Psalm 46 contains an often repeated yet misinterpreted verse from the Bible:
Be still, and know that I am God.
Taken at its word “be still” could mean “be quiet” or “wait.” But, it’s important that we not ignore the context in which the phrase is used. One needs to know exactly what the psalm is referencing before randomly removing a sentence from an entire chapter and fathoming its meaning. In it, the psalmist tells a short story beginning with referencing “trouble”.
Taken from chapter 46 in Psalms, “Be still” isn’t meant to imply passively waiting on the Lord. By studying the Hebrew word and pulling together the entire chapter we see the statement implies more of a call to action. The action to “stop”. As we think about the political climate of America right now this particular verse, in fact the entire chapter, can poetically be applied to the current activity in Washington, D.C.
Psalm 46 1God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2Therefore we will not fear, 3though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
In verse 10 the word still translates from the Hebrew word rapa which means “to slacken, let down, or cease.” Whatever “trouble” the writer is referencing in verse 1, God rebukes him by telling him to actively “stop it”. Stop the fighting, settle down, I AM is the one in control not you.
Though “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he (God) lifts his voice, the earth melts.” Yes, God is in control and too often we forget/ignore that fact.
Today’s Bible, just as it perpetually does, offers guidance to America just as the Hebrew Bible offered guidance to Israel in Jesus’ time. Jesus often referenced what we now call the Old Testament to illustrate certain points. We can learn from the history of Israel today. Specifically, America can learn from Israel’s mistakes of trusting in themselves to win battles instead of consulting God for guidance. A good example of this is when Saul fought the Philistines in his final battle:
1 Chronicles 10:13-14 Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
Once we acknowledge God’s control and we actively “stop” our insistence–our pride filled mentality of doing things our way–any battle can be won. We win because God is with us. Then after we stop the fighting we are to submit to His instruction in the next part of verse 10–”know that I am God.”
Christians already know God is in control. He tells us over and over throughout the Bible to trust and have faith in Him. But we often forget, just as America’s governmental leaders have forgotten, America was founded on a covenant with God. To help us remember and get back to this original covenant with God let’s pray Psalm 46:10 over our government.
May we stand firm on God’s word, trust Him, and stop trying to govern America on our own accord. Let’s let God, the God of mercy and goodness, be in control. May we reap the benefits of His favor through honest Christian leadership.
Have faith in our Lord and continue to pray and believe in the true meaning of Psalm 46:10 over our government:
Dear Lord, I praise Your holy name. I praise You for allowing America to prosper, enjoy freedoms, and worship You freely. But I acknowledge as a country we are turning our back to You. We are changing Your natural order, incorporating our own corrupt ideas, not Your holy commandments, into America's daily life. We are sorry. Please forgive us. Hear our prays as we ask that Your mercy and grace shine upon us. Please allow us to elect leaders who love and respect You so that America may once again be governed by people who respect and follow Your word. Amen.
Be still, and know that I am God.
If you’re not certain you’ve ever invited Jesus into your heart, now is the perfect time. Pray this sinner’s prayer found at Gotquestions.com. Through Jesus you will receive the strength and peace that He alone offers to help you through these troubled times.
“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!”