Watching the world athletic championships this week has reminded me of the new testament scriptures about running a race:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Cor 9:24
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? Galations 5:7
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, Hebrews 12:1
We may not be Mo Farah or Usain Bolt but we can race our own personal spiritual race, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to win a prize that lasts forever.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9
Let us take time out this week to thank God for how he has been faithful to us in the past, how he is being faithful to us now and that we can trust him to be faithful in our future.
August, a month traditionally associated with holidays or a break of some sort. Why do we take a break? To rejuvenate, rest, spend quality time with friends and family, explore new places, try out new things, etc. God instituted rest, enshrined in the Sabbath. After creating the world and its inhabitants, the book of Genesis says God rested on the 7th day – not that God needs a rest but he set a pattern that our finite, earthly bodies and minds need to follow. We need to be refreshed. ‘Sabbath’ means a rest from labour and God tells us to keep this (see Exodus 20:11). Jesus also tells his disciples that the Sabbath was made for us to rest. Most of us lead busy lives and it’s difficult for most of us to have a whole day’s rest. But our bodies need it. What do you do to rest your body and soul?
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). After “and know” we find “that I am God”.
That sounds strange: God wants us to know that He, God, is God. Well, who else could He be?
The point is to get us thinking about what it means to be God. The Hebrew word, ELOHEEM, is plural! Straight away we are reminded that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit: three persons in one. Straight away, we are reminded just how amazing God is.
The meaning also reminds us about God’s greatness, how mighty He is, higher than all, supreme in all of creation.
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). After “Be still” we find “and know”.
There are different ways of knowing. If someone says “Did you know it’s hot in Scotland?” you might say “I know, I saw it on the TV.” You know about it in your head.
You might say “I know, I was in Scotland yesterday.” This is a different kind of knowing: it was your own real-life experience. You felt the heat for yourself.
God’s desire is that we don’t just know in our heads that He is God, but to experience it in our lives, in all the storms and panic and problems, to know.
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Look at the start of this phrase: “Be still.”
This is a command. God does not want us to vaguely consider being still, but tells us we must!
The word for “still” means to stop moving, rest, relax, be quiet, let go. In all the storms and panic and problems of our lives, God tells us to stop, relax, let go.
When we were thinking about the Lordship of Christ, we thought about relaxing into the Lordship of Christ. Stop trying to work it all out, but stop, relax, be quiet, be still.
Our theme is from Psalm 46: “Be still, and know that I am God.” The whole Psalm speaks of God’s constant presence with us and help for us, even in the worst crisis.
Our text is part of verse 10: “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Whatever is planned or brought about by the violence or failure of humans, whatever natural disaster occurs, God will be exalted, shown to be the mighty one above all.
No matter how big the disaster in your life, God is bigger!