Be Still and Know God

Waiting, being still what is the difference?

Remember that our modern English words don’t necessary translate nicely with Hebrew words.  Wait and being still are two words/phrases that can have several meanings and depending on your favorite translation of the Bible a verse may read different ways.  Wait can also mean hope so it will help how you view a passage if you look it up in your concordance.  “Being still” also has several meanings so if you find a verse you like check it out and see how it adds to your understanding.

Sometimes the Hebrew word for “still” can also be translated “wait.” That is why the Amplified Bible can be helpful, it will give alternate meanings to words. Anyway here are some different verses and there “be still’s.”

To “Be Still” means to stand one’s ground, confront, to stand before as in: I Samuel 12:16 – Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! (rain at wheat harvest when Israel wanted a king)

Exodus 14:14 – Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.

To “Be Still” means to be still, silent, to rest as in: Psalm 4:4 + 5 – In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.

Habakkuk 2:20 – But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.

Jeremiah 23:18 – 22 Who has listened and heard His word? …. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed My words to My people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.

To “Be Still” means to be quiet, hush or come to silence as in: Nehemiah 8: 10 + 11 – Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength. The Levites calmed all the people, saying, ”Be still for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve.

Zechariah 2:13 – Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from His holy dwelling.

To “Be Still” means to be feeble, weakened, faint as in: Psalm 46:10 – Be still, and know that I AM God.  “Know” is yada it means knowing by observing and reflecting on things or by experiencing it.

In any of its meanings for me to be still is very hard; I try, sometimes I can do it many times I don’t.  For me anyway this is not meditation or musing over a thought this is just standing/sitting still and quite before God.  If you can really reach a time of being still you may find yourself like Oral Roberts in his book The Ultimate Voice (p. 101), “There was no moving of my physical body, only the wild beating of my heart.” 

All verses are NIV.

Waiting on God

Isaiah 40: 27 – 31. This is a great Bible verse and people will frequently turn to this passage when they are tired and not sure they can go on.  We focus on verse 30 and 31 and seldom read it in context; we read #31 and start to hope so we can get strength.  I also have done this but one day I started looking up some key words; I don’t think what I found changes the reality of the verse but it changes where we should put our emphasis.

One thing that I always suggest in studying any verse is to look at it in different translations and look it up in a concordance so you get the meaning of the words in their original usage.  For this study I used the King James, so I looked in my Strong’s Concordance that, has the Vine’s Dictionary incorporated into it.

I feel that it is God speaking here and in verse 27 scolds and comforts by asking,” Why do you think I may ignoring your cries.” In 28 He reminds us that He is not the problem and in 29 states He is always ready to help us. But verse 31 is where I got a whole new meaning in this passage. Hope, here is and can be translated “wait” and renew does not carry the English meaning I thought it would.  Renew is chalaph in Hebrew and it carries the meaning of letting something “slide by or hasten away or change.”  One concordance even suggested the idea of losing something.

I always thought I would get my strength boosted; instead it seems that I will get rid of my strength and get NEW strength – God’s strength. Then we can soar like an eagle.

Isa 40:27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Isa 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

Isa 40:29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Isa 40:30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

Isa 40:31 but those who hope (wait) in the LORD will renew (lose, hasten away, change) their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (NIV)

Another interesting numerological idea about Isaiah 40 is that if you look at Isaiah as having 66 chapters like the Bible has 66 books then chapter 40 relates to the beginning of the New Testament and it is the chapter that transitions to the hopeful part of Isaiah.

The Holy Bible, New International Version®. Pradis CD-ROM:Isa 40:27. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, © 1973, 1978, 1984.