I took part in a discussion this week on the following verse:
Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10)
During the discussion, insight to the historical setting was given and different uses of the verse were shared. But mostly, the discussion centered around why and how this passage is meaningful in our lives.
For me, the New Century Version seems to capture the essence of the passage very well.
God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I will be praised in all the nations; I will be praised throughout the earth.”
From the context of the chapter and the historical images, it seems that God is speaking to the fact that the world around us often seems to be out of control. Storms, wars, floods, earthquakes, and general chaos are commonplace. It is very easy to get caught up in it all, but God encourages us instead to be still, to find peace amidst the chaos.
The three pauses (Selah) suggested by the musical director calls us to stop after reading or singing and ponder the things that are happening around us. Just pause. Be still for a moment. Observe what has happened. Reflect on what is going on around you. Ask yourself, “How am I handling all this?” Then, as the key verse suggests, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Followed by very 11, “The Lord God almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
As our discussion evolved, these practical certainties surfaced.
There will always be times when the world around us seems out of control. Every week, there is the potential for a new natural or man-made disaster. Disease claims another life. Apparent craziness overwhelms us.
No matter what is going on around you, God is still God and He is in control. So when you start to feel overwhelmed with the chaos around you or within yourself, this might be a good time to sing or hum Martin Luther’s “This is My Father’s World.”
But it isn’t always this easy at times, is it? We are a busy people. Staying busy, even just looking busy, has become a modern-day addiction. However, as difficult as it can be to slow down, there are times when we just need to be still, to cease all activity and quiet our minds. We need to take the time to we remind ourselves that God is God, and we do not need to stand-in for Him. Our rush to ‘get it done so we can rush toward the next thing’ lifestyle isn’t healthy or helping us find the peace that we seek.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (vs. 1) When trouble hits, pause and remember, “The Lord Almighty is with us.” (vs. 7) “Be still and know that God is God.
When I reflect on almost twenty years of writing these notes, I have probably written about this verse more than any other Biblical text. One would think that I would have gotten the message by now. I have for the most part. And then I get busy, things get chaotic, and the world around me and my own inner world seem to rage out of control.
But little by little, I am learning to listen when I receive the prompting to stop, get still, and remember that God is God.
The chaos will always be there if that is what we focus on. Perhaps this week is the perfect time to start a ritual to help you find your peace. It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate or complicated. Simply find a quiet place and say these words to yourself….
Be still and know that I am God.
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