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The Best Reason Why God Commands Us To Be Still

“Be still and know that I am God” is a directive from God recorded in Psalm 46:10. God also tells the same to the children of Israel, in Exodus 14, leaving Egypt for the promised land. In this setting, two routes were available, one through the country of the Philistines and another by desert road toward the Red Sea. God deliberately led the Israelites through the latter route for his glory to be revealed. In this article I explore why the act of being still is paramount in a believer’s life.

The children of Israel found themselves in between the Red Sea ahead and the Egyptian Pharaoh and his army behind pursuing them, this was a dead end. Filled with fear and panic, the Israelites began to cry out to the Lord, regretting leaving the land of Egypt.

Moses, the man leading them, responded to the Israelites in a way that provides an indication of what we must do in life when we encounter situations that seem like a dead end: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today, the Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you only need to be still”, (Exodus14:13-14). This article explores why God commands us to be still.

Two main points emerge from Moses’ response:

1. To not be afraid and to stand firm

  • Moses encourages them to refuse to change their decision to be led by God, He is at the helm, we need not to be afraid.

2. To be still

  • This is a call to inaction so that the only action that occurs will be deemed to be from God.
  • He gives them surety that the Lord will fight for them.
Be still and watch God make a way where there is no way

1. Relying On God Completely

Like the Israelites, we will be led into us into circumstances where our actions will all be futile so that the actions of his mighty hand can be in effect. In such situations, panic may ensue followed by fear and we may begin to murmur and complain. God implores us to stand firm in his word and not waver at all. He wants us to rely and trust in Him completely, to do so he may lead us in between the army and the sea so that He can show His power to carve a new way for us.

Paul recounted his experience of preaching the gospel in the province of Asia where he says: “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired to life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). This explains the distress he had to go through, it was so unbearable he felt like giving up on life and condemned to death.

Paul’s situation rendered him incapable of saving himself and he records that it happened so that he might rely on God. God makes the impossible possible, he can raise the dead to life, and he can make a way in between the mighty sea. He desires for us to see and experience his power and glory so that our relationship with him can deepen and for us to give him all the praise.

2. Why We Need To be Still

God’s power and glory are best revealed in dire situations where we are rendered ineffective and He effective, these dire situations are never meant to destroy us but to reveal God’s mighty power. When Paul was tormented by a messenger from Satan, he pleaded with the Lord to save him and the response from the Lord was this: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”, (2 Corinthians 12:9). As believers in Christ, our only labor is to rest and to be still, it takes tremendous faith and courage to be still amid chaos – this is to subdue our strengths, wisdom and power to God’s infinite power.

3. Final Remark

In the end all the credit for where we are in life, what we are today and the success we’ve accomplished belong to God. Paul gave all the credit to God in 1 Corinthians 15:10 when he wrote: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.”

Moreover, he compares his work, as an apostle, to other apostles and admits that he worked harder than all of them but gives all the credit to God: “Yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” Similarly, Moses and the Israelites gave all their praise to God for delivering them from Egypt and for carving a path in the middle of the sea (Exodus 15:1-21).

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