Text: 1 Kings 19:1-8 November 4, 2012
1) This was what a doctor said: Some years back I had a surgery on my right eye to remove some scar tissues. During the procedure, the doctor told me a few times to ¡°stay still¡± so he could do his job without hurting my eye. After the procedure, he told me to have ¡°complete rest¡± from being active so the healing could begin and hope for the best result. Apparently I did stay still during the procedure, but did not ¡°completely rest¡± after the procedure and the healing is not as desirable as it could be. I did not fully cooperate with the doctor and I still suffer from my own disobedience.
2) This was what God said: ¡°Be still, and know that I am God.¡± (Psalm 46:10) These words were quoted countless times by pastors, Bible teachers and Christians throughout history to emphasize the importance of ¡°stay still or calm,¡± to allow God to do His work. Often times, we are so eager to work for God, or on behalf of God to get things done quick as we want it, and we mess up lot more than it needs to be. Often times we are overly anxious to do things ¡°for¡± God instead of allow God to do His work His way on His schedule. Although we agree that God can do things better than we can, we want to ¡°push¡± or ¡°haste¡± His work on our schedule. This is so true in the story of Elijah and our everyday endeavor for God.
THE IMPORTANCE OF REMAIN STILL:
1) Because they need to work: In both cases, my doctor and the God of Elijah, need us to stay still so we won¡¯t interfere the good work they are doing in us and for us. They can¡¯t work nor won¡¯t do good job if we keep disturbing them with our own action. If we want our doctor or God to do things well for us, we need to stay still and let them do their job. Our little movements can only slow down or jeopardize their good work.
2) Because they need our trust: If you can¡¯t or don¡¯t trust a certain doctor, find one you can trust to deal with your problems. If you trust him, show your trust by listening to his advice and stop from interfering him with your funny suggestions or actions. You need to trust him so he can do good for you. Same is with God. If you don¡¯t trust God, then find someone you can trust. If you trust God, then don¡¯t mess with God by trying to do some of the things you think you can help God do his work. God doesn¡¯t need our help. He knows us lot more and better than we know our self and our problems. We need to trust Him.
3) Because we need his help: Except the annual checkup, few will see a doctor when they don¡¯t have any health problems. We go to see our doctor because we know we have some health issues we need their help. We treat God the same way: we are really urgent and sincere in seeking God when we have problems, all kinds of problems: health, job, finance, family, emotional and all others. God is specialized in solving problems. Don¡¯t go anywhere else when you have problems. Come to him, leave your problems with him and stay calm to see him work on them. Jesus invites us to come to him when we have problems we can¡¯t solve: ¡°Come to me, all you who are labor and heavily burdened.¡± (Matt )
4) Because God knows better: Life is more difficult than any of us can handle, even with those in high position and power. There are problems none of us is able to tackle, much less to solve. We need someone more capable to help us out, and the most capable one is God. There is nothing too hard for God. So, let¡¯s bring our problems, big and small, to God, and wait patiently and quietly for him to help us out. Don¡¯t interfere God¡¯s ways in solving our problems. You may not agree his way, or time or immediate outcome, but be calm and wait for him to bring out the best for you. God doesn¡¯t want our interference. If you want to do it, then you do it. If you want God to do it, then stop trying to ¡°help¡± God do his work. He doesn¡¯t need your help.
BUT IT IS SO HARD TO STAY STILL:
1) We were born in that nature: We were born with a nature to take things into our own hands. We want to do things ourselves in our own way. This is evident in our children when they learn to eat, brush their teeth, take their bath and wash their face and hands. Parents wonder why won¡¯t kids let parents do it for them since we know lot more, can do it better and faster. But it is in the nature of human¡ªwe don¡¯t want to and can¡¯t stay still.
2) We want to feel useful: To all normal people, we all love to do something on things we involve to achieve, to build and make. This makes us feeling useful and it is an important part of being human. Part of the reason Christianity is hard to penetrate those who want to contribute to their own salvation is salvation is the one thing no human efforts may contribute to achieve¡ªtotally by the grace of God. Most religions provide a path for believers to contribute their efforts to their own salvation by encouraging them to do something to make it happen. We want to feel useful in our ultimate destiny.
3) We equate still as do nothing: Stay still is not the same as doing nothing. By controlling our urge to mess up God¡¯s work, we are doing a big favor for God to allow Him do his job. Just as a patient tries his best to stay still, he is helping his doctors to do their job the best they know how without the interference of the patient. Sometimes, being inactive is better then being active which may jeopardize God¡¯s plan and his work. But when it is about our own life, it is hard not to be active on our behalf.
4) We still trust self the most: In the case of a surgery, we realize it is the doctor¡¯s job, and few will dare to mess up his job. But when it is about God and things in our life, sometimes, if not most of times, we still believe our judgment and ability can help God do his job for better result. It is not that we don¡¯t trust God but it is we also trust ourselves and want to take part in God¡¯s work in us and for us. The saying ¡°God helps those who help themselves¡± illustrates the tendency of self-reliance. How can anyone stay still when he wants to rely on his ability plus God?
HOW DO I KNOW I NEED TO STAY STILL? (1 Kings 19:1-12)
1) When you are in great danger: ¡°Now Ahab told Jezebel every thing Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So, Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say: May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not take your life like that of one of them.¡± (19:1-2) If you are familiar with the evil nature of Jezebel and her cruelty against God and his prophets, you know her threat of taking the life of Elijah was not a joke: Elijah faced a life and death situation. How often we face a death threat situation? It is in the time of great danger, we need to stay calm and seek God¡¯s protection.
When we are completely exhausted: ¡°Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he
3) Then we begin to see the Lord at work: ¡°All at once an angel touched him and said: Get up and eat. He looked around and there by his head was a cake of bread and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came the second time and touched him and said: get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.¡± (19:5-7) When we stay still, that is the time God can begin to work. The first of his plan is to rejuvenate our exhausted condition. He will sent his messengers to provide our basic needs, not fancy, but exactly what we need to replenish our strength. God will not abandon us just because we are weak and exhausted. ¡°He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.¡± (Isaiah 40:29)
4) And we hear the voice of the Lord: ¡°The Lord said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the presence of the Lord for the Lord is about to pass by. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountain apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire came a still (gentle, small) voice (whisper).¡± (-12) How can we hear the still, small voice of the Lord if we are active like in the wind, the earth-quake or the inferno? Remember that the Lord is not in those rumbling phenomena. God waits to speak to us when we can keep our cool, calm and stay still because it is in that moment our spirit is sensitive to hear the Lord.
God is not done with you yet: ¡°And the Lord said to him: Go back the way you
came, and go to the
1) Whatever your situation may be: Often times we feel that our situation needs immediate response and God¡¯s intervention or it could get worse beyond repair. OK, then you need to stop messing up with God and allow Him to do his work.
2) Don¡¯t quit God before He quits you: God will never quit anyone for any reason. So, stay with Him, be calm and listen to His voice. He is not done with you, yet. Keep going.