By Warren B. Smith
(author of “Another Jesus” Calling)
Countless references to meditating, being quiet, being still, relaxing, resting, letting go, and reciting Psalm 46:10 are found throughout God Calling and Jesus Calling. They are all suggested ways of entering into the silence to experience God’s presence.
The New Age/New Spirituality likewise places great emphasis on these same ways of entering the silence in order to experience God’s presence.
The reason so much emphasis has been put on stillness and invoking Psalm 46:10 in the New Age/New Spirituality is because stillness has provided a “channel” for supernatural communication. What I came to realize years ago was that the silence allowed deceptive spirits to establish contact with those of us who were naive and undiscerning “listeners.” The conditions of stillness, openness, and receptivity were ideal for deceptive spirits to inject ungodly thoughts and understandings into our minds. And now the same thing is going on in the church which sees no need to test the spirits. Along with testing the spirits, Scripture also warns us:
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13)
There is good reason why the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling wants those he calls to “Come to Me with your defenses down” and “Relax”1:
Make your mind like a still pool of water, ready to receive whatever thoughts I drop into it.2 (emphasis added)
Sit quietly in My Presence, letting My thoughts reprogram your thinking.3 (emphasis added)
Let Me control your mind.4 (emphasis added)
The “Jesus” of God Calling says:
Remember that I can work through you better when you are at rest.5
Similarly, the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling says:
I can do My best handiwork when you sit in the stillness of My Presence, focusing your entire being on Me.6
The “Jesus” of God Calling urges readers to “cultivate silence”:
Cultivate silence. “God speaks in silences.” A silence, a soft wind. Each can be a message to convey My meaning to the heart.7 (emphasis added)
One of the primary conditions that a disciple has to cultivate, in order to sense the plan and be used by the Master, is solitude.8 (emphasis added)
There is nothing in Scripture that tells us to let our “defenses down” and sit in silence. Scripture tells us instead:
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
It is a simple fact that many of the teachings and communications we received in the New Age were channeled during meditative and contemplative quiet times when we were absorbed in the silence. In our New Age meditations, we would sometimes meditate on and contemplate certain passages of Scripture. At an Edgar Cayce conference I once attended, we began each day by meditating on Psalm 46:10—“Be still, and know that I am God.” Looking back on that experience now, I understand why that particular Psalm was used by so many New Age groups for contemplation and meditation. The spirit world was only too willing to take something the true God was saying about Himself and translate it into something the occult/New Age was saying about man. It was a very clever tactic.
We were being “still” and we were quoting Scripture, but we were continually affirming that we were God by emphasizing the “I” as we repeated the phrase I am God over and over again. We were “going within” to the “god within.” Be still and know that “I” am God. In our open and unguarded state of “being still” we were not being taught that God was God. We were being taught that “we” were God.
The “Jesus” of A Course in Miracles also used Psalm 46:10 to deceptively teach this New Age concept. We were to “be still” and to know that we were God. This false “Jesus” actually used this verse to introduce his heretical teaching that “[t]he journey to the cross should be the last ‘useless journey.’”9 Our New Age journey was around the Cross, not through the Cross. We learned from A Course in Miracles and our other New Age teachings that we didn’t need Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Rather, we could save ourselves by “being still” and “awakening” to the inner self-realization that we were God.
Eileen Caddy and Findhorn
Ironically, Psalm 46:10 was the founding credo of the pioneering New Age community of Findhorn in Scotland. Co-founder Eileen Caddy distinctly heard the words “Be still and know that I am God” in a meditation, and as a result Findhorn was founded on this Bible verse. She described her “Be still” experience:
Yes, we were like children then, and God was still somewhat like the Father, separate and above us, reaching down to help. But gradually I have come to understand what it means to find that same God within myself. . . .
The first time I heard this voice was in 1953, when Peter and I were visiting Glastonbury, a center of spiritual power in England. I was sitting in the stillness of a small private sanctuary there, when I heard a voice—a very clear voice—within me. I had never experienced anything like that before. It simply said, Be still and know that I am God. What is this? I thought. Am I going mad? I had been brought up in the Church of England and learned in Sunday school about the “still small voice within”—but when you actually hear a voice, it’s a different matter. I was really quite shocked, because it was so clear.10
“God” later told her:
What greater or more wonderful relationship could man ask for than the knowledge that he is truly one with Me, and that I am in you and you are in Me.11 (emphasis added)
Accepting the reality of this oneness came slowly. In fact, at first I felt it was audacious even to speak of such a thing. Yet I couldn’t deny my experience. I know that God is within each one of us, within everything. I feel that the Church teaches about the God outside of us, but that’s the same God as the one within. You can call him by different names if you like, but there’s only one God.12 (emphasis added)
Misuse of Psalm 46:10
Eileen Caddy’s New Age understanding of the “God within” and “oneness” started with an inner voice that told her “Be still and know that I am God.” Like Caddy, so many people who have been raised in today’s church have been similarly deceived into believing that the “be still” verse from Psalm 46:10 is God’s heavenly instruction to enter into solitude and silence so they can hear His voice. Ironically, the real meaning of this verse has nothing to do with sitting in silence, practicing the presence, or any meditative practice. Undiscerning church leaders have misappropriated Psalm 46:10 to justify contemplative prayer. They now use this verse to incubate a “conversation with God.”
