Cease and Desist
A lot of people, including me, love that calming, reassuring and oh-so-easy-to-memorize verse from Psalm 46:10.
Some of you are possibly perched on the edge of your Bible bingo chairs with your hands waving because you are like…
I KNOW THIS ONE!!!
It’s popular on signage and pillows and t-shirts these days….so say it with me…
Be still, and know, that I am God
for bonus points you might add the rest of it….
the part about how He will be exalted above the nations.
No wonder we cling to that verse lately, as the nations are increasingly and alarmingly at odds and the opposing sides within our nation and other nations are many faceted and in constant turmoil.
So that “be still” thing sounds very peaceful and quiet.
It sounds like an invitation to just go sit out in a yard chair in the shade and let your spinning thoughts come to a rest.
But this past week I heard the wording differently…and it went like this…
Cease and desist….and KNOW that I am your God…
So if you know me, you know I have been chewing on those words.
Cease and desist….kind of ramps up the concept of just being still.
Being still is like – stop wiggling…stop fidgeting….
cease and desist raises the bar to a different level.
Of course I googled it…and I found out that that is actually a phrase; not two words combined.
It’s a legal term, and it refers to an enforceable order from a court or government agency that directs someone to stop engaging in a certain activity and also prohibits them from ever starting up that activity again.
Quite different from assuming a state of tranquility, isn’t it?
It would seem that Psalm 46:10 is not gently suggesting that we go take a time out and relax, but rather we are to put forth an effort to completely stop all…
Ah…all striving….all trying to run the show – our show, other people’s show, the world’s show…we are to stop engaging in any activity that frets and worries and wringing our hands over things which we really have absolutely NO CONTROL over…never have and never will…to stop making ourselves or others out to be God…
and instead, obediently recognize this as a tandem command.
Because we are being ordered to CEASE and DESIST our striving and then to….
acknowledge, understand, get through our head and into our heart….
That HE is GOD…
and then, believe and yes, rest in, that He
WILL BE EXALTED…
lifted up over all this other stuff….
over bi-partisan issues and stalemates and your kid’s fighting over the last popsicle and Brexit and all of it.
That doesn’t mean we don’t do our part when our part presents itself…but we have been ordered by a Higher Authority to immediately stop our striving…our vigorous efforts to maintain control over something that is not ours to rule.
If we put our efforts into KNOWING God…who He is, what He is about, why He is worthy of our praise, His character, His story unfolding through our stories…
then we can begin to take up the work He has called us to do.
Or as Jesus put it…we can partner with Him instead of wearing ourselves out trying to plow the field in our own strength.
Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened (worn out from your striving), and I will give you rest. Take My yoke (be joined with me, shoulder to shoulder) and learn from me as we walk together…and you will find that I am gentle and humble in heart and I will give you rest for your souls….Matthew 11:28
I pray we will all begin to recognize that catchy phrase: Be still, is not a suggestion. It is a court order to Cease and desist….so that we can truly and finally….Rest <3