Leading up to our wedding day, one thing people kept telling us was that it would go by in a blur. With all the planning and anticipation that we put into that day, I wanted to savor every minute. I can still recall some moments so clearly because I remember forcing myself to be still, and to take notice. I can picture certain smiling faces as I walked down the aisle, I can remember the beautiful music during our ceremony, and I definitely recall trying not to trip on my dress and laughing as Brian and I danced our first dance as husband and wife (it’s important not to forget to bustle your dress!).
Be still. It seems like such a passive action, and who has time for that this time of year as the holidays are right around the corner? That’s the last thing we can think of if we are to get it all done…arrive on time…and make this time of year memorable.
But that’s just it…going going going…is that going to help us remember? Will it help us to take notice?
Be still in Scripture
The phrase “Be still” occurs 8 times in scripture. What stood out to me was that two of those times were in reference to Jesus calming a storm.
Psalm 107:29 says,
“He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.”
And then we see in Mark 4:39,
“And he awoke and rebuked the wind
and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the
wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
A sense of calm, and a hush follows be still. It took incredible action on the the part of our Lord to command the sea, the wind, and the storm to be still. It was not passive. What preceded the command to be still was chaos, fear, distraction, tossing…and then, be still. And what followed? Taking notice. Taking notice of the hush…of the calm…of the miracle.
Another reference that contains be still in scripture is found in Psalm 46:10,
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Breaking it down
That verse sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I came across this passage recently and felt the Lord ask me, “Mary, can you be still?” Amidst the overwhelming pressures we feel this time of year…amidst our desires for everyone to be happy, the food to taste delicious, and the gifts to be appreciated; can I pause, be obedient, and be still? We need to remember that every command God gives us is because He loves us, and it’s for our own good. By taking time to be still, we are opening up our hearts and eyes to take notice of the miracles all around us, of all the ways we can exalt His name.
The phrase, Be still that we see in Psalm 107:29 is the Hebrew word, dĕmamah, which is defined as “…a voice of silence, i.e. gentle, still” in the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon. If we go deeper and look at the phrase, Be still in the Mark 4:39 passage, we see that it is translated to the Greek word, phimoō, which under Strongs Definition means, “To muzzle.” And finally, the Be Still, that we see in Psalm 46:10 is the word raphah in Hebew, and the third definition of this word in Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon is, “…to be let down, especially of the hand.”
Let’s put these together. To be still is to have a voice of silence, to muzzle ourselves, and to let our hands down…to cease…to stop speaking and doing, and to take notice.
Be still in our lives
As we enter into this holiday season, where it often feels like we are on a boat in the middle of a storm, just trying to hang on, let’s remember what God has called us to do…to be still. And once we close our mouths, and drop our hands, to acknowledge that He is in control, not us. He will be exalted, not us. And it’s all about Him, not us.
Be still. Embrace the calm and the hush that follows. Take notice of all the ways God is at work in your life, of all the miracles He is doing, and take a moment to remember…these are the things that truly matter…the things that you will recall for years to come. Then open up your mouth, and lift up those dropped hands of yours and say and do to His glory alone.
*Want to dig into Scripture more? A great source is the Blue Letter Bible website that has incredible tools to help you dig into the Bible and better understand the original meaning in context of when it was written.