‘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)
As we look back to the times when our children were little, we’ve lost count of the number of times we had to say to them, ‘Be still!’ Perhaps it was while sitting at the meal table, or when sitting next to someone on a bus, or while watching a TV program with them. But when you’re young, life always seems so exciting and full that ‘being still’ is the last thing you want to do. But come to think of it, isn’t that rather like most of us? Isn’t there always the next thing to do, the next meeting to be dashed to, the next crisis to be solved, the next meal to be prepared? ‘Being still’ is often the very last thing we want to do.
Perhaps one of the best-known Bible verses about ‘being still’ is our verse for today. It comes from Psalm 46, a psalm that was written at a time of some unknown pressure or crisis for God’s people. The temptation at such moments, of course, is to go into over-drive with our plans and activity. But the psalmist’s solution was simple. ‘Be still! And focus on God!’ was his cry.
Other English versions, bringing out different emphases of the Hebrew text, translate this verse as: ‘Calm down and learn that I am God! (CEV); ‘Be quiet and know that I am God’ (NCV); ‘Pause a while and know that I am God’ (JB Phillips); ‘Stop fighting, and know that I am God’ (Good News Bible).
Stop fighting! But that’s what so many of us do in life, isn’t it? Something goes wrong or some pressure comes, and we start to ‘fight’ – anybody and anything! But God’s solution is not for us to get into ‘fight mode’, but for us to learn how to be still. For only when we are still can we hear the heartbeat and the gentle whispers of our Father God.
‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today…The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.’ (Exodus 14:13-14)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont