Amidst life’s hustle and bustle and the constant demands on our time and emotional resources, I am usually reminded of God’s word in Psalm 46:10a, “Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God” (AMP). In context, the verse is within a psalm that proclaims the power and security of God amidst a call to end the war between Israel and the surrounding pagan nations. However, Bible scholar Albert Barnes tells us that the Hebrew word translated “be still” means “properly to cast down; to let fall; to let hang down; then, to be relaxed, slackened, especially the hands: it is also employed in the sense of not making an effort; not putting forth exertion; and then would express the idea of leaving matters with God, or of being without anxiety about the issue.” With this perspective, we can apply the verse to our day-to-day lives.
How often have we allowed things and situations to threaten or invade our mental space? Circumstances provoke us to worry, become anxious, to fear, and the peace of God which should stand guard over our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7) seems to be missing when we need it most. It is during these moments that the realities of and the promises in this psalm come alive: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. . . . The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations He hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:1-3, 6-10, KJV).
God spoke one verse in the psalm (v. 10), and when wrapped with the thoughts of the psalmist we are left with these reassuring words: “Be still – stop the frantic activity, stop your attempts to reach your goals by yourself, drop the anxiety, the fear, the worry – and recognize, understand that I am God. . . .your refuge and strength, your present help in the time of trouble.” God invites you and me to look at the evidence, His past works; things that could not have been accomplished by anyone but Him. Since He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), whatever He did before He can do again. And in case we believe we have a case that is unique to us, we are reminded that He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we would ask or think according to the power that worketh in us (Ephesians 3:20, italics added). With that in mind, we will not fear or become anxious no matter what is happening around us.
We have one task and that is to be still, recognize, and understand who God is. Once we do this, it changes the way we respond to what is going on around us. We discover that “the things of earth will go strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Author Chuck Swindoll was on point when he said, “I cannot be the man I should be without times of quietness. Stillness is an essential part of growing deeper.” What better way to start our days than by arming ourselves with and reminding ourselves of this important truth? Be still and know that He is God.