Be Still and Know That I AM God
By Wade Anthony Cornelius and William Cornelius
It’s that time again, the end of one year and the beginning of another. Time to think back on what we did (or didn’t) do in 2016 and resolve to do in 2017. This usually consists of promises of self-improvements, professional aspirations, financial milestones, and renewed commitments to friends and family. Among these common resolutions is one that is often overlooked: spiritual goals.
“Physical training is of some value,” said the Apostle Paul, “but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”1 Unlike many of our resolutions there is a verse in Scripture that encourages us to do less not more. It can be found in the book of Psalms and reads:
“Be still and know that I am God.”2
If you’re searching for a spiritual goal, look no further than this deeply profound verse. There is a world of meaning behind its simple imperative. If you determine to follow this command, you will find an increased peace in both your personal or professional ambitions. God calls us from the demands of work, responsibilities at home, the distractions of social media and invites us to be at peace by accepting His authority.
In writing this, I find myself just as guilty as any believer that struggles to surrender to the will of the Divine. I’ve employed every electronic gadget known to man to stay connected to the world for the purpose of, replying to another e-mail, sending another text, and scrolling through another website. I feel compelled to be the captain of my own ship steering it with worry through the professional and personal storms of my life, reluctant to cede control to a Higher Power.
In this New Year, I am resolving to remember to, “Be Still” at every moment anxiety of some kind seeks to disrupt my life and I’m inviting you to do the same. If you’re with me in making this, “Spiritual” resolution in the new year, then let’s take a closer look at this Biblical verse to truly understand what it is we are committing to.
This Psalm and verse was originally written in Hebrew. The Hebrew word for, “still” is, “râphâh”. The definition in the original language gives us a deeper insight into what exactly God intends for us to do. It means to, desist, cease your efforts, to cast down; to let fall; to let hang down; to be relaxed, slackened, especially the hands: It is also employed in the sense of not making an effort; not putting forth exertion.
The definition expresses the idea of leaving matters in the hands of God and not having anxiety about an issue. This is not to say that we should be idle and inactive in our faith expecting God to act on our behalf in all circumstances. Throughout our daily lives we are expected to take action whenever possible for the Glory of God. “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see,” Jesus commanded, ‘so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”3
God hears our prayer of surrender. When life’s problems arise, do everything in your power to take care of the situation. If the problem still persists then, in silence, surrender the person that troubles you, the situation that vexes you, whatever it is that takes away your peace, to God. When you place the problem in God’s hand, peace results. “Father Thy Will Be Done.”
There are many Biblical examples of this: David ran to the battle line to fight Goliath4, Paul preached the Gospel while facing imminent death5 and John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote Revelation while patiently suffering for His testimony of Jesus Christ.6
There are, however, occasions when all we can do is, “be still” and leave our fate to God. Facing uncertainties in our lives or unfair attacks by others are such occasions where human effort is useless and we must, “be still” leaving our fate to the God of all things. “Deliver me from my enemies,” the Psalmist exclaimed, “keep me safe from those that rise up against me.”7
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Jesus proclaimed, “But seek first his kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”8
Without knowledge there is no way to, “know” something. We can know God by having an intimate relationship with Him. That does not come from knowing of Him, but by personally knowing Him through His Holy Word, the Bible. When we read the Bible, we will learn to recognize the way God talks to us, the kinds of things He says, and the merciful love He offers.
…that I am God
In reading Scripture, we learn something of the majesty and overwhelming power of our Creator. We learn that God is:
- Omniscient – all knowing
- Omnipresent – universal presence at the same time
- Omnipotent – all powerful
- Holy, Faithful, and Sovereign
- Infinite – without measure, forever
In many places in Scripture, there is an unusual connection between the human heart and vastness of the universe.
“The Lord heals the broken hearted,” an Old Testament Psalm exclaims, “and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names.”9 The human heart and the stars above don’t seem to belong together in the same thought. Yet this is our Lord’s way of assuring us that an Almighty God who takes care of the great universe is the only One to Whom we can trust our lives.
Our Father longs for us to trust Him and know that He is God above all people and circumstances we face.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” The Apostle Paul exclaimed.
“Shall trouble, or hardship, or persecution, or famine, or death?”10
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”11
In this New Year, you will continue to face challenges and hardships that are common in our everyday lives. This year, however, determine to follow through with the spiritual resolution proposed in this article. Every time a trial comes to you or your family, remember the words of Psalm 46:10:
“Be still and know that I am God” and find comfort in knowing…
…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.”12
1 Timothy 4:8
2 Psalm 46:10
3 The Gospel of Matthew 5:16
4 1 Samuel 17:48
5 Acts 14:18-20
6 Revelation 1:9
7 Psalm 59:1
8 The Gospel of Matthew 6:25-34
9 Psalm 147:3-4
10 Romans 8:35
11 Romans 8:37-39
12 Isaiah 40:31