Be still and know that I am God
Knowing the word underlying “be still” in this verse of Scripture will help us to uncover all its richness. It is more than just “be quiet so that you can hear God”. The word is הרפו harpû, from the verb רפה rāphāh, which means “to relax, to sink down”, in other words, to relax as in sinking down into a warm, comfortable bed.
The word implies that we let go of all tensions, even those tensions of fear and shame, that prevent us from allowing ourselves to be fully known. For it is as we are known by God, that we know him. Knowing speaks of the most intimate union possible between two persons; the same word is used in the Bible for the marital relationship. To know God is to uncover oneself before him and stand before him naked, without any covering, not even a fig leaf to cover our shame; for we have no need to be ashamed before God.
Knowing, then, is about mutual exposure; God exposes himself to us by seeing us, revealing himself to us as the God who sees us; and we expose ourselves to God by being seen. Knowing that we are seen is a great comfort, because if we are fully seen, we have nothing to hide, and nothing to fear, and can relax properly. This Scripture commands us to relax, to relax completely, so that we can stand before God without any self-covering of shame. In other words, we stand open before God, all defences lowered, seen completely, known completely.
It is as we realise – maybe gradually, maybe suddenly – that not only does God see us for the entirety of who we are, but that he loves us, that we come to the knowledge that such a One is, and can only be, the God who made us.
- In Christ’s Name
- Brother Richard
- Word First Ministries
- PO Box 51213
- 7745 Cape Town