Psalm 46: Be Still and Know
In a world full of noise and activity, Psalm 46 reminds us of the importance a being still and listening to our God.
Our Noisy World
In his book, The ScrewTape Letters, C.S. Lewis has the devil, ScrewTape, giving instructions to his disciple, Wormwood, on how to lead humans astray. When Wormwood comes up with different creative ways to tempt the man he has been assigned, ScrewTape says he is making it too difficult. All he needs to do is create so much noise in the world that people cannot hear the voice of God. Eighty years later, it seems ScrewTape’s disciples have done their job well.
We are living in an era filled with distractions. Noise from our electronic devices and social media, iphones, ipads, facebook, Instagram, pinterest, twitter, constantly bombard us. Recent studies have shown that our attention spans have been decreasing because of the Internet. We scan through multiple articles, never stopping to read more than five hundred words before being distracted by another article or better yet, a picture or video. We go on-line intent on searching for one item then find ourselves distracted by shiny items that draw us from one article or video to another. Before we know it we’ve forgotten what we were first looking for. We are becoming an ADD nation.
How do we find God in all of this noise? How do we find the stillness required to truly know anything?
Psalm 46 is a prophetic psalm. It is a hymn of victory in war, but it also speaks of a future when there will be no more war. “He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, he burns the chariots with fire.” (9) We need not fear because, “The Lord of hosts is with us. (7, 11)
Often referred to as Luther’s psalm because it had inspired him to write the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is our God,” it continues to inspire confident trust in our ever-present, mighty God. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea.” (1-2) It reminds us that our God is truly in charge. In the midst of natural disasters and calamity, we are to trust in our God. In the midst of war and human destruction, our God is with us, “The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.” (6)
God Is a Fountain Within Us
God is a river, forming a fountain within us. This is not the river that will be found in New Jerusalem as related by the prophets and in the book of Revelation, but God’s own presence, now and in the future. (see also, Psalm 36:9, Is. 32:3; Jer. 2:13; 17:13) “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.” (4-5a) We need to be still to hear its gentle gurgling, to allow it to well up in us as a source of strength and consolation. Like Thoreau, we need to find our own Walden Pond to sit by and allow our God to speak to us.
Be Still and Know
Psalm 46 ends with the instruction to “Be still, and know that I am God.” Amidst all of the craziness which constitutes life on this earth, we don’t have to fear, we need only be still and recognize who is in charge, recognize our God who is found in stillness.
So today, take some time to unplug from the Internet, turn off your phone, and unplug from all of our worries. Take time to be still before our God. Despite all of the information that is available to us today, true knowledge is found in stillness. True knowledge comes from our God.
This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and and receive a free copy of Still Dancing, the second book in my Dancing through Life Series. click here to sign up
(Please note – in order to help ensure you receive email with link to new book, please add my email, firstname.lastname@example.org to your contact list. Some servers are quick to send newsletters to spam or other boxes.)