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SermonCease Striving, Be Still
An all-creatures Bible Message

Cease Striving, Be Still
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
7 August 2016
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Psalm 33:6-22
Psalm 46:10
Psalm 50:7-23

Cease striving, be still is what the Lord tells us when we truly want to know Him and His heavenly will, for we cannot commune with the Lord when our minds and spirits are all cluttered with our problems and those going on in the world.
 
We can be still in our bed at night with the lights out, but we can also be striving to solve some problem we faced during the day; if we are going to really know God’s heavenly will for our lives, we need to cease striving.
 
We can do the same thing by looking at wildflowers growing in a field or along the side of the road, or by looking at wildlife doing their “thing”; if we just cease striving and be still we will not only feel God’s presence with us, but we will also enhance our enjoyment of God’s creation, and in the process we will have a greater appreciation for Him.
 
This is what we are told in Psalm 46:10; note the following two translations…

10. "Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
NASB
 
10. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
KJV

If we do this, not only will our own lives be more relaxed and attuned to the Holy Spirit, but the world will see our Godly demeanor.
 
Let’s think about these things as we look at Psalm 33:6-22, for in its words we will see examples of how the psalmist knows that the Lord is God.

6. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.

If we believe that the Lord spoke the whole of creation into existence, then we should live like it and cease our warring madness and the indifference to the suffering of others and stop the needless suffering and death of millions of humans and billions of animals every year, because to do otherwise is to be defying God.
 
And at the same time, we need to end the destruction of our beautiful creation in which we all live, and help free creation from its present corruption.

7. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deeps in storehouses.

Have we stopped polluting our streams, rivers, and oceans?
 
For they, too, are part of God’s creation that we are called upon to protect from corruption.

8. Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

A better meaning of the word ‘fear’ is ‘reverence’, for we are to love the Lord our God at the same time, and we cannot truly love and fear someone at the same time, for they work at cross purposes.

9. For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.

This is the loving power of the creation. Who cannot reverence God for such magnificence?

10. The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples.
 
11. The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

This is the power and magnificence of God, which is beyond anything we humans can do.
 
If we don’t understand this, then this is why we need to cease striving, and be still until we truly realize that the Lord is God, not only of the whole of creation, but also of our own lives.

12. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

The problem is that most people have chosen to reject the Lord our God, and instead follow the devil and his evil ways that cause so much pain, suffering, bloodshed, destruction, and death, so that they can satisfy their lust for animal flesh and the other things that corrupt God’s beautiful creation and heavenly will.

13. The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men;
 
14. From His dwelling place He looks out
On all the inhabitants of the earth,
 
15. He who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works.

God knows who each and every one of us is, and He knows the intent of our heart, mind, and soul, and whether our intent is for God or for evil.
 
Nothing is hidden from God.

16. The king is not saved by a mighty army;
A warrior is not delivered by great strength.
 
17. A horse is a false hope for victory;
Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.

If we try to fight against the heavenly will of God, we will fail.
 
We need to cease striving and know that the Lord is God, and seek His heavenly will in our lives, and stop following the corrupt ways of most of the people in the world around us.
 
This is why the Lord teaches us that broad is the way that leads to destruction, but narrow is the way that leads to life.

18. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope for His lovingkindness,

As we said above, we need to reverence the Lord and not fear Him.

19. To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
 
20. Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.

We can only know this when we cease striving, and be still, for it is then that our soul and spirit communes with the Lord.

21. For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.
 
22. Let Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us,
According as we have hoped in Thee.
NASB

Unfortunately, most of the people in the world don’t know or understand this; they just trust in the worldly ways here on earth and give into the peer pressure from likeminded people.
 
They have refused to cease striving, be still and know that the Lord is God, and that trusting in Him and His heavenly will is far better than anything this corrupt world has to offer.
 
Now, let’s take a look at Psalm 50:7-23…

7. "Hear, O My people, and I will speak;
O Israel, I will testify against you;
I am God, your God.

God is speaking against the people of Israel, because they really don’t know Him, even though they pretend to, because they have failed to cease striving and know that He is God, so God is reminding them.

8. "I do not reprove you for your sacrifices,
And your burnt offerings are continually before Me.

The Lord is not saying that He approves of their sacrifices; He is saying that their irreverence and lack of knowledge of His heavenly will is far worse.

9. "I shall take no young bull out of your house,
Nor male goats out of your folds.

But at the same time He is telling them that He doesn’t want animal sacrifices.

10. "For every beast of the forest is Mine,
The cattle on a thousand hills.
 
11. "I know every bird of the mountains,
And everything that moves in the field is Mine.

This also tells us that we don’t have a right to “own” animals, for they belong to God.
 
So, when people claim ownership of any animal, they are really going against God’s creation intent and heavenly will.
 
God created the animals to be our companions, and not our property.

12. "If I were hungry, I would not tell you;
For the world is Mine, and all it contains.
 
13. "Shall I eat the flesh of bulls,
Or drink the blood of male goats?

The simple answer is “NO”, because God doesn’t eat any animal products, for their lives are precious in His sight, and it we are living in the heavenly will of God, we won’t eat any animal products, either.
 
Then the psalmist goes on and tells us the kind of sacrifice He really wants.

14. "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And pay your vows to the Most High;
 
15. And call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me." 
 
16. But to the wicked God says,
"What right have you to tell of My statutes,
And to take My covenant in your mouth?

Again, we are being told that God doesn’t want any animal sacrifices; but He does want our obedience and thankfulness.
 
These are the things we come to know when we cease striving and be still, and think about what God wants in our lives.

17. "For you hate discipline,
And you cast My words behind you.
 
18. "When you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
And you associate with adulterers.
 
19. "You let your mouth loose in evil,
And your tongue frames deceit.
 
20. "You sit and speak against your brother;
You slander your own mother's son.

These are the ways of the people who follow the devil and his minions in this corrupt world; they strive after ungodly things.

21. "These things you have done, and I kept silence;
You thought that I was just like you;
I will reprove you, and state the case in order before your eyes.
 
22. "Now consider this, you who forget God,
Lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.

These are the people who have turned their back on God, but God still lovingly reaches out to them to return to Him.

23. "He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God."
NASB

These are the people who cease striving and be still, for they know that the Lord is God, and we should be one of them.
 
Cease striving.
 
Be still.
 
Amen.

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