Psalm 46:10-Be still and know that I am God.
Be still. I know my life feels like it is in constant motion. I’m either juggling a lot mentally, checking off tasks, running errands, taking care of housework, checking on people, prepping for messages, planning future events, managing my health, supporting others, responding to texts and emails, exercising or a host of other activities that make life busy. Our nest may be empty, but our days are sure full.
We are told, we are commanded, in Psalm 46 to be still and know that He is God. There is a lot going on in this Psalm. Verses 2 and 3 talk about the earth giving way and the mountains being moved into the heart of the sea. It goes on to describe waters roaring and foaming and mountains trembling. That paints a pretty turbulent picture. That is an unsettling scenario. Everything is hitting at once in that description. When I read it, I can picture someone who starts to panic. They are on the phone calling for help while also googling what to do and while also reaching out to friends for solutions. I see someone who is franticly looking for solutions.
It takes me back to a time when our basement flooded. It was catastrophic. We weren’t going to be able to deal with the amount of water that was coming in when our French drains failed. We couldn’t get towels or blankets fast enough. We couldn’t prevent the destruction that was inevitable. It didn’t matter how fast we ran to the problem; we were no match for it. What was going to happen was going to happen. We would have to simply walk through the fall out and tackle the damage.
I’m reminded that there are things that will happen in life that we cannot prevent, but no earthly happening can change that God loves me, He is for me, and He can keep me in a state of peace no matter what is happening to me. I can have a personal crisis and still have a profound sense of peace and wellness instead of panic because I belong to Him.
I guess you could say that when you know God, there can be a sense of stillness, a sense of tranquility and calm that keep you from going to pieces. That sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? Peace instead of going to pieces. My peace is found not in having perfect circumstances but in knowing God.
Is it possible that sometimes we fight against God and subvert His attempts to help us when we refuse to be still? I think of a person who is drowning. No lifeguard can successfully rescue someone who is flailing their arms and kicking and screaming. That person would pull the lifeguard under. It is only when they are still and allow the lifeguard to get a hold of them that they can be supported and taken to safety.
Sometimes, instead of choosing stillness, we struggle to surrender to the God who wants to save us.
If we haven’t made stillness before God and with God a habit, it can be tough to choose stillness when it would make the most difference for us. We need to practice stillness because the busyness of life can drown out the voice of God and if we haven’t cultivated a sensitivity to the voice of God, when the tsunamis hit, when the crisis comes, when the rug is pulled out from underneath us, we will struggle to recognize His voice and presence in our situation.
In verse 1 we are told God is our refuge. Verse 7 describes Him as a fortress. In order for God to be our refuge, in order for Him to be our fortress we have to intentionally get into His presence. What good is a refuge if you aren’t in it when the storm comes? In order to benefit from the covering and protection of a refuge, you have to be under the roof, you have to be safely inside when the skies open and the rain comes. I feel like there are many people walking around, many who are getting pummeled by life’s storms, many who are being knocked down by winds and harsh rains, when they could be safely inside the refuge that we know is God.
We need to pursue the stillness that leads to knowing God more intimately. This is the purpose for our stillness. We need to learn how He is a refuge. We need to experience the ways He covers us and cares for us. We need to understand how God’s presence changes everything when nothing around us changes.
Be still. Do you think we sometimes get busy and stay busy on purpose? Are we searching for something in our busyness? Are we trying to put something out of our mind by cramming as much into our day as possible? Do we think busyness is the answer to our problems in the fact that it distracts us from them?
Be still. Do you think we get ahead of God with our planning? We have dreams and goals, and we can get in a hurry to achieve and acquire when instead we should be inquiring of the Lord.
Be still. That disappointment over not getting the job you thought was your dream or that house you thought was your dream that fell through or that relationship that ended when you thought he was the one…what do you do in those moments? It’s so important to be still in those moments. What if in your stillness God showed you that He was sparing you from a bad work environment and that’s why He didn’t allow you to get the promotion? What if He was keeping you from buying a money pit of a house or was preventing you from locating next to someone who would have just been a daily thorn in your side if you had him for a neighbor? What if the person you thought you loved would have turned out to be someone you really didn’t know like you thought you did and by God’s grace you dodged a really bad situation?
