By Tyson Thorne

March 19, 2019

BeStill Large

The best athletes know a very deep truth. They practice regularly, of course, but sometimes they practice the plays in slow motion. Martial artists are famous for the slow, precise repetition of the mechanics. It develops muscle memory. Football players watch reels of their plays, examining the details in slow motion. Sometimes it is only in the frame-by-frame that one can detect the cause of a successful or derailed play. The truth these athletes know is that, sometimes, slowing down or being still is the key to success. Should we wonder, then, why God tells us to be still?

I can tell you that God telling us to be still isn't an encouragement to meditate. Psalm 46.10 delivers a message to the nations that strive for the destruction of Israel, "Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth!" Rather than a word of encouragement, it is a stern warning. God is telling them to stop fighting a war they cannot win.

While most scholars agree that God is warning the nations to stop fighting God and his will, it could be that God is issuing the command to Israel. The language is unclear in this regard, and while I think the recipient is the "nations" and not Israel a case can be made for the opposite. If God is warning Israel, the command would tell the Israelites to stop developing alliances with pagan nations and to relax as God promises them, "I've got this."

It is not in war, nor in striving or exerting effort to accomplish our goals where we find the Lord; it is in stillness and quiet that we "know" who God is. It seems counter-intuitive. Maybe even contradictory. After all, we are told to seek God, to love God, to count the cost of following God, and to take up our cross and follow God. It would seem that knowing God involves a great deal of activity. So how does "being still" reveal God?

In the context of Psalm 46, whether it is God warning the nations to surrender or warning the Israelites to follow his commands, God is warning some group of people to trust and obey. We can become so focused on the challenges before us that we never stop to think how it is impacting our relationship with God. Sometimes our worst problems actually become an idol. We may not worship it, but if it give more of our time to solving it than in reflecting on God it reveals what is most important to us. When we give God his proper place in our lives we don't have to strive. We can be still. In stillness and in God's presence we know the peace of God. You might lose your job or receive a bad medical report, or may hear bad news about a loved one, or (as the psalmist suggests) the very earth may be giving way and kingdoms falling — no matter the difficulty or tragedy we can be still because we belong to him, and he to us. We can be still because God is on the throne.

Learn Biblical Hebrew Online


English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish



How to setup an RSS of Windows Reader Service