Be Still and know I am God

Be still; how many times have you heard that in your life? While sitting in the barber’s chair, or the dentist’s chair, or perhaps in the emergency room while you are being stitched up.

Wherever it may have been, the idea is for you to be inactive while something beneficial is being done to you.

Have you ever noticed how nearly impossible it is to be still when you are told to be still? It seems to trigger an innate cord of rebellion that courses through your veins releasing a determination to do the opposite.

This is especially true if you are someplace you would rather not be—like the barber’s chair.

However there are times when you realize that you must fight that notion to resist being still because it really is for your own good—like the dentist drilling the cavity out of your tooth, or the doctor sewing up gash on your leg.

These illustrations have great meaning in a spiritual sense.

For example, the reason you may be in the barber’s chair is because your mom or dad told you that you were getting your hair cut. As far as you were concerned, your hair was fine the way it was.

There are times in your spiritual walk with God when this applies. Joseph, in the Old Testament, offers a great illustration of this. When his brother’s sold him to the slave traders he had to go where he did not want to go, do what he did not want to do for people he did not want to be around. The fact is Joseph lived this way for around twelve-years.

Think about the impact that would have on your life.

One minute you are living a normal happy-go-lucky life and the next you are thrust into a life that is not of your choosing.

How are you going to respond?

Are you going to let your new reality change you, or will you shape your new reality by holding fast to what you believe?

This path that Joseph found himself on is like his father taking him to the barbershop, placing him in the barber’s chair and having the barber tell him to be still.

Joseph was forced to be still.

The scriptures do not reveal whether or not the rebellion cord was triggered; It is human nature that it would have been. There is no indication that he fought against his new situation. You will not even find a place that says Joseph had a rotten attitude about it.

What you will find is that Joseph did what he knew to do.

It would be safe to say that he had to eat some crow, as it were, in this new life as a slave. However he began to serve. In fact he served so well he began to be promoted.

The Bible speaks of this as God’s favor over Joseph. In other words his God was looking out for him in the midst of very unfavorable circumstances.

Here’s the kicker; God brought on the circumstances.

God had a plan in place that required Joseph to be in a certain place at a certain time providing certain information to certain people for a very specific reason.

Joseph not only served—which by the way he would have been taught as a child—but more importantly he did not ignore his God.

Consider how significant that is.

The God of his father, the God that provided for him in very real and wonderful ways,

Seemingly abandons him allowing him to be slave.

How would you handle such a situation?

Would you continue to have anything to do with such a God? These are questions that require very careful thought. Do you suppose the story of Joseph would be in the scared scriptures had he walked away from his God? If he turned his eyes toward heaven shaking his fists in anger at such an unfair God, do you think his life would have been written about?

We will never know because Joseph continued walking with his God.

Joseph developed a close personal relationship that allowed him to endure the hardship of his journey. His strong work ethic allowed God to favor him in the work of his hands.

These elements of Joseph’s life are key in understanding this portion of being still and knowing God.

From time to time I am not grasping what various bible translations are trying to say, so after my own research I come up with what I call the Evans translation. This is one of those times and below is the result.

Relax, let go and see for yourself that I am indeed acting on your behalf as the supreme God. Psalms 46:10a—Evans

It appears that Joseph realized that he was in the barber’s chair—like it or not—and could do nothing but endure the experience. This means he made a decision to do the only thing he could do—serve. Granted he was forced to be a slave, but he was not forced to have a positive attitude about being a slave.

This came as a result of his close personal relationship with his God.

Joseph spent years in a very undesirable situation; but saw a measure of God’s blessing all along the way. It may be that the blessings are the things that allowed him to continue on in developing his relationship with the Lord.

The scriptures make it clear that Joseph never succumbed to believing that this was his lot in life. At one point he tells the butler to remember him because he does not belong in this place.

This is important to understand because it reveals Joseph’s mindset. Joseph may have been a slave on the outside, but on the inside he was still a free man.

Joseph had to let go, just as you must let go when you do not understand what is going on.

Joseph put his hand to the plow, as it were, doing what was placed before him. He did this while keeping a pure heart. It would make sense that opportunities presented themselves for him to shake a fist at God; but his close personal relationship with his God would not allow him to do such a thing.

