Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” More than likely, you are very familiar with the first part of this verse and probably have even put it to memory. But, do we know the context? Do we know what it means? Do we know how to apply it? Let’s investigate:
What is the context? The first thing we need to understand is that this Psalm was a song for the choirmaster or the director of music of the sons of Korah. The sons of Korah were a division of the Levites who took their turn in serving in the temple. Remember, after the rebellion of Korah (Numbers 16), God opened up the earth and swallowed all the rebels. But the sons of Korah did not die (Numbers 26:11). These sons of Korah were tasked with working in the temple (1 Chronicles 9:17-19).
The Psalm is written for the holy mountain, Zion, where God’s people dwell with Him. The Psalm speaks to the security with God, who is our dwelling place. In the beginning, the Psalm is written in the third person but then switches in verse 10, where God speaks. Throughout the entire Psalm, we find around ten descriptions of God’s characteristics and attributes.
  1. He is our refuge.
  2. He is strong.
  3. He is present.
  4. He is a great help to those who are weak.
  5. He is higher than all else.
  6. He is able to rule above all
  7. His voice makes the earth melt.
  8. He is the God of Jacob.
  9. He is ever-present in the nation and earth.
  10. He is a fortress.
The author of this Psalm is probably living through a time of trouble, turmoil, or war. He mentions nations raging, kingdoms moving, the spear, bow, and chariots. However, the Psalm is directing our thoughts to a time when wars will cease. By the end of the Psalm, we realize how vain it is to fight against God and how God’s people are protected by His might and have nothing to fear.
What does it mean? Now let’s focus on our key phrase? “Be still, and know that I am God.” It is so vital for us to interpret the phrase “Be still” correctly. To be clear, “being still does not mean for us to be at gentle rest and meditation. The NASB better translates this phrase as “Cease striving.” In other words, we are told to “stop fighting.” We should interpret this to be that we need to snap out of it, wake up, and stop being afraid and begin to acknowledge who our God is and be in complete awe of Him.
How do we apply it? The fighting and strife have to stop, and it is God’s voice that calls for the end of it. How amazing is that!?!? God’s voice has power overall. God’s people need to be reminded that we need to stop what we are doing and realize that God alone is the ruler of the universe. It compels us to devote ourselves to following Him and Him alone. Even in the middle of an argument and fighting, we don’t need to fear for our lives because God has a place of refuge, a holy mountain, a city of fortress reserved for us. We are marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion! So “Be still and know that I am God.”
I love you,
~ Alexander