Be Still and Know…
We are living in a world that is begging for attention. Many people put forth much effort to find happiness, peace and contentment. In their search, they turn to a world that promises to fulfill all of their desires. Instead of finding happiness, peace and contentment, they find noise, confusion, violence, disappointment and loneliness. As these conditions intensify, it becomes more difficult for a child of God to shut them out and to focus on a life separated from the world.
Along with the volume and forcefulness that is so prevalent, there is also much frenzied behavior. The world is caught up in so much activity and entertainment that seem to have little purpose other than to occupy their time and their minds. Although a certain amount of activity is undoubtedly beneficial, the children of God must be careful that we do not get caught in the trap of becoming so busy and so noisy that we do not hear the voice of God speaking to us.
The scripture provides direction for God’s people to deal with this unwholesome situation. It also offers an explanation for the failure of the world to achieve its goal of finding contentment in spite of increased efforts to do so. The scripture tells us “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Prov. 15:1). We are instructed to “…let our conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have:…” (Heb. 13:5) and that “…godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Tim. 6:6).
Many passages in the scripture reinforce these concepts. When Elijah felt so alone and was seeking God, he was instructed to “…Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. 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” (I Kings 19:11-12).
When Elijah listened to this “still small voice”, he was able to receive instruction from the Lord and was somewhat comforted to learn that there were yet seven thousand in Israel that had not bowed to Baal nor had kissed him. A similar message was given by Zechariah when he was exhorting the people about their sinful condition and their indifference toward God. They would not find contentment from their efforts “…Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). Likewise, Solomon also understood the value of quietness and caution in speech. “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Prov. 17:27-28).
Often Jesus sought a place of solitude for himself and for His disciples when they felt the need to draw closer to God. Immediately after His baptism “…Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered” (Mt. 4:1-2). Following this intense time of drawing closer to God, Jesus was severely tempted by Satan. The time that He had spent in quiet, fervent prayer may have left Him somewhat physically weakened but His faith was strong. He was able to face all the temptations that Satan could bring and to resist them by using the Word of God as His defense. Although the Scripture does not address this point specifically, we are left to ponder what would have been the result of those temptations if Jesus would have spent the previous forty days and nights in the midst of a loud and riotous atmosphere. Would He have been prepared to answer Satan with God’s Word or would He have been defenseless and, therefore, vulnerable? Light from the Word