It’s one of my all-time favorite verses of the Bible. I’ve always felt like God was speaking directly to me when he said it. It has brought me great comfort and peace during tumultuous times in my life.
But now it turns out God may not actually be speaking those words to me.
In Psalm 46, the psalm-writer reminds us we don’t have to be afraid even if the whole world collapses around us. We have a refuge where we can hide – a mighty fortress whose great walls will protect us.
That mighty fortress is our God.
He will be with us, the psalm-writer promises. Though nations and kingdoms rise up against him and us, he will break their bows and shatter their spears. He will make wars cease to the ends of the earth.
And then in verse ten, God himself speaks.
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
When I worry, my stomach turns in knots. I get anxious. I can’t sit still. I can’t sleep.
But God tells me to be still – to take a deep breath and remember that he is God. He’s got this. He’s in control. He is my refuge. He is a mighty fortress.
He is God.
It turns out, though, God may not actually be speaking those words to me. A fellow pastor recently pointed out to me that if you look at the verses right before verse ten, it’s talking about God dealing with those who rage and fight against him – how he destroys their weapons of mass destruction and brings an end to their conflicts.
Then God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” In that context, it seems like God is speaking to those who wage war against him and us. It seems like he is saying, “Be still! Knock it off! I’m God. I’m in charge here.”
In that sense, verse ten would be analogous to when Jesus was on the Sea of Galilee with his disciples in a terrible storm. As the waters roared and foamed, Jesus rebuked the storm. “Quiet!” he said. “Be still!”
And the storm stopped immediately (Mark 4:39).
If you have a chance today, read through Psalm 46 in its entirety. We honestly can’t say with certainty to whom God is speaking in verse ten.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. The point is still the same.
We don’t have to worry. We don’t have to fret. We don’t have to be afraid. God is with us. He is in control. He will stop every enemy which seeks to harm us.
The forces which rage against you cannot win. The Coronavirus cannot win. Terrorists cannot win. Jesus wins. God’s got you. Even if they take our lives here on earth, we have forever waiting for us in the happiness of heaven because of Jesus. You cannot lose. You never need to be afraid.
At this moment, it feels like the world is falling apart around us. Pandemic surrounds us. The economy is collapsing. Our country is divided. It’s scary.
Take a deep breath. You’ve got this. Better yet, God’s got this. He’s got you.
So be still, and know that he is God.