Be Still and Know (Psalm 46:10)

Psalm 46:10

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
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Psalm 46 is a beautiful piece of poetry. In it, we see attacks leveled against the people of God which the Lord, in his timing and in his power, repels. Though there appears to be turmoil all around the fortresses of the people of God, the Lord is still clearly sovereign, clearly in control.

Verse 10 of this psalm is an often-cited verse of scripture. Sadly, often the teachers who draw our attention to this verse do so in a call for some sort of mystical and quietistic meditation. That certainly would not appear to be the point when the psalm is taken in context. The world is going crazy. People are gunning for God’s people on every side. There is apparent cause for alarm and fear. Yet the Lord calls to his people and tells them to be still. He calls us to stop striving, stop fearing, stop worrying. He calls us to remember that he is God, that he is sovereign, and that he will insure that he is glorified.

Recently, have you taken part in one of those Christian conversations in which you and another believer bemoan the fact that the world, the nation, or your local church are sliding down a slippery slope? Have you railed against the sad state of politics in the nation? Have you decried the ugliness of the entertainment world? If so, take time out, be still, and know that God is God. He is aware of the ugliness that surrounds us. He is aware of the moral filth that is flying through our airwaves. He is aware of the attacks of scholars who look down their noses at our faith. He is aware of the waters breaking against us on all sides. The Lord wants us to remember that he is still God, he is still in charge, and he will still be glorified.

Be careful, by the way, not to hear this as a call to stop working to bring about the glory of God in this world. Some take this verse as an excuse to “cease striving” in such a way that they no longer work to honor God. That is in no way what the Lord is commanding. We are to work for God’s glory and the advancement of his kingdom. What we are not to do is to fret, to worry, to moan and gripe about how bad things are. We serve a God who is in control. Thus, as we work for his glory, we can also be still in our hearts, knowing that he is our God and he will be glorified.

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