God’s invitation to stillness is multi-faceted. It readies us for life’s storms. It calms us in life’s storm. It helps us navigate our way through life’s storms to a better and brighter place.
Be still. In order for us to practice stillness, we are going to need to silence our phones, to step away from the TV, to carve out quiet time to listen to the still small voice of God. In order to be still, we are going to have to stop the constant motion and sit in God’s presence. In order to be still and to be able to hear the still small voice of God, we have to, we have to, get into God’s Word. It has to be a habit. Be still.
Be still AND KNOW that I am God. Knowing God will never be achieved simply by learning information. It will only happen as you seek to experience God fully and exercise faith in response to those experiences. To know God, you have to stop doubting that He is who He says He is. You have to put your trust in God’s Word as a go-to source for truth, inspiration, support, strength, and help.
And knowing God is the foundation from which everything good about life can be experienced and everything bad about life can be endured. Knowing God is what helps you make sense out of things that cannot be fully understood. Knowing God is what keeps you together when everything in your life is falling apart. Knowing God is what moves you through life’s pains instead of getting stuck in a pit that traps and steals the rest of your life from you. Knowing God gives you hope in the darkest of situations.
Knowing God is like living in a constant state of anticipation. What will He be up to? How will He help you? Where will He send you? What will He supply next? It’s like you are always walking around with a smile on your heart because when you know God, you get to see Him in multiple ways throughout your week that are tailor-made just for you. You experience Him in small and big ways that energize you and give you quality of life.
When you know God, you learn why you are here on planet earth. After all, He is the One who made you, and He knows what the plan is for your life. Apart from a relationship with Him, people will never find their life’s purpose and will live, to some degree, frustration and unfulfilled. To know God means to have access to the Source of power that can enable you to become your very best. To know God means to have access to insight that will give you the ability to find your way through challenging times. To know God means to have an ability to persevere under pressure.
To know God means you can tell others about Him from personal experience. Knowing about His forgiveness and mercy qualifies you to share what He has done for you with other people. I can only introduce people to someone I already know, right? I can’t introduce you to someone I don’t know, but I can introduce you to someone I do know. I can introduce you to Pastor Daniel because I know him. I can tell you about his upbringing, his education, and my perceptions from my personal interactions with him over now many years. As I get to know Him better, I will be able to tell you more. The same is true for our knowing of God. The better we know Him, the more we can share about Him with others. There are reasons it is good for us to KNOW God. Knowing God changes how we get through our personal challenges and knowing Him gives us an opportunity to help others know Him as well.
Many years ago, one of England’s leading actors was asked to recite for the pleasure of his fellow guests. He consented and asked if there was anything special that his audience would like to hear. After a moment’s pause, an old pastor who was present said: “Could you, sir, recite to us the Twenty-third Psalm?” A strange look passed over the actor’s face; he paused for a moment, and then said: “I can, and I will, upon one condition; and that is that after I have recited it, you, my friend, will do the same.” “I?” said the pastor, in surprise. “I am not a public speaker on your level. However, if you wish it, I will do so.”
Impressively, the great actor began the psalm. His voice and his intonation were perfect. He held his audience spell bound; and as he finished, a great burst of applause broke from the guests. Then, as it died away, the old clergyman arose and began the psalm. His voice was not remarkable; his intonation was not faultless. When he had finished, no sound of applause broke the silence—but there was not a dry eye in the room, and many heads were bowed.
Then the actor rose to his feet again. His voice shook as he laid his hand upon the shoulder of the old pastor and said: “I reached your eyes and ears, my friends; he reached your hearts. The difference is just this—I know the Twenty-third Psalm, but he knows the Shepherd.”
Are people moved to applause because they know us, or are they moved to humility and repentance because they have encountered the Shepherd through our lives? How well we know the Shepherd will impact whether others can experience Him through our lives or not.
The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:10 basically that his life’s goal was to KNOW Christ in His fullness. What an incredible statement. What is your life’s goal? Is it to retire with a couple million dollars? Is it to have achieved a certain level of education? Is it to have a mortgage paid off? Is it to have a specific list of things crossed off a bucket list at the end of your life? Is it to have a certain number of social media followers? Paul’s life was singularly focused on knowing Jesus.
