16
Oct
08

Be still

Check out these sentences from our recent New Testament reading, and see if you can identify a certain pattern:

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

Mark 1:35

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.32  And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.

Mark 6:30-32

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

Mark 6:45-46

But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.       

Luke 5:16

Do you recognize the central theme?  Hopefully it is speaking to you in surround sound.

Just in case you do not see the example, let me lay it out for you, phrase by phrase:

And rising very early in the morning…
…while it was still dark
…he departed and went out to a desolate place
…and there he prayed

“Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”

And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.    
…he went up on the mountain to pray.           
But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Now do you get it?

Jesus sets an incredible example for us to follow.  The Son of Man, the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world, the Son of God, seeks quiet moments with His Father.  We must follow His example.  We must follow His lead.

We need more… 
…silence
…stillness
…peace
…rest
…contentment
…solitude
…prayer
…contemplation
…meditation before God 

Most of us do not know what it is like to stop, much less slow down.  Very few people have a good concept of solitude.  Moreover, most Christ followers do not know how to have silent, solemn, quiet time before the Lord God Almighty.

Admit it, we are consumed with consumption, driven by deadlines, and motivated by more.  Peace, quiet, and stillness do not control us.  Instead clocks, dates, calendars and details drive us.

Could it be that the busyness is nothing more than a “flaming dart” the evil one throws at us?  I wonder what kind of lives we would live if we would but begin and end each day in the solemn presence of the Holy One.

What would happen to our busyness, our reckless routines, if we would only find “a desolate place” before God? Think of the extra time.  Consider the increased productivity.  Dwell on the additional peace.  Predict the spiritual growth.

It was Martin Luther who said, “If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day.  I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.”
Most of us operate in the exact opposite manner.  Instead, we say, “I have so much business I cannot stop for more than three minutes in prayer.”

Luther also said, “He that has prayed well has studied well.”

The Bible is replete with the call to a solace place. 

Psalm 46:10 states

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”

We are given two imperatives – be still and know.  It is in being still before God we learn who God is.

Be still.

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2 Responses to “Be still”


  1. 1 Lee
    October 16, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    I noticed the same pattern. In addition, I noticed in Mark 1:12-13, right after the Holy Spirit descended on him after being baptized by John,

    “. . . the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.”

    And Luke 4:1-2

    “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days.”

    Before he began his earthly ministry, after being commissioned by baptism with water and the Spirit (the example all believers would follow after the Spirit descended in Acts 2), he entered into a time of solitude, fasting, and spiritual warfare against Satan.
    An often quoted truth by the Ravi Zacharias team is “. . .we can’t come to terms with the evil in the world until we have faced the evil inside.” Jesus later emphasizes this need for this internal victory over the enemy in the sermon on the mount, teaching sin begins in the mind and is only manifested by our actions.

    In addition to the imperative to develop the discipline of time alone with God daily for relational maintenance, there is also the need to recognize it is a time for warfare, sometimes requiring periods of retreat for fasting, prayer, and full out combat with the enemy on behalf of ourselves and others. Like Jesus, we must fight and win the battle in the heavenly realm before we can be of any earthly good.

  2. 2 Patti Hoxsie
    October 17, 2008 at 6:20 am

    Busy stands for Being Under Satan’s Yoke.


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