20th September 2020
Last week Barbara and I attended a zoom Jesus Ministry Pastor’s Day and this verse from Psalm 46 was discussed;
Be still, and know that I am God.
And it got me thinking…. how do we discover how to be still and know that God is God?
This can be hard when we look at the news headlines, about how nations rage against nations, about mental strife, the strain on marriages, strain on children, racial tensions and pandemics. Storm clouds are looming.
I suspect we have trouble living it because we are rarely still, we rarely sleep without tossing and turning, our heads are on the fast spin cycle, and we hardly ever live sold out that God is God and we are not.
Well, then, what are we to do? How can we cease our striving and “be still”? How are we to accomplish such peace and trust?
The clues are back in verses 8 and 9 of Psalm 46.
Verse 8 tells us to “Come and see what the Lord has done,” and it is fascinating to consider what those works might have been. Psalm 46 was likely written after the defeat of one of Judah’s enemies, probably a time when God clearly did the defeating–for example, when an angel of God destroyed the Assyrians in their camp (as we read in 2 Chronicles 32:20-21). So verse 8 is a personal invitation to the people of Jerusalem to come look at the destruction of their enemies and witness God’s complete deliverance: He saved His people once again. It isn’t until verse 10 that God Himself tells us to “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Therefore, part of being still, or cease striving, is to “Come and see what the Lord has done.” When we notice His work and deliverance, this helps to assure us that we can be still and know that He is God.
I’m going to look at 4 ways we can Be Still and Know that God is God, but these are not the only ways!
First – Consider the Nations . . . and Turn Off the News
This psalm shows us that throughout time, people have been concerned about world events. Although the world situation as it comes to us through 24-hour news seems negative and out of control, this psalm reminds us that God is in charge of it all. In the midst of all of the turmoil, God is with us and will deliver His people.
Is there something you’ve noticed in world affairs in the past or at the current time that shows that God is in control–that He is with us?
Perhaps you have read the stories of Jesus appearing to people in many parts of the world in dreams and visions, and how their lives have been dramatically changed like Paul’s was on the road to Damascus, and this despite the persecution many face for turning to Christ.
Remember when the Berlin Wall came down? God proved the impossible possible.
Have you considered the consequences had the Allies not won World War II?
Yes, conflicts still rage and injustice requires voice and action, but when we get anxious, it is helpful to remind ourselves what God has done.
As part of this strategy, perhaps we could “fast” from social media, such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram (maybe you could delete them from your phones!). As well as doing that let’s fast from the news. After all, it is man-made, because instead of helping us to consider the works of the Lord, it causes us to be anxious about temporary problems and angry at people who disagree with us. This is not from God!
Instead take captive the thoughts of God and think on more honourable and noble things as Philippians 4:8 says,
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)
So, the first way, make time to remind yourself what God has done for the nations, and focus on the Good News, not the fast spin cycle of the 24-hour news.
Second – look outdoors
One of my favourite ways to see what the Lord has done – which, in turn, helps me to be still and know that He is God – is to look around while I am outdoors. You can notice the colours of the sky in the early morning, midday, and sunset. Try to count the shades of green in the trees around you. Ponder the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly and all that the process involves. Take in the fresh air, supplied with perfect amounts of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water.
Treasure words such as these written in Scripture, which are there for our nourishment and hope….
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1)
3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land. (Psalm 95:3-5 NIV)
Third – Look at others
A third strategy is to look at the people around you and to consider how God has worked in the lives of your friends and loved ones. Has He healed a broken heart, turned a wayward soul, or changed a countenance, both in terms of you being able to see that they look different because they have experienced something of God, and in terms of them accepting that God is real and that He loves them?
These are wondrous works of the Lord. Behold them, and be still: let yourself be in awe of what God has done.
Fourth – Look at yourself
What works has God done inside of you? How has He delivered you? What peace has He brought to you?
These are some of God’s most phenomenal works, works to behold, works that help us to be still and know that He is God. So are you seeking to “Be still, and know that I am God”?
Each day we are to take time to consider the works of God in our own life; how He has redeemed us and called us by name. Has He changed our heart or our attitude? Has He lifted our chin to see His face more clearly? Has He helped us to forgive ourselves or others?
Are you seeing the works of the Lord, especially the deliverance He has accomplished for nations, for your friends and relatives, and for yourself? Are you noticing His handiwork in creation? Are you resting easy in the truth that He’s in control?
God is calling us to rise up in our spirit and to see things from the heavenly perspective. We are to live out of our risen self, because as resurrection people we are alive in Christ and so can be still and know that God is God.
Digging into God’s Word: Be Still and Know that I am God
- Psalm 46 is both a challenging and comforting psalm! Read verses 8 to 11 again, but slowly, noticing the sureness of God, His control over the nations (a good reminder for these times), and the deliverance of His people.
- Of the ways spoken about in finding God’s stillness and peace which ones will you use to see the works of the Lord?
Digging a BIT Deeper: Be Still and Know that I am God
Take time to be quiet with the Lord, either now or throughout the week. If you like, you can journal about these questions and sing with the songs linked below.
- In what area of life do you need God’s peace today? Over what do you need to cease striving?
- Practice beholding the works of the Lord. Choose one of these areas and journal about it reflecting on what you can learn from God’s faithfulness and deliverance?
Idea 1: Consider the nations . . . and turn off the news.
Idea 2: Look outdoors.
Idea 3: Look at the people around you.
Idea 4: Look inside yourself.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). Where in your life have you agreed with the enemy’s schemes, thus allowing him to steal your stillness? Confess them and rebuke the enemy’s schemes. Then replace them with God’s peace and stillness.
God’s Word is meant for us to apply to our own lives. How does verse 11 of Psalm 46 help you today?
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Let these songs minister to your soul as you sing along or listen to them:
Be Still and Know (Hillsong)
I Lift My Hands (Let Faith Arise, Chris Tomlin)
One Thing Remains (Jesus Culture)
Find them on YouTube.
Be still and know…that God is near. (Ps 46:1-3)
Be still and know…that God is reliable. (Ps 46:4-7)
Be still and know…that God is in control. (Ps 46:8-9)
Be still and know…that God is to be worshipped. (Ps 46:10-11)
Be still and know…that God is.
God, Creator of time, we hurry from task to task, from crisis to crisis, carrying the weight of the world. Or in this current season, we let time pass without meaning. But the world is yours, and everything in it. Let us lay down both what keeps us too busy to be still and stillness that is void before you so that we may lift our eyes to your glory. Lord, we come into your presence. Make us still in you. Amen