A Scripture study from Caring, part four of four.

Read part three here.

Part 4: Psalm 46:10 is not only about being still

Behind the scenes

Read what Scripture says in Psalm 46.

Beyond the surface 

The purpose of this series of studies has been to look deeper to see how important context and faithful interpretation of God’s Word is. We have had some fun with “facts” that actually appear nowhere in Scripture, and learned a few skills along the way:

  1.     We are aware that culture and personal experience can skew meaning and application of Scripture.
  2.     Because we so often hear quotes and verses attributed to the Bible, we can get a partial picture—at best—if we do not look deeper. Be inquisitive. Ask questions of the text.
  3.     Know that context is everything. Find out about the author and dig into the theme and message of the book. What did it mean to the hearer, and how do all of these affect our understanding of the individual Scriptures’ message to us today?
  4.     When choosing only a snippet or portion of the whole narrative, the intended meaning can be distorted or convey the wrong message altogether.

Entire dogmas have become part of the church based on tradition rather than Scripture. Did you know that:

  • There is no mention of Mary remaining a virgin after Jesus’ birth?
  • There are no suggestions in Scripture indicating that crosses should be hung on the walls of churches, mounted on roofs or appear in church buildings? This is tradition that developed within church history over the centuries.
  • Jesus never even hinted about an “order of worship” to be followed. He focused mostly on outdoor ministry and informal teaching in the homes of those who invited him in.
  • The idea of praying with hands folded is not found in the Bible.
  • Pews, pulpits and altars are tools of the modern church, each carrying theological meaning.
  • The idea that church music should be reflective, subdued or played on an organ happen post-Revelation. The Psalmists worshiped with loud clashing cymbals, raising their voices, shouting and adding drums and trumpets.
  • Jesus’ command to baptize does not mention water but appears to be a Spirit-baptism (see Mark 1:8).

I hope that your belief systems are not shaken nor your sensibilities too scarred, but rather that you are encouraged to study and have a loving debate with friends over your own church traditions. Are we keeping our eyes on Jesus?

In part four, we are looking at the ways in which we take small portions of verses to add to our own “theological mind vaults.” Honestly, the biggest travesty committed against this verse is that only a piece of it is quoted. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10a). Period.

It is so succinct and quotable. It fits easily on our coffee mugs, screensavers and wall hangings. Painters and photographers superimpose this verse over majestic backgrounds, and craftsmen carve these words into their art.

Perhaps the greatest justice we can provide in response is to actually quote the verse in its entirety. Because there is more. He says,Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth” (Ps. 46:10).

Is there not a peace that comes—something deeper that gives us strength—to “be still”? There is trust and honor that is laid at his feet as we know that God is in control. We are his loved children, and our Father is to “be exalted above all nations” across the earth. Nothing in the world can stop God from accomplishing his will!

But it’s not that easy, is it? Our minds race though our bodies crave rest. We cannot let go, because we do not allow ourselves to fully trust. Overwhelming stress has become our unwelcome companion and we run at a pace we cannot maintain. “We’re fine. Fine. Really.” “Everything’s OK. How about you?” Each phrase said without depth or authenticity.

When Jesus calms the sea (Matt. 8:18-22) we are captured by his sovereignty over creation. That very word, “calms,” literally means “all conflict ceasing.” When we experience hard circumstances—impossible passages in our lives—it does not mean God is disciplining us or is angry or has turned his back on us. Our God is not powerless, which sometimes makes our hard situations more difficult to understand.

“Sometimes he calms the storm, and other times he calms his child,” said a friend, Major Rob Reardon.

Be still; God is close. He speaks to us in the storms. He hears our voice and we are never alone. Today is not an extension of every day in our future. One day the storm will be over and that will be a day of miracles. The day when we can understand fully the truth of Psalms 46:10: He says, “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” We can rest. We can be still, knowing that nothing can stop God from accomplishing his will.

Further backup:

  • Matthew 8:18-22
  • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Between the lines

  • Why do you think it is so hard to be “still”?
  • In what areas do you need to trust more fully that God is in control?
  • Joni Erickson Tada is a witness for Christ living with quadriplegia, who says, “I will walk. I will dance with Jesus one day.” In light of Psalms 46:10, how is it possible for trust and hope to move us forward even when we do not see the answer or resolution?
  • What is one thing you have learned in this series?

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