Be Still and Know
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Most of us know the first part of verse 10 of Psalm 46 by heart: “Be still, and know that I am God.” And we think that means to rest, to have a little R&R in the Lord while we wait for a storm of life to pass. But, that’s not quite correct. Just like all Bible passages, Psalm 46 must be understood in context. It is a distress Psalm, but an encouraging Psalm. It was written by someone in distress, perhaps during a time of war (because he references acts that are associated with war) and therefore, we must look at it in that context.
So, because this Psalm written by someone in distress, perhaps during a time of war, the words- “Be still, and know that I am God” in the original Hebrew translate to English as: Harpu u’de’u ki-anokhi Elohim arum baggoyim, arum ba’aretz. According to the site for Hebrew4Christians it states, “The command to “be still” comes from the Hiphil stem of the verb רפה ‘rapha’ (meaning to be weak, to let go, to release), which translates as, “cause yourselves to let go” or “let yourselves become weak”.
But, what is God asking us to let go of, to surrender? “In Hebrew grammar, the emphasis of coordinate imperatives (“be still” and “know”) is on the second imperative. In other words, we surrender in order to know that God is in control as Ribbono Shel Olam – or the Master of the Universe. We “let go” in order to objectively know the saving power of God in our lives. We give up trusting in ourselves and our own designs in order to experience the glory of God’s all-suffiency. (See Exodus 14:14 as an example of this).
So, to speak more colloquially, the writer is saying “STOP FEARING! KNOW THAT I AM YOUR GOD, THAT I WILL BE EXALTED, I AM WITH YOU AND AT THE RIGHT TIME I WILL PROVIDE A SOLUTION FOR YOU!”
If you read through the Psalm you will see that it is written for the people of God who dwell in Zion, God’s holy city. Though most of the Psalm is written in third person, when we get to verse 10, God speaks directly. By the end we are reminded that God is the God of Jacob and that He is a fortress, that He is strong. We clearly see in verse 11 that the people of God have nothing to fear because He- the God of Jacob- is their fortress.
So, no matter what a believer may go through on earth, no matter what pain or injustice we may experience, your souls are safe through what Jesus did for us on the cross. But while on earth, we are to stop fearing, cease striving and putting exasperated energy into the situation, and we are to remember Who our God is and let Him fight us. He, at the right time will deliver you out of your situation.
You, me, we- have nothing to fear!
*Source for today’s post can be found by clicking here.