be defeated. None of us want to be destroyed. But although we think we believe what the Bible says about the battle belonging to the Lord, about God protecting and guiding us, and about the sovereignty of God, although we think we believe these things, our actions say otherwise.

When we knowingly disobey God, or choose to not obey him him, at least not "right now," we are walking in unbelief.

And because of disobedience, because of unbelief, we are unable to enter into God's rest. We are unable to truly be still and know that he is God.


Let's read a little more and find out what is true belief, the kind of belief that results in true rest; and let's find out what is true rest so that we can be still and know that he is God.

Hebrews 4:1-10

1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.
2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,'" although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”;"
5 and again in this place: "They shall not enter My rest."
6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience,
7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, "Today," after such a long time, as it has been said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts."

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day.

9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

Listen to this carefully:

10 For he who has entered (God's) rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

Did you catch that? This is the perpetual sabbath. This is the unending rest of God. And it is to cease from your own works.

King Saul didn't cease from his own works, and it ended up in disaster. But Gideon did the works of God, not his own. Joshua did the works of God, not his own. David did the works of God, not his own. Moses did the works of God, not his own.

All these men before these times of great victory rested in that everlasting rest. They had peace, for their minds were stayed upon God, and they trusted in him. The set aside their own wisdom, brilliance, and might, and trusted instead in the wisdom and power of                                                  God. And through them, in the middle of their rest, God won the victory time after time after time without one single exception.

The times we see defeat were the times the people of God trusted in something or someone besides God or in addition to God. Every time that happened, they were drawn away from God. And their time of rest came to an end.

Are you resting from your own works and instead trusting and obeying the voice of God?


Now let's not be misled. This doesn't mean we're supposed to sit around and do nothing, unless that's really what God is telling us to do.

Gideon had to lead the army a distance, weed them out, and go where God told him to go and do what God told him to do.

Joshua had to tell the people to march, and they marched day after day with the people making fun of them. They must have looked silly, because what they were doing made no sense, and they knew it.

Elisha had to pray for blindness upon his enemies, lead them into captivity, and then tell the king to set them free.

David had to refuse the king's armor, ignore the ridicule of his older brothers who thought he was a fool, and as a boy, face this great, undefeated giant of a warrior with nothing but a sling and a few little stones, and boldly declare that the giant's mighty strength and weapons were nothing next to the God of Israel whom the giant had defied.

Moses had to lead millions of men, women, and children into the wilderness, with the Egyptians about to pursue behind them, and an impassible sea in front of them.

What these held in common was not that the people did nothing, or even that there was no violence, for that was sometimes required. It was not that no one was hurt, for they were, or that no one died, for many did.

Some blew trumpets, some shouted, some held up torches, some swung a stone from a sling, and some led an army to captivity from which they were freed.

You see, there is no ritual you can perform to find peace. There is no formula you can use to repeat the rest of God at will. God did things very differently for more than one reason.

For one thing, he is creative and full of brilliant imagination. But beyond that, he will not be put in a box. Throughout history, he has continued to shock, amaze, and even offend us. Conventional wisdom does not hold him captive, and the things we think are irrational, illogical, foolish, or even downright stupid, are often the wisdom of God, or the lesser things he is using to achieve his greater purpose and glory.

And he will not be pegged with a religious list of traditions of men, of things we can do on the outside to somehow achieve what only God can choose to give.

And it is in this unpredictibility, this often frightening non-conformity to what we think is acceptible, that we are called to obey God.

Of course he will never go against Scripture, and we've been instructed to not defile our conscience; but he just might surprise you with what he tells you to do.

And always remember this: if you obey the voice of the Lord, if you are still from your own ways and your own works and are careful to do exactly as he says when he says and how he says, then you will enter his rest. And you will know that he is God.

Be still and know that I am God.


Let's close today by reading from the book of Isaiah, chapter 40, verses 28 through 31.

Isaiah 40:28-31

28 Have you not known?
      Have you not heard?
      The everlasting God, the LORD,
      The Creator of the ends of the earth,
      Neither faints nor is weary.
      His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
      And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
      And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the LORD
      Shall renew their strength;
      They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
      They shall run and not be weary,
      They shall walk and not faint.


The ministry team can come to the front now.


What does this say? It says the understanding of God is unsearchable. There is nothing hidden from him, no mystery, no surprises. It would be foolish of us to think we can come up with a better plan, or one that is as good.

It says he gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, he increases strength.

Then it says that the young will faint and grow weary, and the young men will utterly fall. When we think of youth, we think of unbounded energy. When we think of young men, we think of strength. And yet, those things we think will bring us strength and make us last and will ultimately bring us victory, this says they will faint, they will grow weary, and they will utterly fall.

BUT... What does it say? But... But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not grow weary. They shall walk and not faint.

These are the ones who don't just run ahead with their own plans and in their own wisdom, but they wait upon the Lord.

These are the ones who don't trust their own best reasons, but are willing to submit everything they know to be rational and follow wherever God leads.

These are the ones who know that they won't automatically hear from God, but that they must draw close to him, meditate upon his Word and spend time in his presence so they can know his voice and hear him speak; and so they spend time every day, before they have a chance to make any decisions or face any challenges; they spend time seeking after God, worshiping and praising him, speaking with him, and filling their minds and the attitudes of the coming day with his Word.

And what does this say? It says that THESE, these who wait upon the Lord, it says they will renew their strength. It says they will mount up with wings like eagles! It says they will run, but they will not grow weary. It says they will walk, walk on the path, walk where God leads them, and they will not faint.

And most of all, they will have rest.

Be still and know that I am God.


This altar is open, and I'd like to invite you to get out of your seat and come gather at the front for a time of prayer, worship, and ministry.

If you would like someone to speak or pray with you, you can instant message someone on the ministry team; or to those listening outside Second Life, you can go to almcyberchurch.org and click the Pastors Offices link above the door on the left.

If you need to go, you're dismissed, and if you can stay until after this time at the altar, you're invited to join us in the room to your left for a time of fellowship.

And if you don't have peace today, if you don't have rest, I urge you to not leave until you have it. And you can have that peace and rest today that only comes from God.

In Matthew 11:28 and 29, Jesus says this:

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.

Just come to Jesus. Accept his yoke, that which binds you to walking your life with him, accepting his life of turning from sin. Cry out to him right now. Whether you are saved but have not been walking in his rest, or if you are coming to him for the first time, just cry out to him right now.

You might say, "Jesus!" Just call out his name. Say, "Jesus! Forgive me for my sins. I turn from my life of sin and of doing things my own way. I turn to you. I accept the yoke of walking with you, of going where you lead, and of doing your works instead of mine. I surrender my ways, my own ideas, and my life to you. Do with them what you please. And instead, I accept your peace and your rest, and the victory that only you can bring. Thank you Jesus! Amen."

Come to this altar, and let's be still and know that he is God! Come.