Exalted In All the Earth
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
The Psalmist was having a really bad day! Everything around him was out of control. His problems were so severe that it seemed the mountains were being thrown into the sea and the earthquake was shaking the earth! His political world was turned upside down: The nations raged, and he felt threatened on every side (see Psalms 46:1-3,6). We don’t know how much of this was actual and how much was metaphorical, but either way he was in big trouble.
In the midst of all the turmoil, God spoke to him and said calmly, “ be still, and know that I am God.” The Lord didn’t run around trying to fix everything, he didn’t direct the psalmist to work like crazy to make everything right. Work might come later, but for now, he needed God’s perspective. And the only way to get it was to stop, look, listen, and remember the goodness and greatness of Almighty God. When the time was right, God‘s grace and strength would be evident in nature and on the political scene, and He would reign where chaos had existed.
Modern society produces tremendous stress. Expectations are sky high, and opportunities quickly morph into demands for more things, better opportunities, and higher achievements,. Some of our stresses come from outside, but we create many others. What ever the source, God stands in the midst of our chaotic lives. When everything seems to be coming unglued, he whispers “Stop. Be still. Listen to me, and be sure that I can do anything that needs to be done”. Will you listen?
“I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this book upon reason that you can, and the balance of faith, and you will live and die a better man”.
In times like these most of us need to hear these words, “be still.” Whenever we’re facing adversity it’s good to pause and remember that God is with us and for us. As the Israelites were leaving Egypt on their way to the Promised Land they encountered as obstacle- the Red Sea. They had no means to cross it and to make matters worse they began to hear the sounds of Pharaoh’s chariots coming their way. We must remember that these were slaves newly released from bondage and a rigidly structured life. They had no clue how to respond to things like this and their fear began to rule the day. From happy people leaving Egypt the day before to fearful and angry people, they began to panic. In the midst of their panic Moses spoke to the people:
Then Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid! Take your stand [be firm and confident and undismayed] and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for those Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm.”
How often do we need to hear those same words: “The Lord will fight for you while you only need to keep silent and remain calm.” I think one of the strategies of the devil is to get us in a panic so that we don’t think clearly. In the case of the Israelites, in their panic they forgot all the other things God had done to bring about their release from slavery and we, too, forget all that God has done to release us from the prison of sin. I think that if we can pause, take a breath, and listen; we will hear how God is taking care of us in our adversity. It’s hard to hear the voice of God among the clamor of panic.
Reading through the story of the journey of Israel through the wilderness we find that in almost every time of testing they forgot all the previous times God had provided for them. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10 tells us that they met every situation with murmuring and complaining. Because of that they died in the wilderness. How we face adversity affects the outcome. We can busy ourselves focusing on the obstacles and the encroaching calamity or we can choose the way of silence and trust. The psalmist instructs us to “be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!” What brings calm to our souls is the recognition that God rules and reigns over the nations and the earth. We must know that if God rules over the earth then He also rules over all that affects our lives.
If you are facing some adversity today, let me suggest that you stop the panicking rush of thoughts and cease the useless chatter and become still. And in the silence it just may be that you will hear the calming voice of God saying to you, “I got this. Let me handle it for you!”
Dr. John Thompson