Friday, December 2, 2011

Control Freak Part 2: Letting Go

For a control freak like myself, the thought of letting go of anything is a bit unnerving. However, God has instructed His children to do just that. In Psalm 46:10a it says, "Be still and know that I am God". Or, as the New American Standard Bible puts it, "Cease, and know that I am God".

The Hebrew word for cease is raphah. It means sink, relax. The Hebrew word for know is yada, which means acknowledge, acquainted with, advise, answer, appoint, assuredly, be aware (bold mine).

After reading a few commentaries on this passage, I decided that there was no way I could better explain it, so here is what the Barnes' Notes on the Bible has to say (again I will bold the words that stand out to me, which is pretty much the entire commentary):

Be still - The word used here - from רפה râphâh - means properly to cast down; to let fall; to let hang down; then, to be relaxed, slackened, especially the hands: It is also employed in the sense of not making an effort; not putting forth exertion; and then would express the idea of leaving matters with God, or of being without anxiety about the issue. Compare Exodus 14:13, "Stand still, and see the salvation of God." In this place the word seems to be used as meaning that there was to be no anxiety; that there was to be a calm, confiding, trustful state of mind in view of the displays of the divine presence and power. The mind was to be calm, in view of the fact that God had interposed, and had shown that he was able to defend his people when surrounded by dangers. If this the divine interposition when Jerusalem was threatened by the armies of the Assyrians under Sennacherib, the force and beauty of the expression will be most clearly seen.

And know that I am God - See, in what I have done, the evidence that I am God. See a work accomplished which none "but" God could effect. Compare Isaiah 37:36.

Now, I do not speak for all control freaks (I don't think they would appreciate that anyway), but personally I do occasionally appreciate it when someone else wants to take over and handle things. It is typically after I have tried everything I know to do and am failing miserably, so this verse is especially applicable to me. Although, I am learning to cease on a more consistent basis and let God be in control in the first place. There's the thing - I let God be in control. You see, He is not going to force me to do anything. Even though He knows that HE KNOWS better and can work things out for me far above what I ever imagined, He is not going to force His will on me, or anyone, for that matter. The God of the universe wants me to WANT HIM, and He, being the eternal God that He is, waits patiently for me to figure that out.

Here is Psalm 46 in its entirety (click on the link and listen):


God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.


Ruth said...

Thank you for this Christy. The part about relaxing and trusting that God is there to handle things just soothes my soul.

I've heard various interpretations of this passage and they have never sat right with me....especially the ones that say it means just be quiet or do nothing etc. It's the trusting that relaxes us, not the doing nothing. I just get anxious if I do nothing!

I too have those controlling tendencies especially if I don't feel that someone else is in charge so I better do something. To be honest, if it weren't for the control freaks, nothing would get done but there is a balancing point that we all need to find. I think this passage shows us the key.

Christy said...

Good to hear from you again, Ruth. Thank you. :)

Dean Lusk said...

Ooh. This series hits me really hard. And gosh, I'm not sure why. :-)

I like this part the best, probably because it's the most difficult for me and therefore I know it's probably the most necessary. The things that seem the most backward to a follower of Christ are usually the things that are part of the new nature, in my opinion. They're the things we most need to change in order to conform to the image of Jesus Christ.

But I thought only pastors could study the Bible enough to know what the original words meant! :-)

Thank you for what you've said in these three posts, particularly. God used you to thump me in the head just now (like kids used to do on the school bus when they wanted to get your attention).