“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
-Psalms 46:10 (ESV)
I was meditating on Psalms 46:10 the other day and began to wonder what exactly God meant by the word ‘still’ in this particular verse. I’ve always thought of the word still as meaning, "stop talking and listen to God." The word still in this specific passage is from the Hebrew word raphah, meaning to slacken, to cease, to be weak, to forsake, to fail. As in: cease controlling everything; be weak in His presence, so you can see His might; forsake your plans and let God’s plans unfold before you; fail – you will, but God never will.
As Corrie ten Boom says, “Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.” We all have plans and dreams and schedules, but none of us know what the future holds. Only God knows this, and only God can direct our steps to the future He has prepared for each of us.
So, how is it possible for us to be still in His presence? It is possible to be still because HE is still faithful; HE is still good; and HE is still God. God has never and will never abdicate his throne and authority. He is the supreme and sovereign God who made the world and everything in it. In Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses is instructing the people of Israel to follow Joshua’s leadership and to trust in the Lord to carry them to the Promised Land. “Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee (KJV).” The word fail here is also from the root word raphah. According to Psalms 46:10, we are instructed to fail in trying to control our lives. We should come to the end of ourselves and to the point where we give it all to a more-than-capable God. But in Deuteronomy 31:6, we see that God will never fail us. I love how the same root word is used in both of these verses to contrast us and God; our feeble nature and His unlimited power; our finite minds and His infinite wisdom and knowledge.
We may not be able to understand His ways and thoughts, but He doesn't call us to. He calls us to be still before Him - to let go of everything and everyone except Him. This is where we will find peace - in the stillness of His presence.