“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
One thing I have been learning in the whole “shelter in home” world we live in now is that it is hard to be still. Although I am able to come to the church office during the week, I spend most of my time doing work on the computer, my cell phone, and using social media for a wide variety of uses.
My weekly prayer meeting with local pastors is on a conference call, my doctor appointments and physical therapy is via a video app and even our church services are on Facebook live. Face to face meetings are cancelled or postponed. I can’t visit people in the hospital or nursing homes.
At home, my favorite live programming is college basketball, golf, racing, and other sports that might draw my short attention span as I flip through the channels. At the onset of the coronavirus, all of that changed dramatically. There is no live sports programming and there is just so much Covid-19 updates I can take. So I am forced to do something with this time of “sheltering at home.” Thus, I have had to learn to be still.
David wrote the great Psalm 46 at a time of war and chaos with the pagan nations surrounding Israel. He came to understand that even when he was out armed and outmanned, that he would need to rely on God in this time of crisis and peril. As king, he knew his and Israel’s only hope was to trust God. David learned that God is his refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. That meant he had to be still and rely on God.
Be still can also be translated as stop fighting
GotQuestions.org explains it this way:
This is a call for those involved in the war to stop fighting, to be still. The word still is… “to slacken, let down, or cease.” In some instances, the word carries the idea of “to drop, be weak, or faint.” It connotes two people fighting until someone separates them and makes them drop their weapons. It is only after the fighting has stopped that the warriors can acknowledge their trust in God. Christians often interpret the command to “be still” as “to be quiet in God’s presence.” While quietness is certainly helpful, the phrase means to stop frantic activity, to let down, and to be still.
Before Covid-19, you and I were distracted by all of our everyday activity. Once the Covid-19 war began, we soon found ourselves frantically fighting an invisible enemy. We were also fighting to keep jobs, fighting to have enough supplies, and fighting to keep our head above water. Many were literally fighting this illness and others were fighting health issues not related to Covid-19. Many more are on the front lines frantically fighting to provide medical care to those who have Covid-19.
We were frantic about our church family, our preschool, our worship services, our programs, and our ministries. All of this came upon us and it took a few days to sink in. We are beginning to settle in to a “new normal.” Now we are learning what it truly means to be still.
As the war against Covid-19 became more global, Brazil had the robes of the Christ the Redeemer Statue lit up in all the flags from the nations who had reported this disease. This image is a symbol of solidarity that we are fighting this enemy together. On that huge statue of Jesus overlooking Rio, is a great illustration of what the second part of this verse is saying. When we are still and know that God is God and in control, He will be exalted among the nations.
Are you frantic? Worried? Stop fighting. Be still and know He is God. Once we do, then those around us will want to know how we can be still in the midst of chaos and crisis. Our answer is because we know Jesus, our refuge and strength and ever present help in trouble.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.