Two Hard Things
Be still, and know that I am God. – Psalm 46:10a
In 2023, one thing that seems hard for any of us to be, is still. We just can’t be still. There’s always something to do. In fact, it’s probably hard for some of you to finish reading this sentence, let alone this blog post, because you’re ready to move on to something else (I’m going as fast as I can, trust me!). It seems like I always have a chore to do, always an important task, always a really important call to make or a high priority email to return. And when we run into a problem, it seems like we have to solve it. And not just solve it, but solve it quickly. Hurry up and get out of my way, problem! You’re making things inconvenient for me. Can’t you see I’ve got other things to get to?
It seems like I always have a chore to do, always an important task…
The psalmist in this passage really shows his trust in God. How? God has clearly proven Himself over and over again, so much so that the psalmist could say things like “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1), and “God is our fortress” (Psalms 46:11). He could say that because he found himself somewhere in the business of life without a place to emotionally, physically, or spiritually call home, but he found shelter from danger, or refuge, in God. He could also say that because somewhere along the way in the business of life, he found himself weak. He was lacking in strength, sustenance, or vitality of life.
The psalmist realized he couldn’t make it in his own power, but he could certainly make it tapped into the ultimate power source. He goes on to say that even if the earth gives way to earthquakes and mountains tumble into the sea, he won’t fear (Psalms 46:2). God even causes wars to end (Psalms 46:9). The psalmist understands that God is present (Psalms 46:5, 7, 11). And if God is present, we have nothing to worry about. This gives us context for the two things we’re discussing today.
First, God said, “Be still.” In this context, it means to release, to let go, to allow slack in the controls. God’s command to the psalmist was in that moment to relax. He was saying that even though the circumstances were tough or the outlook horrible, everything would be okay. Remember what God had done, how He had provided, the strength He possessed, and the power He had. Remember what He is capable of doing. When the psalmist looked at this in comparison to the problem, he could take comfort, release, and loosen the controls.
But doesn’t that seem hard for us to do at times? How often do we try fixing things that perhaps we should simply let God do Himself? We have to be in control. Things have to get done in our timing. We can’t let it go. But the truth is, we can. Whether we fully realize it or not, we’ve experienced His refuge and strength. We don’t have to fear. He has been our fortress. He has all power. His presence gives us assurance. And when our trust is in Him, we can be still.
How often do we try fixing things that perhaps we should simply let God do Himself?
Next, God said that we should know that He is God. I’ve learned that there’s a difference between knowing and believing. For example, I don’t believe my name is Samuel (just in case my mom is reading this). I know what my name is, without question. You couldn’t convince me otherwise. You might spell it wrong, pronounce it incorrectly, or even get me confused with someone else, but it doesn’t change the fact that my name is my name. So it is with God. Knowing who God is goes beyond believing who God is.
How do we know that He is God, especially when we’re in the middle of a financial, emotional, or spiritual crisis? Well, we think back to those times in the business of life when God was our refuge and strength, when He was present then. In the same manner, He can be present now. It’s hard to know that He is God when it doesn’t feel like He’s present, or you feel entirely exposed to the circumstances of life. But rest assured. The psalmist ends the chapter saying, “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (Psalms 46:11).”
By themselves, these are two hard things God commanded in this passage. But when we take the whole passage into consideration and consider what God has already done for us, we can take comfort in the stillness and knowledge of God.