Other than sleeping, when are you ever still? Most of us are nearly always moving a mile a minute. Even during times of supposed relaxation, our minds continue to forge ahead. And it’s taking a toll physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and even socially. But what can we do about it? Let’s look at the “be still” verse in the Bible. It’s found in Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God…. (NIV)
We love to quote it, but do we really know what it means? As with all Scripture, we must look at it in context. Psalm 46 begins with God being our refuge in the midst of everything falling apart (vv.1-3). Then there’s a shift in focus to His presence, peace, and protection while we're surrounded by upheaval (vv.4-7). Verses 8-9 speak of His mighty works and power. Then comes v.10: "Be still, and know that I am God…. (NIV) It makes sense on the surface, and we get that it’s more than staying motionless, although I think that’s part of it. The New American Standard version translates it as: "Cease striving and know that I am God…. That helps a little. But there has to be more.
The earth is giving way, the mountains are falling into a sea that is out of control, and nations and kingdoms are in an uproar, yet we are given the command to be still. How is that possible? Because of Who our God is. Notice this is a two-part command: be still and know I am God. They are telling us not to panic (or be unsettled or fearful) and recognize God is in control. What's crucial to our understanding of this powerful phrase is that the only way we can be still, is because our God has complete power and authority over everything and everyone. We can be still because we know He is God.
But that doesn’t come from an intellectual knowledge. It springs from a faith-based, experiential one that has seen God be faithful in the past as we allowed Him to be our refuge. This stillness doesn't spring from knowing about God, but rather from knowing Him personally. And not just unto salvation, but a day by day, minute by minute walk with Him.
The Bible Expository Commentary explains it this way: "Be still" literally means "Take your hands off! Relax!" And according to Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, it can be translated as let drop. That gives us a great word picture to better understand what the Psalmist is saying.
Think of your fear, anxiety, stress, workload, relationships, or anything that is causing you not to be still as being held in your clenched fists. Now unclasp your fingers and let them go. Drop them into the hands of the Lord, which is exactly where they belong. That's how, no matter what's going on within or around us, we can be still.
A truth and practice that brings me great peace and comfort along the way.