Rapha & Yada - "Be Still & Know": Reimagined


One of the most well-used verses in the Bible comes to us from Psalm 46:10, which reads like this: 
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;    I will be exalted among the nations,    I will be exalted in the earth.”
That one line---"Be still, and know that I am God"---finds its way into greeting cards, wall art, church signs and the like.  And it sounds so nice, doesn't it?  But what does it actually mean?

What does it mean to be still and know that God is God?  Well, to dig deeper into that phrase to see what it's really saying, I'm going to have to bust out some Hebrew--so, don't hold it against me.

The Hebrew word that's used here for the phrase "be still" is the word rapha. And get this... It means "to hang limp, sink down, be feeble."  That's a heckuva lot different than what we usually take the phrase "be still" to mean, right?

I don't know about you, but whenever I have heard that verse in the past, I thought it meant to sit perfectly still, to be quiet, to try to meditate---all of which are really good things that we should do from time to time.

But in this context, rapha means to let yourself sink, to let go of your rigidity, to allow yourself to be weak, to throw off all of the pretenses of strength and become "feeble."  It's more than just being quiet and still.  It's complete surrender.

And what happens when we do this?  We experience knowledge of God.  And by "knowledge" I mean the Hebrew word yada, which is the word used here, and which means "to have intimate knowledge." 

So let's retranslate that amazing phrase from Psalm 46:10: 
"Allow yourself to become completely weak and feeble, letting go of your need to control and your messed up ideas about how strong you are, and what you will discover is an intimate, up close understanding of God that you would have never experienced otherwise."
Let this be your prayer today and every day.  You don't have to stop and be quiet to experience God more fully, although there are lots of times in our lives when we probably should.  

Instead, we need to simply surrender our need for control, stop trying to be stronger than we are, admit our frailty and our weariness over all of our striving... and simply sink into God's presence. 

May this be true for you, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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