Trusted Bible commentaries and discerning pastors teach that the command in Psalm 46:10—“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth”—is a call to faith and obedience, not to contemplative prayer. Matthew Henry’s respected Bible commentary presents a more accurate exposition of this verse:
Let his enemies be still, and threaten no more, but know it, to their terror, that he is God, one infinitely above them . . . he will be exalted among the heathen and not merely among his own people, he will be exalted in the earth and not merely in the church. . . . Let his own people be still; let them be calm and sedate, and tremble no more, but know, to their comfort, that the Lord is God, he is God alone, and will be exalted above the heathen. 13
Using Psalm 46:10 as a call to practice contemplative prayer is completely contrary to the intent of this passage of Scripture. However, this is what is being advocated in the New Age/New Spirituality, the emerging church, God Calling, and Jesus Calling. In fact, the “Jesus” of Jesus Calling falsely teaches that Psalm 46:10 was given as a command to “sit quietly” in his presence:
The world has changed enormously since I first gave the command to be still and know that I am God. However, this timeless truth is essential for the well-being of your soul. As dew refreshes grass and flowers during the stillness of the night, so My Presence revitalizes you as you sit quietly with Me.14
Sarah Young also states in her “Introduction” to Jesus Calling:
A life-changing verse has been “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Alternate readings for “Be still” are “Relax,” “Let go,” and “Cease striving” (NASB). This is an enticing invitation from God to lay down our cares and seek His Presence. I believe that God yearns for these quiet moments with us even more than we do. . . .
This practice of listening to God has increased my intimacy with Him more than any other spiritual discipline, so I want to share some of the messages I have received.15
This “enticing invitation” does not come from God. Her interpretation misses the real meaning of the verse and is actually more consistent with the New Age twisting of this verse. God definitely meets us in our prayer times as well as when we think on Scripture, but Psalm 46:10 is not an invitation to be still and listen for God’s voice. Rather, God is calling Israel into an attitude of quiet faith and rest in which His people will trust that no matter how perilous the times, He is working out His plan among the nations. Everybody is to literally be still, know He is God, and know that He will be exalted among the nations and in the earth.
Sarah Young followed up her erroneous teaching on Psalm 46:10 by stating that “God yearns for these quiet moments with us even more than we do.” This is reminiscent of the “I need you more than you need Me”16 statement that was uttered by the “Jesus” in God Calling. Nothing in Scripture substantiates either one of these statements. And there is nothing in Scripture about being still and sitting with pen in hand waiting to hear from God while practicing the presence and doing contemplative prayer.
Biblical meditation is different. We are to meditate on—think on—His Word, His precepts, His laws, His attributes, His statutes, His testimonies, and His works.
Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. (Psalm 119:148)
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:2)
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. (Psalm 119:99)
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. (Psalm 143:5)
The article above is from Warren B. Smith’s new book, “Another Jesus” Calling (2013, LT)
1. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2004), p. 306.
2. Ibid., p. 228.
3. Ibid., p. 200.
4. Ibid., p. 116.
5. Two Listeners; Edited by A. J. Russell, God Calling (Grand Rapids, MI: A Spire Book published by Jove Publications Inc., for Fleming H. Revell, 2005), p. 84.
6. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 189.
7. Two Listeners, God Calling, op. cit., p. 19.
8. Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul, A Treatise on White Magic, Rule Four—The Creative Work of Sound (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002; http://www.netnews.org; http://web.archive.org/web/20060225030003/http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/magic/magi1055.html).
9. A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume, Second Edition (Glen Ellen, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975, 1992, Manual for Teachers), p. 52.
10. The Findhorn Community, The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation (New York, NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1975), p. 36.
12. Ibid., pp. 36-37.
13. Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1991), p. 810.
14. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, op. cit., p. 258.
15. Ibid., p. XIII.
16. Two Listeners, God Calling, op. cit., p. 60.