"Be still and know that I am God."
Facing the specter of potential earthquakes hitting the West Coast and hurricanes hitting the East Coast here in the USA, while on the 4th watch conference calls, there was a real sense of "Silence in heaven," and the "fear of the Lord" on earth. This sense of a reverential "fear of the Lord" type of shift was also recently encountered during a conversation with a few key prayer leaders while at IHOPKC. The question came up, "How do we pray for, and in, a nation under judgment? "Participants in the conversation were struck with the seriousness of the question, quite taken by the sense that we, as the nations, could very well be under judgment. Now, how do we respond? Do we give up, and curl up in a corner knowing things are going to happen under divine providence?
In things that used to make us run and fight, now, the response may be quite different. But it is not to curl up and give up. Ephesians 6:13 exhorts, "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand." Looking closer at the scripture, to "stand," requires us to take on the whole armor of God. In fact, "To stand," to "Be still and know He is God," may be the most mature stance in warfare that we as Christians take. The armor of God, from Ephesians 4:14-18, requires us to have ALL the armament of God well in hand:
A scriptural example of "standing" and being "still" before the Lord is in Zechariah 3. There are secrets in this scripture in facing the difficulties of the times we now live in. In this scripture, Joshua, the high priest, is standing before the Angel of the Lord with Satan accusing him at his side. Verse 3 states that Joshua was in filthy rags. Can you imagine the intensity of Satan standing right beside you, trying to knock you off your feet and hurdle you to the ground with accusations of your failures or keeping thoughts of inadequacy or disqualification ruminating in your mind. Have you ever been there? Or, when the seriousness of the battle or storm rises, it requires you to step back and re-evaluate your strategy? It is likely everyone of us reading this can quite honestly identify with such times.
Zechariah 3 reveals keys for overcoming the turbulence of the times and schemes of the enemy to hold us back.
What was Joshua's position before the Lord? He stood. Though we don't know what he did, verse 3 says Joshua was wearing filthy rags. Romans 3:23 states we have all sinned. Certainly we need to repent at any wrong doing, but God does not accuse us, He wants to redeem us, Colossians 1:13-14. It is the enemy that accuses and tries to keep us in filthy rags. In such circumstances, how do we respond? How do we overcome? At the accusations of the enemy to oppose him (Zech 3:1), Joshua did not retaliate. The bible does not say that He said anything. That does not mean Joshua was inactive. To stand before a mighty angel of the Lord with Satan at his side accusing him required tremendous strength. For many of us, such a test would probably put us on our face before the Lord crying "Help!" But in this instance, Joshua stood, not saying a thing. He did not run away from God, or crumple in self-defeat. He did not demand the last word. He did not argue with Satan or say "But, But" to God. He did not agree with the accusations nor did he demand to be right. He simply stood in silence, in marked self-control and mature trust in a God he knew as sovereign, forgiving, and loving.
Such a silence is deafening to the enemy and for us a mature stance of faith before a Holy God. When our hearts and circumstances could greatly accuse us of failing, Joshua's stance before the Lord was one of trust in a forgiving, loving God. Such trust over-rode the schemes of the enemy. As he stood through the test, suddenly, in God's sovereign time, God moved. Without question, God clothed Joshua in new clothes and put a clean turban on his head. The doors flung open to the future. No longer hindered by the accusations of the enemy, the Lord released Joshua into his new role and future. Having stood the test, what was his new role? Look at what follows:
There is power in silence….power to bring heaven to earth. Silence moves us beyond our best efforts, will, and strategies, onto the thresholds of God's order, and plan. Does it require energy? Yes! Does it require self-control? Yes! In fact it requires complete surrender to the Lord! Such an active stance requires us to resist every proud thing that would exalt itself and push us to explain our position, our rights, our vision, our understanding, our knowledge above the love of Christ. It is a powerful mature stance of faith in a God who will deliver us from enemy assignments all around. It is a stance of commitment and complete yielding to a loving, all-knowing Father.
Furthermore, verse 9 the Lord says, "And I will remove the iniquity of the land in one day." Now that is an amazing promise! Joshua's complete stillness before the Lord, his trust in God, allowed God to remove the enemy schemes, and bring His plan into place. A plan that was far greater than anything Joshua could think, plan or imagine.
THE SHIFT AND THE NEW SEASON:
Furthermore, in this season of "shift," the Lord is preparing His church to become His bride. There is a call to turn back to the understanding of the Hebraic timeline. It carries foundations and revelation for the turbulent and accelerating times we are in. We just passed Rosh Hashanah, or Feast of Trumpets, when the shofar signals the beginning of the Jewish New Year. The traditional blast of the shofar on the "Feast of Trumpets" is a Tekiah blast, long low and of one tone. It is traditionally a call out of slumber, out of the past, into a new watchfulness and awakened status for the future. This year is the Hebraic year of 5777. Seven is a number for completion. In Hebrew the letter "zayin" is the number 7. It means to "cut off," and reflects a picture of an ax. Many are feeling this shift of the end of one season and entering a new, a time of removing the filthy rags of the past and being willing to receive the clean robes and turbans for the future.
Now we are in the "10 Days of Awe," a time of repentance, of getting before a Holy God to prepare ourselves for the future. In the "Ten days of Awe," up to October 12th, may we bow our heads low, to seek the Lord in reverential fear. Psalm 139 exhorts, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Why? Because God is readying himself to remove the rags of the past and clothe us anew. The trials and tests will come, but the authority He is releasing will bring heaven to earth and reap a harvest of righteousness that only He can bring. As we commit to stand, to be "still and know He is God," do you feel the Presence of the Lord? In such times, God is reaching down and placing clean robes and turbans on our heads to prepare us for the future. Our stillness before Him, removes every obstacle out of the way for His order and plan to be revealed and received.
John 15:7 promises, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." Why? The answer is in v. 8, "By this My father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." May our lives bring forth the fruit of His righteousness and manifest glory…on earth as it is in heaven.
Abiding in Him in faith for His promises,