Be still, and know that I am God…
The word translated “be still” in this passage is the Hebrew word ‘raphah’ or ‘rapa’ meaning “to slacken, let down, or cease.” Commonly the word was used when those involved in battle were encouraged to stop fighting… to drop their weapons and relax their arms and body.
To better understand this fuller meaning of be still in Ps. 46:10 then, we could substitute the military usage mentioned above in place of the words “be still”… stop your frantic activity, cease striving.
In other words, stop trying to fight a battle that you – in and of yourself – cannot win… and quit allowing that reality to wear you out psychologically and spiritually.
God is saying in effect: Realize who I am, and that I am infinitely more than sufficient to fight the battles that are beyond you – and win them for you.
A Doable Choice
Recall the example from last week’s post… the Exodus 14 account of God parting the Red Sea?
This real-life story is a perfect depiction of what Psalm 46 is describing. God intentionally leads the Israelites to this humanly impossible place in order to demonstrate His awesome power.
What responsibility did they assume in the rescue? None. What credit could they take for the victory? Nada.
They were commanded by God’s spokesman to simply “relax” and watch God work on their behalf. They were told to “see [acknowledge, be aware of, focus on] the salvation of the Lord.”
What’s so wonderful about this command to “be still and know…” is that it is within our reach. All we have to do is stop fighting and change focus. In other words, “cease striving and know [acknowledge, focus on, believe] that I am God.”
When life comes crashing in on us, the hardest thing to do is to stop fighting it. To relax and let go.
But this verse is stated in the imperative. It is, therefore, doable.
So though we can’t do it perfectly, we can do it.
When life gets overwhelming, I believe it can do you good to remember this lesson from the Red Sea experience and stop fighting. Instead, “be still, and know that [He is] God.”