Be still, and know that I am God

I slept in Thursday morning so my daily appointment on the back screened in porch was delayed until about 8:o’clock. The sun was well on its way in its daily journey across Indiana, the skies that day perfectly blue, not even a puff of cloud. By that time in the morning, the chatter of birds was mostly silenced.  I missed their usual accompaniment as I read Ezekiel 34 and Psalm 46, 47.

And then the concert began.  The silence was broken by the sound of a big commercial lawn mower a few houses down, sounding like an extended riff from an electric guitar.  Percussion was added by a roofing crew with the rythmic sound of several nail guns, sounding as if they might have had a maestro to keep them in time. An occasional bird would add a little flute sound to the orchestra. It really was quite beautiful.  I’m not one with a highly creative imagination, but I really was in awe of what I heard.

Then, without warning, renewed silence  — But it was a silence that invited the birds to sing again. Then I could hear the traffic from 465 three miles off, then barely audible surging of engines and some banging from the Martin Marietta mine just a mile away.  A single engine airplane flew overhead.  These sounds did not remind me of an orchestra.

But as a lawn mower cranked up again, all other sounds disappeared.

And I thought – What other things are in my life that are so loud I can’t sense anything else, or hear the voice of God?  So I was drawn back to Psalm 46:10 – Be still, and know that I am God.

A tool I often use to accompany my morning reading of Scripture is called The Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers and Devotions.  The old Puritans help me to slow down, to hear and see, drawing from Scripture and applying it very personally to life; helping me to know myself and the great vacuum in my life that can only be filled by God.

Here is the selection from that morning – God the Source of All Good

O Lord God, Who inhabitest eternity,

The heavens declare thy glory, 
The earth thy riches, 
The universe is thy temple; 
Thy presence fills immensity, 
Yet thou hast of thy pleasure created life, 
    and communicated happiness; 
Thou hast made me what I am, 
    and given me what I have; 
In thee I live and move and have my being; 
Thy providence has set the bounds of my habitation, 
    and wisely administers all my affairs. 
I thank thee for thy riches to me in Jesus, 
    for the unclouded revelation of him in thy Word, 
    where I behold his Person, character, grace, glory, 
    humiliation, sufferings, death, and resurrection; 
Give me to feel a need of his continual saviourhood, 
    and cry with Job, ‘I am vile’, 
    with Peter, ‘I perish’, 
    with the publican, ‘Be merciful to me, a sinner’.

Subdue in me the love of sin, 
Let me know the need of renovation as well as 
      of forgiveness, 
    in order to serve and enjoy thee for ever.

I come to thee in the all-prevailing name of Jesus, 
    with nothing of my own to plead, 
    no works, no worthiness, no promises. 
I am often straying, 
    often knowingly opposing thy authority, 
    often abusing thy goodness; 
Much of my guilt arises from my religious privileges, 
    my low estimation of them, 
    my failure to use them to my advantage, 
But I am not careless of thy favour or regardless of 
    thy glory; 
Impress me deeply with a sense of thine 
    omnipresence, that thou art about my path, 
    my ways, my lying down, my end.

(Taken from ‘The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers,’ edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust)




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