Being Still Is NOT Enough
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalm 46
If there is any Bible verse I hear most often quoted beside the infamous John 3:16, it’s this one. “Be still, and know that I am God.” But I wonder how often it is truly, and fully, understood. For being still is NOT enough.
I confess I struggle immensely with being still. I am an active, passionate, go-getter, and most of the time these days this has to do with loving the Lord and ministering to a world in need of Him. But even when I am still, I have learned that being still is NOT enough. Why?
Years ago, despite the strong warning delivered by a Christ follower, I went on a 10-day mostly silent Buddhist retreat. We were told to worship any god we believed in, we learned to be still, to meditate, and essentially opened wide the door to any and every evil spirit imaginable by fellowshipping in a united front and being still together and calling on all our gods together. I learned to be silent. I learned to meditate. And I learned to be still. All in the name of evil. The Lord ultimately led me to repent of all of this not to mention every other pathway I took that no matter how peaceful and still and pretty and happy it seemed led to hell and the lake of fire.
Look carefully at the infamous verse about being still. “Be still, and KNOW THAT I AM GOD;…” (upper case added). There is something I missed for years. I am afraid others may be missing it too.
First, the verse makes clear we are to be still AND know that God is God! There is only ONE TRUE GOD! We are to be still and focus on the Lord! Not on ourselves. Not on others. Not on false gods. On God almighty!
Second, the verse does NOT end with the word “God.” The verse in its entirety is NOT “Be still, and know that I am God….” Look carefully. There is a semi-colon. With more words! The words are, “…I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Who will be exalted? Us? NO! Others? NO! False gods? NO! This world? NO! The Lord God almighty will be exalted! He is sovereign! Jesus Christ is Lord! King of Kings! Lord of Lords! He will reign forever!
Psalm 46 in its entirety is about looking to the Lord who is sovereign, who is our refuge, our hiding place, our protector, our safe place, the one who will help us in trouble. When everything is falling apart all around us, we can rest in His love, lean back on His everlasting arms, hide under His wings, as described in other psalms, find comfort in Him, bask in His love and grace and mercy. The world will fall apart. The world will come to an end. But when we place our trust in Christ, when we become His by grace through faith, when we are devoted to God and His ways, we can be encouraged in Christ. We can be still and set our eyes and hearts upon the Lord.
The world is filled with false religions, false gods, false teachers, false teachings, and deceivers, and so many are being deceived. In a crazy world filled with evil, people are continuously seduced by meditation involving false gods and all sorts of New Age and eastern and other varieties of temptations that promise love and peace, that do not exalt the Lord, and that lure people into their seductive arms, trapping them in evil and sending them ultimately down the pathway to hell and the lake of fire instead of to a forever relationship with God through Christ. Many of these evils appear lovely and beautiful on the outside, and many of them are tempting because they promise people they will learn how to be still, how to relax and unwind, how to be peaceful. But there is nothing peaceful about evil and hell!
The Lord wants us to be still! He wants us to rest! He wants us to know peace! He wants us to experience love! He wants us to receive grace! He wants us to be forgiven! He wants us to be loved and love others! He wants us to take refuge and find comfort! He wants us to meditate! But He wants us to meditate on Him and His Word, on His awesomeness, on His sovereignty and majesty, His glory and grace, His mercy and His amazing forever peace. The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Be still, my friend, yes! But be still and KNOW that HE is God! And know He will be exalted forever above all and everything we will ever experience in this life! Oh, exalt the Lord! Lift up His name! Magnify His name! Love Him! Obey Him! Praise Him! Worship Him! Glorify Him! Be still before Him! Why? Because He is God! Set your heart on Him! Set your eyes on Him! Place your life in His hands! Come into His shelter! Into His refuge! Be still in His love! In His peace! In His grace! Rejoice that He is Lord and will be exalted forever and ever amen!