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Be Still and Know

November 10th, 2017

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted in the nations; I will be exalted on the earth. (Psalm 46:11)

There is no more holy duty for believers than to still our hearts - barring worry and anxiety from them - and dwelling on the revealed knowledge of God. There is likewise no spiritual activity that is more rewarding for us than this.

Be still - the original Hebrew uses a verb form that emphasizes this as a completed action - an intransitive verb, for all you grammarians. It does not merely say to slow down for a second, or to let our busy and anxious thoughts dwell on a different topic. It means to come to an end to our distractions and to sink down in the reality of God, putting the entire weight of our minds upon Him.

The 46th Psalm is about anxious worrying, fretting about all sorts of worst case scenarios. “We will not fear,” the inspired author says, “though the earth gives way,” in order to swallow us up, it would seem, “though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea” (46:2). It is the unbalanced and unchecked constant thinking about all that can go wrong that destroys spiritual peace in our lives.

There is a point to considering what could go wrong, and to making proper preparations, but our faith in the reality of God, in His faithfulness and power, adds another dimension to this matter. A worrisome mind may prepare logistically for dire circumstances, but at the same time never feel at rest with out a heart of faith in God.

And know - the knowledge of the truth of God can come only by His revelation. He must enlighten our minds before we may know that He is God, and that truth must be embraced with faith in order to be personally appropriated. “No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).

There are some scholars who believe this verse is primarily directed to the nations, and not to the believer. It is the proclamation to those who are not yet His people, calling them to believe and obey Him, to bow before Him and worship Him. If that is the case, it cannot not be said that it means nothing to the believer. It does in fact proclaim a truth that we believers must embrace in our hearts.

The prophetic timeline - we also note that these last two statements, of God’s exaltation among the nations and upon the earth, are placed in order properly according to the prophetic timeline. The first, to be “exalted in the nations” speaks of worship, and means literally to be exalted in the hearts of the many different peoples upon the earth. The Greek translation of the New Testament era used the word “ethne” or “ethnic groups” to convey this thought. As the gospel goes out and is preached among the nations, many bow their hearts to God in faith and believe in Christ, and He is exalted in their hearts.

The second prophetic statement of being “exalted on the earth” speaks of geography - the word is “eretz” and it means the earth itself. When Christ returns He will set up His Millennial Kingdom and reign on earth, fulfilling the kingdom prophecies of the Old Testament.

These two thoughts, of current faith among the people of the world and of a future kingdom established on earth, are meant to bring comfort to our hearts. God is at work in the world and He will bring people of all nations to genuine faith, and He will ultimately establish His kingdom on earth.

These are truths that we are to rest in and take to heart. Faith gives soulful balance to the preparations we make for what the future may bring tomorrow.

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