4 Ways to Be Still and Know that I Am God
Inside: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Do you long to feel that type of deep and lasting peace? If we’re honest, we have trouble living out this concept. We hardly ever live sold out that God is God and we are not. Discover 4 ways to be still and know that I am God.
Headlines swirl, nations rage, marriages strain, children stray, storm clouds loom. We buckle under the weight of it all and try to prop each other up with these words:
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 ESV)
It’s one of the most famous verses in the Bible. We put it on posters, we write it in encouragement cards, we say it during times of turmoil. We long to feel this type of deep and lasting peace.
Yet if we’re honest, we have trouble living it. We are rarely still, we rarely sleep without tossing and turning, and we hardly ever live sold out that God is God and we are not.
Well, then, what are we to do? How can we “cease striving” as some translate “be still”? How are we to accomplish such peace and trust?
The clues are back in verses 8 and 9 of Psalm 46.
Verse 8 tells us to “Behold the works of the Lord,” and it is fascinating to consider what those works might have been. Psalm 46 was likely written after the defeat of one of Judah’s enemies, probably a time when God clearly did the defeating–for example, when an angel of God destroyed the Assyrians in their camp (2 Chronicles 32:20-21). So verse 8 is a personal invitation to the people of Jerusalem to come look at the destruction of their enemies and witness God’s complete deliverance: He saved His people once again. It isn’t until verse 10 that God Himself tells us to “Be still, and know that I am God.”
So how are we to be still, or cease striving? We are to “behold the works of the Lord.”
4 Ways to Be Still and Know that He is God
When we “behold the works of the Lord,” we notice God’s deliverance, and this assures us that we can be still and know that He is God.
Idea 1: Consider the Nations . . . and Turn Off the News
This psalm shows us that throughout time, people have been concerned about world events. Although the world situation as it comes to us through 24-hour news seems negative and out of control, this psalm reminds us that God is in charge of it all. In the midst of all of the turmoil, God is with us and will deliver His people.
What is something you’ve noticed in world affairs in the past or at the current time that shows that God is in control–that He is with us?
- Perhaps you have read the stories of Jesus appearing to people in the Middle East in dreams and visions.
- Remember when the Berlin Wall came down? God proved the impossible possible.
- Have you considered the consequences had the Allies not won World War II?
Yes, conflicts still rage and injustice requires voice and action. But when we get anxious, it is helpful to remind ourselves what God has done–to “behold the works of the Lord.”
As part of this strategy, I encourage you to unfollow the caustic friend on Facebook and turn off the news for one day or one week. May I boldly say 24-hour news is not from the Lord? It is man-made, and instead of helping us to consider the works of the Lord, it causes us to be anxious about temporary problems and angry at people who disagree with us. This is not from God!
Do you remember what was going on in the news exactly one year ago today? Probably not. Why? Because that news has passed, and whatever was breaking that day did not, in the end, turn our world upside down as promised by the loud “Breaking News” music and fancy graphics. That news segment grabbed our attention for a few minutes, made money for sponsors, and took our focus off of the works of the Lord. Let’s take captive those thoughts and think on more honorable things:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8 ESV)
So, Idea 1, remind yourself what God has done in the nations, and focus on the Good News, not the 24-hour news.
Idea 2: Look Outdoors
One of my favorite ways to behold the works of the Lord–which, in turn, helps me to be still and know that He is God–is to look around while I am outdoors. You can notice the colors of the sky in the early morning, midday, and sunset. Try to count the shades of green in a maple tree. Ponder the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly and all that the process involves. Take in the fresh air, supplied in perfect amounts of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1 ESV)
3 For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land. (Psalm 95:3-5 ESV)
Idea 3: Look at the People Around You
When we behold the works of the Lord and notice the deliverance He has accomplished, it helps us to be still, to cease striving, to rest in knowing that God is God.
A third strategy is to look at the people around you and to consider how God has worked in the lives of your friends and loved ones. Has He healed a broken heart, turned a wayward soul, or changed a countenance?
These are wondrous works of the Lord. Behold them, and be still: Let yourself be in awe of what God has done.
Idea 4: Look Inside Yourself
And now we get personal: What works has God done inside of you? How has He delivered you? What peace has He brought to you?
Take quiet time today to consider the works of God in your own life, how He has redeemed you and called you by name. Has He changed your heart or an attitude? Has He lifted your chin to see His face more clearly? Has He helped you to forgive yourself or others?
These are some of God’s most phenomenal works, works to behold, works that help us to be still and know that He is God.
Seeking to “Be still, and know that I am God”? Behold the works of the Lord, especially the deliverance He has accomplished for nations, for your friends and relatives, and for yourself. Notice His handiwork in creation, and rest easy: He’s got it.
In what area of life do you need God’s peace today? Which idea will you use to behold the works of the Lord?
Digging into God’s Word: Be Still and Know that I am God
This is the second time we have dug into Psalm 46. You can find a previous series on this psalm here. This is a challenging and comforting psalm! Read verses 8 to 11 slowly, noticing the sureness of God, His control over the nations (a good reminder for these times!), and the deliverance of His people.
Psalm 46:8-11 (ESV)
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Digging Deeper: Be Still and Know that I am God
Take time to be quiet with the Lord, either now or throughout the week. If you like, you can journal about these questions and sing with the songs linked below.
1. In what area of life do you need God’s peace today? Over what do you need to cease striving?
2. Practice beholding the works of the Lord. Choose one of these areas and journal about it. What do you learn from God’s faithfulness and deliverance in this area?
- Idea 1: Consider the nations . . . and turn off the news.
- Idea 2: Look outdoors.
- Idea 3: Look at the people around you.
- Idea 4: Look inside yourself.
3. God’s Word is meant for us to apply to our own lives. How does verse 11 of Psalm 46 help you today?
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
4. Let these songs minister to your soul as you sing with or listen to them:
Be Still and Know (Hillsong)
I Lift My Hands (Let Faith Arise, Chris Tomlin)
One Thing Remains (Jesus Culture)
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