Faith Matters, Highlight

Eden – the place of stillness.

‘Be still and know that I am God’. A scripture that we every so often use to comfort ourselves and others. Sometimes we use it as a reminder that our days require moments of silence spent in prayer and/or meditation of God’s word. Though scripture does repeatedly tell us to do this, to spend time in God’s presence praying, worshipping, listening to what He has to say, this scripture, in particular, is not exactly about that. Moreover, I believe Psalm 46:10 takes us back to the beginning. To Eden – the place of stillness.

Hey family! In our last instalment, we chatted a little bit about a return to Eden. What Eden means, and how its meaning applies to us today as believers. Today, let’s chat about a part of the WHY behind God’s creation of Eden. Shall we?

Exactly 4 weeks ago, I woke up in the morning with the intention to pray about something in particular. A few minutes in, the Holy Spirit led me to pray about something completely different. As I was praying, I saw what could only be described as a vision. In that vision, I saw a person in a riverless valley, on their knees, head bowed in prayer. They were dressed in a robe with their head covered by a headscarf of sorts.

What struck me most about what I saw, was the fact that in the background was a violent tornado that seemed to surround this individual yet he was unmoved and at peace right in the middle of a storm. There was no fear in him, and the chaos of his environment wasn’t distracting from the focus of that moment – which was prayer. As I looked around at what was going on around him, I thought “this is what it must look like to Be still and know that I am God“.

To abide. Unmoved. Not displaced, and not distracted, regardless of what tries to pull you away from a moment in God’s presence.
Allow me to admit that in that moment, as I was praying and saw that vision, I reached this conclusion because of what I’ve always believed this scripture to mean, and not necessarily as the result of a proper exegesis of it. And at no point did I think “hey, this man must be in Eden – the place of stillness”.

The Holy Spirit then led me to start digging into Psalm 46:10. The complete scripture reads ‘Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth’. For a bit of context, this scripture in the Psalm is a message from God to the people of God. In a time of trouble and war. It serves as a command. An instruction rather than a suggestion regarding their attitude, thoughts and actions with regards to what is happening around them.

So what does the scripture really mean?

The word translated ‘Be Still’ comes from the Hebrew word rapha (not to be confused with Rapha, one of the names of God) meaning to be weak, to let go, to release. Essentially, to surrender and/or to cease striving.

The word translated ‘and know‘ is from the Hebrew root word yadah which speaks to a world of intimate knowledge. A knowledge that comes from relationship and experience at the deepest level.

And so, in Psalm 46:10 God tells His people to cease striving out of their own strength and rather turn their attention to who they know God to be. To rather rely on their experience of Him as a result of the relationship they have with Him. At the time, the people of God were prone to fear, and God’s command for stillness was so that they could remember who their God is. And has always been. Here, we see a glimpse into the importance of a relationship with God.

It began to sink in that that which He has made in His image, He desires to know intimately. Beyond just acquaintance. And this has been God’s desire from the very beginning. Remember, in the last blog post I spoke about the 3 letters that comprise the root word of Eden in the Hebrew language.

Read the last blog post: A return to the garden in Eden

The first letter – Ayin – is pictured as an eye and it means: To See – To Know – To Experience – To Understand. And this is genuinely the order in which a relationship with any individual is cultivated.

First, we see them. What they look like from a distance. Sometimes, we see them through the eyes of others, and how others describe them.
Then, we get to know them. Their name, where they’re from, what they do, what they enjoy, likes & dislikes and a number of other superficial facts.
Following that, we then get to experience them. Their character and personality, whether introverted or extroverted or maybe in between. We experience their sense of humour, or lack thereof. In these moments, we may even learn about their hopes and dreams, fears and failures, laughs and lessons.

And that, coupled with so much more, eventually helps us understand them. Of course, this requires that both parties invest time in space in order for this natural progression to be continuous. For the beginning of mankind, God created time (Gen 1 vs 6) and then created a space where the opportunity for the cultivation of a relationship between God and man could exist. Furthermore, in this space (Eden) neither Adam nor Eve had to strive out of their own strength or might for anything. Instead, up until the point where sin enters the picture, they lived their lives in total surrender to God.

They lived in stillness.
In Eden – the place of stillness.

A valid question in all this would be “but doesn’t God say that before He formed us in our mothers’ wombs, He knew us”? In reference to what the Lord said to prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1 vs 5. If He knows us so well, what more does He want from us?

Well, consider the fact that a relationship is a two-way street that builds intimacy. And so, if God desires an intimate relationship with us, it should go beyond just the facts that we know about Him. We are to personally know Him. Experience Him. Understand Him (even though that might not be fully because He is so grand), for ourselves.

Because in the end, it won’t be about what we can recall that others told us about God. It will be about the kind of relationship we had with Him. From the very beginning, in Eden – the place of stillness, we see God’s desire to dwell with His people. We see the calm that exists before the chaos, before the disruption of His ideal for us. What we see, is relationship. If it began with relationship in Eden, it should end in relationship in Eden. Christ has become our Eden, reconciling us with the Father.

Today, I’ll leave you with a question.
Now that you know what you know, what does this mean for your journey of faith? Does it it change anything, or not?

Let me know in the comment section below fam.

Grace & Peace to you & yours
– Xo, Jo 🌺

Got any thoughts/questions on today's post?