We buckle under the weight of it all and try to prop each other up with the words of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” It’s one of the most famous verses in the Bible. We put it on posters, write it in encouragement cards, and say it during times of turmoil. We long to feel this deep and lasting harmony, to rest in God’s peace and power.
Yet if we’re honest with ourselves, we have trouble living it. We are rarely still, tossing and turning in our sleep, and we hardly ever live like God is God, and we are not. So, what are we to do? How can we “cease striving” as some translate “be still”? How are we to accomplish such peace and trust? The clues are back in verses eight and nine of Psalm 46.
Verse eight tells us to “Behold the works of the Lord,” and it is intriguing to think about what those works might have been. Psalm 46 was likely written after defeating one of Judah’s enemies, when God did the defeating. For example, in 2 Chronicles 32:20-21, an angel of God destroyed the Assyrians in their camp. So verse eight is a personal invitation to the people of Jerusalem to come and 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.”
5 Ways to Live Psalm 46:10
So how are we to be still or cease striving? We are to “behold the works of the Lord. When we “behold the works of the Lord,” we notice God’s deliverance, and this assures us that we can be still and know that He is God and rest in His power and security.
Turn off the news.
This psalm shows us that people have been concerned about world events throughout time. 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. Yes, conflicts still erupt, and injustice requires voice and action. Still, when we get anxious, it is helpful to remind ourselves what God has done–to “behold the works of the Lord.”
As part of this strategy, you should unfollow the caustic friend on Facebook and turn off the news for one day or one week. Do you remember what was happening in the news broadcast one year ago today? Probably not. Why? That news has passed. Whatever was breaking that day didn’t turn the world upside down. So when you find yourself feeling anxious while watching the news, take a step back and recognize that God is always in control. Rest in the power and security of God, and know that He will make things right.
One of the best ways to behold the works of the Lord, which, in turn, help you to be still and know that He is God, is to look around while exploring the outdoors. You can notice the colors of the sky in the early morning, midday, and sunset. Try to count the shades of green in a maple tree. Ponder the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly and all that the process involves. Take in the fresh air, supplied in perfect amounts of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water. Taking some time outdoors can also help keep you grounded in God’s power and peace because it enables you to realize that He created everything around you.
Look at the people around you.
When we behold the works of the Lord and notice the deliverance He has accomplished, it helps us to be still, to cease striving, to rest in knowing that God is God. Another way to live Psalm 46:10 is to look at the people around you. Consider how God has worked in the lives of your friends and family. Has He healed a broken heart, turned a wayward soul, or changed an expression? These are wondrous works of the Lord. Behold them, and be still: Let yourself be in awe of what God has done. While you’re looking at the people around you, thank God for all that He has done. Remaining grateful can help you rest in God’s peace and power.
Psalm 46:10 essentially says, “Stop your fighting, and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” “Stop your fighting” is somewhat unique among translations of this verse. Many Bible translations render the imperative as “Be still.” Then, most people interpret the scripture as “we need to come aside from the hustle and bustle of daily life and get alone with God.” Indeed, that is true, but there’s more going on in this verse. Notice how verses eight, nine, and 11 references some aspect of war and fighting. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we may not only be fighting the Lord’s battles, but we may be fighting against the Lord Himself. There comes a time when we need to lay down our arms and know that He is God. He will do as He wills.
Look inside yourself.
Now, it gets personal: What works has God done inside you? How has He delivered you? What peace has He brought to you? Take some quiet time to consider the works of God in your own life, how He has redeemed you and called you by name. Has He changed your heart or an attitude? Has He lifted your chin to see His face more clearly? Has He helped you to forgive yourself or others? These are some of God’s most phenomenal works, works to behold, works that enable us to be still and know that He is God.
It can be easy to get caught in the whirlwind of modern times. However, we must take time to be still and allow God to have His way. He has the ultimate control and knows what He’s doing. The power and security of God can get us through anything, so we must rest in God’s peace and power.