"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10 NIV
This is one of my favorite verses. It is such a simple verse but it contains such a powerful. meaning. I guess, one of the reasons I like it so well is, I have trouble being still in my thoughts, decisions, and actions. Much of my life, I have had a lot of anxiety and worry about many things. About 20 years ago God use this Psalm to speak to me in a powerful way. I spent a lot of time considering this verse and I came to realize it was a message specifically for me at that time in my life. Ever since then it has been a source of strength and encouragement. The idea that I can be still, and stop whatever I’m doing and realize that God is in control – that he is the sovereign Creator of the universe – has meant so much to me over the years. I don’t need to have all the answers. In fact, I don’t even have to know all the questions. I don’t have to be able to solve every problem. And when I come to a problem I can’t solve, I can stop worrying and simply know that God is in control and I can leave it in his hands.
Another reason this verse is so important to me is I am an impulsive person; I tend to act without thinking things through. I needed God to tell me, through this verse, that I should be still. Each time I recite this verse, I am reminded, it is okay to wait on God – I don’t have to rush into any decision, in fact, it’s better that I don’t rush into a decision. I have noticed a big change in my life, my personality, and my attitude since I have been reciting this verse. I have grown in my faith in God and in my faith in me since I’m not making the impulsive decisions I used to.
For many years, my focus was only on the first phrase of this verse, "be still, and know that I am God," but, the rest of the verse completes the picture and is equally important. God says, "I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." I am able to be still and know he is God because he will exalt himself among the nations and he will be exalted in the earth. This verse is not saying he will be exalted because I am being still, but rather, I can be still because he will be exalted – it is not dependent upon me, in fact, if I’m not still, I might mess things up. I know this from experience; many, years of experience.
Today, I read this verse in the New Living Translation, which says, "be silent, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world." Even though I know "exalt" can also mean "to honor," it was like reading this verse for the first time, today. As you know, my focus on this blog is trying to live a life that honors God, and in this verse, God says, "I will be honored…" He will be honored, while I’m silent and still, and recognizing he is God. I don’t believe this is saying we should be silent and still in all areas of life and in all situations– that we should stop living space and trying and leave everything to God. I believe God does what is to act and to be obedient to our understanding of his will. The time to be still and know he is God is when we are not sure of the path we need to follow or when tribulation comes our way. I know this is true because of the context for this Psalm. Let's look at the first two verses to see what I mean:
"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea." Psalm 46:1, 2 NLT
The author of this Psalm is speaking about God and his desire to be our refuge in times of trouble. Now that we know this, when we read the 10th verse, we clearly see, the time to be still and know he is God, is when we are facing difficult choices. Being still and knowing he is God is how we humble ourselves and listen for his voice, so he can be honored in our decisions.
This verse reminds me of another verse about Jesus being exalted:
"that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father." Philippians 2:10 NIV
God will be honored. Jesus will be exalted. This is not a possibility, this is a certainty. We can choose to honor him in all situations of our life. When you have worry, anxiety, stress, indecision, trials, or tribulations, you should choose to humble yourself and be still and know that he is God. If you are still and wait on him he will be honored in your decisions and your life.