Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
The original intent of the author was directed toward the unbelievers in the world that waged war against God’s elected. They were to “be still” and cease their actions against Israel for God was their defender. They may had thought that their attacks against Israel were not against Israel’s god, but when they attacked His people they attacked Him and He would take up their cause, for they were an inseparable part of His purpose.
This verse has often been applied to the Christian life, that we hurry and worry too much and need to sit still and meditate on God’s existence and his greatness. If the enemies of God are called to leave off fighting and contemplate His greatness, how much more should God’s own household do this!
Stillness alone is not commanded but the attitude that ceases to fight against God. We may think that in our little dreams and ambitions we are not waging war against God, but whenever we choose ourselves over God, then we have acted in the same spirit as the world. Much of our inner wrestling is from a concern for ourselves, even if we wrestle in prayer as Jacob did, we like him do so for personal fears and concerns, and the only salvation that God offers includes salvation from ourselves – especially from our selfish plans. Jacob’s hip was dislocated that night he wrestled with God and he walked with a limp from that day forward. Often personal loss accompanies the grace of God, but only loss that makes the greatness of God loom larger in our lives. The default mode of God toward His children is protection and blessings, and just as a loving earthly father would prevent his child from having any amusement that would harm him, so God often does for us.
Our fortunes as God’s people follow and rise on His, and not on our own apart from Him. Our hearts are to embrace the truth that the day will come when every knee shall bow before Christ. If we are to wrestle in prayer for something, then let it be for His goodness and plans, as Christ taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come!” As a pastor I regularly receive prayer requests from people asking for financial miracles. I also receive prayer requests asking for the salvation of people’s family and loved ones, but these are less frequent. In the Model Prayer concern for the Kingdom of God precedes concern for our daily bread.
Cease all thoughts and actions that compete in your heart for the glory of God, and consider that He is God. Psalm 46 describes the blessings of knowing the reality of God in the face of “trouble,” and of finding His hidden reservoir of strength in a spiritually arid world. God is our fortress and in Him we trust.
Lord, we cease the troubled stirring of our souls after the things the world offers, and we come to You for light, for direction, for protection, and for the renewal of our purpose in life. Amen