"Be Still and Know..."
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. My eyes floated across this verse in the middle of Psalm 46 the other day, and I thought of all the times I have seen it displayed. We’ve seen this verse stenciled on throw pillows, embroidered across blankets, and printed on cards of encouragement or sympathy. There’s definitely a comfort in knowing He is God. But who is God talking to in verse 10?
Yes, there is great comfort in knowing that God is God. Yes, there are healing properties in being still and meditating on God. But let’s look at this verse in the context in which it is written and dive into all this verse tells us about God, ourselves, and our enemies.
Psalm 46 is a declaration of who God is; The One True and Only God. In a time when God called out a people group to display His Holiness, there were many gods being worshipped. God chose a people to display His total Authority, Sovereignty, and Worthiness of not just worship but of all worship. He saw what the enemy was doing to His creation, with its lies and distractions and appeasing of the flesh. He saw satan using polytheism to pull mankind away from Him. So He chose a people to show the world who He is. And at the beginning of this Psalm, the people declare the truth about God. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (vs.1) Their response to this truth? “Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the seas…” (vs.2-3a). The Israelites are declaring that their God is The God, and nothing can sway them from trusting and believing in Him. They are elevating God above all other gods. They are putting their trust in Him regardless of what they see, hear, and experience from their enemies. And they are unmistakably under attack by their enemies. Verse 6 tells us, “the nations rage,” yet God is their fortress. They are proclaiming that God is God and that He dwells with them. Their only hope is in the truth of who God is. By the time we get to this famous verse, they have stood their ground, been unwavering in His holiness and sovereignty, and are banking on this absolute truth. This declaration is inspiring and encouraging to them. It’s uplifting and reminds them of the hope they have. True.
But verse 10 is actually an announcement to the enemy. In verse 6, God declares who He is to the enemies of His people. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” I always love when there is an exclamation point in the scriptures. He is God. Period. There is none who will defeat Him. His warning to be still seems to me more for the enemies rising up against His people. This is a warning that He will act on behalf of His people against their enemies. And that He will be exalted above everyone, including their best defenders, their strongest, most tactical, wisest leaders. They don’t stand a chance!
Why does it matter to put this verse back in the proper context? Because we miss the point if we don’t. God of the universe is speaking to His enemies, promising they will be destroyed and rendered powerless. He still does this today for the enemies who rise up against us. Throughout the scriptures, there are countless verses that comfort us and remind us that the battle is the Lord’s, and we can come and rest in His presence, under His wings, and find comfort, peace, rest, and shelter. This verse, in this Psalm, in this context, is a declaration against God’s enemies that they will not win! They will bow their knees to the One Authority of all.
Don’t get me wrong. There is great comfort in knowing God will destroy and be victorious over all our enemies. But look at the power in seeing Him tell His enemies that they will not win!
So, yes! Let’s go to His Word when we need to know He is with us and meditate on all His promises to never leave us, nor forsake us, to come to our rescue and be our Comfort. But the next time you read Psalm 46:10, let’s rejoice in serving a God who declares to our enemies that their defeat is in Him. Let’s shout out a victory cry with God as we remind the enemy they won’t win over us because of our God. Declare the truth over your enemies just as God is doing here, in this Psalm.
Oh, praise the One and Only God of all living things! He wins! And because He wins, we do too.