Are you aware that Paul healed leapers, delivered people from demonic spirits, and raised someone from the dead? Look at this amazing passage in Acts 19:11-12 says, God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured, and the evil spirits left them.
These things didn’t happen because Paul was Paul. These things happened because Paul knew Jesus and knowing Jesus in His fullness is the pathway to all of God’s power. We have seen and ARE seeing miracles happen, but I wonder how many more miracles we would be seeing if we were pursuing knowing God intimately, the way the Apostle Paul did. It was his highest priority.
Getting to know someone doesn’t happen by accident. There is time invested. There are questions asked. There is intention behind the interaction. And you don’t get to know someone by doing all the talking. You have to spend time listening in order to know someone. Hence, the command to be still.
When you get to know someone, you learn not just where they have been and what their resume’ lists as their experience, but you find out who they are and will be because of their character in previous situations. When you seek to know God, you will learn to know God’s everlasting love and His great faithfulness. You will experience the wisdom of the ages and a protection for your soul. You will encounter Someone who will always have your back. You will meet the only One who can show you how to live well and to talk a path of righteousness that will be for your benefit.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 23 This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, 24 but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
Be still. Know. He is God. There is something that happens when we recognize God for Who He is. When we acknowledge God’s sovereign power and presence, we invite Him to be seen and experienced in our circumstances. Imagine being God and being ignored. That is the ultimate disrespect. The ultimate disregard.
We don’t seem to have a problem acknowledging greatness when someone famous walks into our space. We were in a hotel on vacation some years back, and Mike Tyson walked through with his entourage. I couldn’t tell you anything about Mike Tyson’s boxing stats or abilities. I just knew he was famous, so what happened next? Out came my camera. I was snapping a picture of Mike Tyson as quickly as I could get it. Now listen, I’m not trying to bash Mr. Tyson, but I understand he has done some unsavory and illegal, violent things in his lifetime, and I’m not just referring to what happened in the boxing ring. The man is a known criminal, and here I was, fumbling through my purse to get my phone out as fast as I could to take a picture of him just because he was famous. And let me just add that the man was higher than a kite when he walked past me. He didn’t know me from Adam and didn’t care if he ever did. Now Church, if I could be that awestruck in an instant by someone just because they were a good boxer, how much more should I take notice of Who God is and what He can do.
Friends, we are talking today about being still and knowing and recognizing and worshiping and exalting and promoting the Almighty God. There is nothing questionable about Him. The only thing He could be convicted for is being amazing. Romans 11 tells us He knows everything there is to know. I’ve run across some smart people in my time. I know how not smart I am every time I watch Jeopardy. But even the intellect of the person who has the highest IQ is not even a close match for the wisdom of our God.
He is more powerful than the sun and more expansive than the universe. By His word, He spoke the world into being. My word might get me a double cheeseburger and fries or help with the laundry! Come on, God’s Word gets the miraculous done. He is self-existent. He relies on no one. We couldn’t take a breath without Him. There is no problem He cannot solve. There is no predicament He cannot overturn. There is no person who can overtake Him. He is immutable, never changing. He is omnipresent which means He is here, there and everywhere at the same time. He is perfectly good and perfectly righteous. He can never be corrupted. And this God cares about you and me. He knows our name. He knows our need. He has provided a way for us to know Him. The way is Jesus. We can know this God through Him. Why are so many people forfeiting a chance to know Him?
I saw a meme on Facebook that I wanted to share as we close our time today. It breaks this verse, Psalm 46:10 into three blocks. Consider this with me. (Show picture)
Be still. Stop talking. Switch off your phone. Stop commenting. Listen. Stop arguing. Stop questioning. Stop moaning. Be still.
Know. Stop doubting. Be sure. Have faith. Move away from second opinions and back-up plans. Know.
He is God. He is Almighty. He is in control. He is love. He is the King of Kings. He is your Hope, Rock, and Fortress. He is ever-present when you need Him. He is your Father, your Shepherd, and He will lead you, nourish you, protect you and restore you. Or, at least He wants to be all of those things to you.
I want to know Him. I want to experience Him. I want to hear Him. I want to be still and know that He is God.