What do you think of when you hear that sentence? I’ll tell you what I think of… I think of those beautiful backdrops of nature pictures and paintings adorning walls in houses. The peaceful scenery of God’s creation reminding me to take a second, breathe, and rest. God is in control.

Do you know much about the Psalm that gives us this saying?  Take a minute to read it. What you find may surprise you!

You see, while the oft quoted part of verse 10 brings to mind daisies and beaches, lakes and mountains, the context of this Psalm is actually war. Raging war and the trouble it brings. As Charles H. Spurgeon’s “Treasury of David” explains of verse 2:

… [It] set[s] forth the most terrible commotions within the range of imagination, and include the overthrow of dynasties, the destruction of nations, the ruin of families, the persecutions of the church, the reign of heresy, and whatever else may at any time try the faith of believers.

A pictorial background for this Psalm would much more appropriately be:


“Be still, and know that I am God.”

It sounds different now, doesn’t it? It seems a bit out of place to think that this verse is supposed to bring us images of peaceful and beautiful nature landscapes. That our call is to somehow mentally escape to that beauty for just a moment as life crumbles around us. As if that is where God is hanging out and having fun while the carnage of raging war troubles our surroundings.

Instead of this verse being a gentle suggestion to rest in God by being reminded of His beautiful creation, the context of Psalm 46 begs a more active “Be still, and know.” One that is booming from the very mouth of God like thunder that shakes the foundations of man. A warning to the enemies of God’s people to stop fighting; realize that it is God Himself whom you’ve picked a battle with. God “will be exalted among the nations,” “will be exalted in the earth!” Be afraid, enemies of God! Be so afraid that the fear freezes you in place.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

And to God’s people, the active “Be still, and know” is less a call to ponder creation’s beauty and more a call to stop shaking in your boots and fearing the powers of this world. Instead, be in utter awe of the greatness of our God who gives you your strength. “Know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Acknowledge who God is and take heart! He will not be overcome.

So what wars are raging in your life today? What troubles have you frozen in fear or shaking in your boots? Where are you hopelessly fighting God? It’s not too late to recognize it and change course. For those of you honest enough to admit that there are wars in your life and fear, Psalm 46 is for you. It reminds us that He is our refuge, our fortress, our strength. So take courage, take heart, and press on! Press on in His victory, for His glory. For His victory is sure and His glory is great!

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Here is a modern song written from Psalm 46.