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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stand Still

Have you ever noticed a bird standing still? I have the good fortune to live in a lakefront community where I can watch the birds as they skim over the water, perch on trees or rest on the bank. It is a very calming and restful sight. One of the things I always wonder about birds is why do they stand still at times. As I write this, there's a group of four white ibis standing still on the lawn just outside my apartment. What are they doing? Are they thinking? Contemplating their next move? Or just enjoying the view?

Birds are very intelligent creatures. They know how to forage for food, where to find the perfect living conditions and how to protect themselves and their young from predators. Man is also very intelligent, but sometimes I wonder if that intelligence isn't undermined by our constant busyness. When was the last time you stood (or sat) still without doing anything? And I don't mean while you are sleeping. In Exodus 13: 14 Moses commands the Israelites, "Fear ye not, stand still , and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever."

There are other places in the Bible where people were commanded to stand still so they could hear from God. Elijah had that experience after Jezebel threatened to kill him because he had slain the prophets of  Baal. Elijah became afraid and fled to a cave. Elijah, great man of God who had performed so many miracles, wanted to die because of fear. The Lord appeared to him and told him to stand on the mountain before the Lord. Now see what happens.

"And, behold, the LORD passed by , and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice" (1 Kings 19: 11 -  12). 

There's a lesson here for us. God does not speak to us in all the noise and confusion. We have to escape from the busyness, the hustle and bustle of today's life to a place where we can "be still and see the salvation of the Lord." Many times during His ministry when the crowds pressed upon Him, Jesus would call His disciples aside so they could "be still" and then return refreshed and renewed. 

What about you? Do you make time to be still so you can hear from God? Impossible, you might say. But there may come a time when you have no choice but to be still. What if you were lying in a hospital bed? The world will go on without you. Make time now, if only ten minutes out of your day when you turn off the ringer, close your door and be still. Quiet your mind and let the Holy Spirit infuse your soul, your spirit and even your body with His peace and calmness. Be still. You can do it.  
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