Tag Archives: Be still

Singing with the King (87) – Context 1.0

Cease Striving and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

AbideThis is my favorite Psalm. In fact it was the Psalm that launched this website (#2). And as is often the case, favorite verses can sometimes cause us to miss the context; and that’s what happened here. You see, whether you translate that Hebrew word raphah as be still, or cease striving, or fall limp, or fail, or drop—the list goes on—it spoke to me as an everyday, what’s going on in my life, kind of verse. But it’s not that only.

Now I will say, that it’s application still makes it very much an everyday, what’s going on in my life kind of verse, but the status for the psalm writer was much more intense.

The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the will nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. (vs. 6-11)

So, the psalmist speaks of a battle; in fact it seems to him like a worldwide battle— nations were in an uproar, kingdoms tottered, the earth melted— yeah, sounds pretty worldwide to me. And if God raised his voice and melted in the earth, that’s kinda apocalyptic.

But whether it’s an intense battle going on in a faraway place, or the end of the earth, or even a spiritual battle that’s raging on around you, threatening to overwhelm your heart and your soul, this Cease Striving does not merely call you to stop in the middle of a busy day; it calls you to stop whatever you’re doing, even in the midst of your warfare. It’s that important, and it’s that life-changing. Will you cease your striving to know that He is God?

Next time… More on the context of this verse.

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Singing with the King (2) – Be Still 1.1

Cease striving and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)

sunsetMany times have I looked at this verse, and myriad are the translations in numerous versions of the Bible: be still, cease striving, be silent, and stand silent. All of these are most appropriate and have a lot to do with the worship of the LORD, which is explicit within this verse. A friend of mine even had her own take on the verse: Shut up and know that I am God. But the Hebrew is more than just the cessation of activity (or noise). There are also some pained and exposed translations: helpless, discouraged, feeble, fail, fall limp, let alone.

But even in these translations, we can find insight. Without God, if we do not know God, then we are helpless, discouraged, feeble, failing, limp and alone. Yet even in these vulnerable positions, we are to know God; indeed, because of these vulnerable positions, we are to know God. When we are at our wits end, when we are at the end of our strength, when all the distractions and excuses are exhausted, when we are helpless, then we are to know God.

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat. (Isaiah 25:4)

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)

There is a Gospel song from several years back by Annie Flint that says:

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.