The rest of the barbershop chair story is the beautiful fact that the Supreme God was indeed acting in Joseph’s behalf.

The day, the time, the people and the circumstance when God needed Joseph finally arrived and Joseph played his part perfectly. The result changed his life completely. Joseph refused to allow his outward situations to dictate his outcome in life. As a result he saw his God unfold his plan; which honored Joseph abundantly while advancing the Kingdom of God.

The result of the barber chair experience became an amazing blessing for Joseph as well as an amazing victory for God and his kingdom.

Remember this the next time you find yourself in the barber’s chair!

next installment

What is your image of sitting in the dentist’s chair while the dentist tells you to be still?

Chances are the memory isn’t a happy one.

For me it was when the dentist told me that he would have to do a root canal and place a crown on the tooth. His command to be still was followed by those infamous words, “This may sting a little!”

How many of you know how that turns out?

As I began thinking about this in light of being still to know that God is God, I realized something. I realized the reason I was in that situation was directly related to a decision I had made. In fact it was probably a series of decisions made over the course of several years.

The reason I was in the chair in the first place was because of a cavity that had reached the nerve in my tooth.

The cavity was there because of my own decisions to not properly practice excellent dental hygiene. No matter how much I could rationalize it, it boiled down to poor decisions on my part.

As I thought about that, I realized two very important lessons.

The reason the dentist was telling me to be still, came as a result of something I had done—or in this case neglected to do.

The reason the dentist was telling me to be still, was to improve my situation—the one I created.

Can you think of times in your life where your decisions landed you in some not-so-nice places? You realize however painful the outcome, you brought it on yourself. As you get older, you also realize these situations are often called life experiences.

Here is the powerful victory of the story.

Even though the dentist is causing you pain or discomfort—try as hard as he or she might not to—he or she is working in your behalf. It is their desire to help you so that going forward you can live a better life.

You might say that is over dramatic; and you’d be right. But think about this in light of God.

You have managed to do something that really messes you up. It is your fault whether you admit it or not. Whatever the outcome, it is on you.

Then a loving caring heavenly father steps in, asking you to be still, and begins to bring correction. Certainly it hurts. However the pain—maybe even suffering—is necessary in order to bring about the needed correction.

In the last installment Joseph was cited as an example of one sitting in the barber’s chair because his father wanted him to have a nice haircut.

Joseph is also the example of the one sitting in the dentist’s chair, once again, being told to be still.

The circumstances of Joseph’s young life led to his being a cocky arrogant younger brother. He was openly his father’s favorite and it created tension between he and his brothers.

Joseph didn’t help the situation by rubbing it in every chance he got. After all, he was his father’s favorite and what could his brother’s do about it?

Joseph’s heavenly father had plans for him, but could not allow such arrogance to be in Joseph’s life.

This meant that Joseph had to sit in the dentist’s chair while this cavity—as it were—was removed from his life. It was hard and painful. It took years to accomplish; but it was absolutely necessary in order to fulfill God’s plan for Joseph’s life.

Joseph developed a close personal relationship with God. This allowed him to submit to such changes in his life.

The question that you and I must ask is our willingness to develop such a relationship as to allow such changes to take place in our lives?

I believe to the degree that we are willing to get close to the godhead; to that degree we will experience the same sitting in the dentist chair changes.

The result of such willingness will be incredible hope, happiness and kingdom fulfillment in both this life and in the world to come.

Nest installment

Sometimes you are walking along life’s happy trail when out of the blue it happens!

Like the time I was walking along the seashore, the water tickling my bare feet, headed to a favorite fishing spot when a sharp prick on my foot caught my attention. I looked down to see blood flowing everywhere.

 

I had stepped on an oyster shell that split my big toe from top to bottom slicing it all the way to the bone. I remember thinking that I should have paid more attention to where I was walking. My dad came over to take a look. Everything was fine until he said it would need stitches; that’s when I panicked.

 

Have you ever been in the emergency room when the doctor walks up to you with a needle as long as your foot, while the nurse is holding your leg at the thigh, and says, “Be still, this may sting a little?”

