“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10-11

Psalm 46 is a song of triumph that declares the Lord’s adequacy to provide stability for his people. The psalmist magnifies the Lord as his people’s secure defense from two exceedingly unstable environments – the unstable environment of nature (Ps. 46:1-3) and the unstable environment of the nations (Ps. 46:4-11). Some suggest that Psalm 46 may have been written when the Assyrian army invaded and surrounded the land of Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:13-19:37).

In verse 10, the psalmist presents God calling his people to rest their confidence in him: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” This two part command to not panic and to recognize God’s sovereignty were most likely directed to both God’s people for comfort and all other nations for warning. What does it look like for us to follow these commands today?

“Be Still”

For God’s people during the time when the Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem, “Be still” would have meant to not worry, to not panic and to not try to frantically assemble the army in preparation of an attack. For the Assyrian army, “Be still” would have meant to stop the harassment and the invasion of Jerusalem.

For us today, it is hard to be still with all the distractions around us. We are often on the move, taking care of responsibilities at work, school, church, home or extracurricular activities. We are often in a hurry. When we do stop, we flip on the television, radio, music or computer. Or we pick up our phones to check texts, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat or email. We are often nervous, anxious or worried about things in the past, present or future. This causes our mind to scurry about. In order to be still we have to stop running, get alone and get away from or turn off our electronic devices.

What do we do once we are still?

“Know that I am God”

God wanted both Jerusalem and the Assyrians to know that he is God, and the same goes for us today. Often we need to be reminded of this. In Psalm 46:8-9, the psalmist invites readers to view the Lord’s deliverances of his people with their mind’s eye. The Lord had protected Israel many times and even destroyed Israel’s enemies. We can also be reminded that the Lord is God by digging into the Scriptures and looking at his past works in our stillness. Remember the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross to save those who believe and trust in him. Remember that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead (2 Tim. 2:8). Meditate on the work that the Holy Spirit has done in your life and how far the Lord has brought you since making you his own (Phil. 2:13, Gal. 4:4-7).

God is our refuge no matter what the circumstance may be. He is not merely a temporary retreat; he is our eternal refuge (Ps. 46:1). God’s final victory is inevitable and at that time, we will all stand quietly in awe before him. How appropriate then, for us to be still now, meditating on and reverently honoring who he is. Plan to take time each day to be still and extol the Lord.