Jump Start # 2440
Psalms 46:10 “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Our verse today is something that is really needed these days. “Cease striving,” or, “Be still,” as others translate it is something that folks don’t seem to get much anymore. Fussing and fighting fills the air from Washington, to the ball fields, to our congregations and into our homes. And, before all of this eruption of emotion begins, there is always an unsettling within our hearts. People aren’t calm. We seem to run from crisis to crisis, problem to problem, issue to issue, and if there isn’t any trouble to be found, we go looking for it. Be still, is not about sitting still, it’s about being still on the inside. Peace, contentment, calm are qualities that are found in souls that follow the Lord.
The verse has two parts to it and they are bridged together. You need both parts. The first part is stop being bothered. The other part is about trusting God. One can’t really cease striving until he has learned to know God, trust God and turn things over to God. Let God run the universe for a while. The reason there is so much striving is because folks don’t know the Lord. This isn’t about information, but rather transformation. We may know God is there, but we still can’t let go and give things to Him.
The idea of “striving” or, not “being still,” is the same as being agitated on the inside. It’s the idea of being bothered. Martha was bothered that her sister wasn’t helping her serve the Lord. A man was bothered that his brother wasn’t sharing the inheritance with him. The disciples were bothered that the Canaanite woman was wanting Jesus to heal her possessed daughter. And, for you and I, the “bothered” list can be long and exhaustive. It gets to a point that too many things bother us and we get bothered that we are bothered. We are bothered in the summer because it’s too hot and dry. In the Spring, it’s too cool and wet. In the winter, it’s too cold. And, the fall has too many leaves to rake up. We are bothered about politics. We are bothered that our favorite teams don’t do as well as we’d like. We are bothered about the economy, the price of gas, the cost of food and then there is the subject of health insurance. Switch subjects to church, and we get bothered by long sermons, same songs being led, people sitting where we want to sit, and rambling prayers. The running kids bothers us in church. At home, it’s that there is nothing on TV, even though we have 300 channels to choose from. We are bothered by messy rooms, fighting kids, and the fact that no one will take the dog out. At work, it’s all the work. It’s co-workers who won’t work. It’s long hours. It’s the changing benefits. It’s corporate policies that make no sense.
Bothered, bothered, bothered. It’s no wonder so many folks are short with each other, road rage is a real problem, and people seem to always have a chip on their shoulders. All this striving leaves a person unhappy, sour and complaining. It’s hard to be thankful when one is bothered about so many things. Have you noticed how few people are smiling these days. Weary and heavy laden, not from recognizing the sin and the guilt that they carry, but by being bothered about life. Grumpy may have been one of the seven dwarfs, but grumpy is the state of mind for many people these days.
So, the Psalmist tells us to “cease striving,” or, “be still.” Great advice. It’s like telling a guy to lose weight or don’t be in debt. Everyone would like to get there, but how. How do we “cease” striving? How do we be still? Here’s some thoughts:
First, you decide what bothers you. You can let everything bother you or very little bother you. You see a guy parking in the handicap parking and he has no tag or license plate that allows him to do that. He hops out of his truck and walks faster than you can. There is no one else in his truck. It seems that he is lazy and doesn’t want to park in a regular spot. Now, are you going to let that bother you? Are you going to allow him to ruin your day and will this be the subject of your conversations the rest of the day? You could say something to this guy and probably into an argument. You could report this to the store manager. Or, you could leave it to Lord. Why allow your day to go downhill because of something like this.
The weather, you can allow it to bother you, or you can pray to the Lord and go on with your day. There are so many things that we allow ourselves to be bothered about that are beyond our control. The senseless fighting in Washington, the economy, the endless number of round-a-bouts, no one is going to call you about these things, no one is going to seek your approval of these things. You can let these things shape your day, or you can decide not to be bothered by them. Your choice! You decide what will bother you.
Second, knowing the Lord is a matter of understanding that God remains upon the throne. He was there through Pharaoh, through the Assyrians, through the Babylonians, through the Greeks, through the Caesars, through every world power and even through the Americans. Trust God. He knows what He is doing. God is good. God’s will cannot be thwarted by anyone.
Third, allowing yourself to be bothered paints a wrong picture of Christianity. Worried. Upset. Angry. Fearful. These are not the components of hearts that are governed by Christ. Pray more and worry less. God’s people have hid their babies by bulrushes. They have been in lion’s dens. They have been in fiery furnaces. They have been chased. They have been put in prisons. They have been beaten. They have been poorly treated. Yet, God is not only aware of these things, He has a home awaiting the righteous. This world is not our home and we do not fit in here. Things are wrong here. Yet, in the end, God will be victorious.
Finally, this is something that you can do. Cease striving, was written back in the days before Christ came to earth. It was written before salvation was available. It was written when in a time when people did not have rights, nor a vote. Cease striving is something that can be done. It’s up to you.
Bothered or blessed—how do you view life? It shows in your face and it shows in your words and attitudes.