When we look at the chaos and craziness enveloping the world, it is easy to react. But in the midst of this Psalm 46 urges us to do the exact opposite of what we feel. The Psalmist writes:
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 NASV)
The writer starts out in verse one:
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Though we are not told what “trouble” inspired this Psalm, the writer speaks of a world in utter collapse — natural calamities beyond human control were happening all around.
Mountains were quaking (earthquakes v 3). Oceans surging (tsunamis v 3)
The nations were in an uproar and some were tottering on the verge of being obliterated (v 6). Everyone was angry and fighting.
This Psalm could have been written in 2016.
And in the midst of this God tells His people to do the exact opposite of what their body is screaming out for them to do. Instead of responding with fear and anger, God says “Be still”
The Hebrew word for “be still” is “rapha.” It means literally to be weak, to let go. It basically says stop your active resistance — quit fighting. We are told to let go and surrender, not to your circumstance, but our emotional reaction to it.
Then God adds, “Be still and know that I am God.”
It is an odd grammatical structure. The Hebrew basically implies that in order to know God, you must be still. In order to know God, you have to quit fighting the circumstances under your own strength.
It is time to surrender and let God be God in your life and troubles. We have to put our faith in God instead of our own abilities.
The same idea shows up in the New Testament. Jesus and the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee when a sudden storm came up (Mark 4:35-41). The terrified disciples finally woke up Jesus who was sleeping in the boat.
Jesus stood up and said to the storm “Hush, be still.”
Perhaps the best way of describing this command is that Jesus told the storm to “shut up.”
After calming the storm, Jesus then gets to the root of the problem and asked His disciples, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
When the Psalmist tells us to “be still” is he saying the same thing, that we need to quit reacting and start believing?
Sometimes we need to stand up and fight, sometimes we need to ‘be still,” and it is during these times of stillness that we will know God.
- Surrender: Hebrew4Christians