I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve been told to “be still.” A conservative estimate puts it in the tens of thousands. And I’m not really exaggerating. I have a hard time not doing something. Either I’m fidgeting, twitching, moving, playing, pacing… you get the idea. Stillness doesn’t come easily for me.
Knowledge, on the other hand, comes as naturally as all the motion and twitching and such. I love to learn and to gain information. I love seeing one piece combine with another and another. I like to know.
The thing is, I’ve learned that stillness and knowledge are often twins. At least, knowledge with any depth to it. In order to become an expert in something, one has to sit with that subject, study it, manipulate the knowledge, be intimate with the thinking behind it.
Lately, I’m developing a habit of sitting in silence. I’m learning to be still. To think. To examine scripture—sometimes even a word or phrase.
Last week, it was “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10a, NIV)
I considered what I’ve always heard from that verse—be still, listen for God, trust Him. You’ve probably read books based on that verse fragment! After going through several aspects that I'd heard before this verse linked up with something I’ve been studying in Hebrews this summer.
The conclusion of Hebrews 3 and entirety of chapter 4 looks at the promised rest that Moses was leading the Israelite people toward, and the rest that Christ leads His people toward. The author concludes that Moses’s generation did not get to enter God’s rest—for their sin was still on them. The author further shows us that even Joshua’s leading of the people of Israel into the promised land did not give them rest:
“A Sabbath rest yet remains for God’s people.” (Hebrews 4:9 CSB)
I want that rest. I want to rest from fighting sin. I want to rest from labor. In Ecclesiastes, the Preacher sees the vanity of labor. I want to rest! But what rest is this? What stillness is this? How can we be still, knowing that verse eleven in Hebrews instructs us to “make every effort to enter that rest”?
This is when it hit me. Fast-forward with me to Hebrews 10:12-13 where Jesus “after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. He is now waiting until his enemies are made his footstool.” Jesus offers the atoning blood He shed on the cross and sits down. Not only does He sit down, but He also gets to kick His feet up. At least metaphorically.
His work is done. His obedience to the Father displayed for all of us to see. His people won. Satan and death defeated. He sits down.
If you remember earlier in Hebrews, we’re told that God’s people enter His Sabbath rest. God did His work, six days, and rested. Christ did His work, atoned for sin, and rested.
Rest. Rest, knowing that God the Father is sitting in His rest, and God the Son is resting alongside. Be still. Salvation is accomplished. There is no way to work your way to salvation. Rest in Christ’s “It is finished!”
Be still. Rest. Not in the poetic sense of refreshing or finding your second wind. Not in a sentimental “mood picture” sort of way. Look forward to the promised rest. Look back at Christ’s finished work.
Rest. Be still.