 

I screamed.

 

This is the third installment of Be still and know that I am God.

It was only a couple of hours earlier that I was enjoying the fresh sea breeze flowing through my hair, listening to the seagulls squawk overhead while imagining hooking that 10-lb Snapper and reeling him in. I was simply enjoying life on the beach in the South Florida sun.

Now I am enduring the pain of having six stitches placed in my big toe

The truth is I did not want the doctor to tell me to be still. I wanted to be back at the beach reeling in that fish; but a decision had to be made. Do I stay on the wonderful beach with blood gushing from my toe—inviting who knows what to take a nibble—or do I get the wound tended to?

The toe would have healed without stitches and I could have endured the pain while continuing to stay on the beach. The point being that an accident created a wound that required attention.

This story offers a very important lesson on being still and knowing that God is God.

It is true I could have worn shoes that may have lessened the mishap. It is also true that had I spent more time looking at where I was going rather than “what” I was about to be doing, that I might have noticed the buried shell, thus avoiding the accident. But the point is, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I hadn’t been forced into the barber’s chair (as it were); nor was I tensely sitting in the dentist’s chair (as it were). I was minding my business doing nothing wrong, enjoying life.

You see, the doctor did not tell me to be still because of anything forced on me or because of anything I had done wrong. The doctor told me to be still because he needed to correct something that had happened.

There are times that accidents happen that require corrective surgery. This is true in your physical life as well as in your spiritual life. We live in an imperfect world where things happen that are not our fault, but nonetheless require correction.

It could be the unexpected loss of a loved-one, or losing a job or a promotion, that creates a wound so deep, it needs attention. It could be a physical loss or life threatening injury that causes you to mentally shutdown. Whatever it may be, it must be addressed.

Joseph experienced this while a slave at the Egyptian official’s house. The official’s wife attempted to have an affair with Joseph. When he refused and she made up a story that had him thrown into jail.

There are times when, due to no fault of your own, situations require you to “be still.” It is possible that this is the hardest time to be still because you are innocent of any wrong -doing. However the newly created wound must be tended to.

For me, this is the time I ask the “why” questions. Why did this happen; or Why did you allow this to happen? I have learned in my life not to blame God or walk away from him. This doesn’t mean that I do not get angry with him. I recall one time I was whining about something I didn’t think he was doing right and I told him, “Yeah, but you suck at it!” Deep within my being I heard this belly laugh. I knew God was laughing at what I said. Through my tears I couldn’t help but chuckle.

There is a “why” question that should be addressed. Why does this happen? Joseph’s story offers a couple of clues. Earlier in the post, it was mentioned that Joseph had a cocky self-righteous attitude. The kind of attitude that God said a righteous person should not have. The kind of attitude of that had to be worked out of his life if he were to accomplish God’s intended plan. It was also stated that God needed to work something “into” Joseph’s life.

The English meaning for the Hebrew word, Be Still, means to cease, forsake, leave or let alone. It is during this time that God is working things out of your life; pride, rebellion, depression, etc. This is what happened with Joseph. The cocky teenage boy slave became a humble servant leader.

The purpose of being still is to allow God to work whatever it is out of your life. He will do this whether it takes a day or a decade. He will do this as long as you allow him to work in your life. He will do this once you have established a close personal relationship with him.

The beauty—even though hidden while going through it—of being still is the “knowing” that God is God. This is the part where he works something “into” your life.

God’s plan for Joseph was to be a servant leader over Egypt. After he worked the cockiness out of him, he needed to work the servant leader into him. He will do this whether it takes a day or a decade.

All of this is done in order for God to work on internal things in your life in order to bring about eternal purposes for your life.

Are you in a “Be Still” moment with God? If you are, it may serve you well to ask two questions.

The first question you may want to ask is what needs to be worked out of your life? In his book about the Welsh revival, Reese Howells tells a story about God asking if he were willing to give up something. He responded by saying that he was “willing to be made willing.” These are powerful words as well as a powerful truth when dealing with this question.

The second question you may want to ask is what needs to be worked into your life? It is easier to put “something” into a container when you know what the “something” is.