The REAL Meaning Of Be Still And Know That I Am God (2023)

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Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

There’s so much richness and beauty that can be found in the Psalms. It doesn’t matter what you are going through, there’s likely a Psalm that you can relate to.

Psalm 46:10 is a popular Bible verse that I think has a powerful message for us today. So in this blog post I want to look at the meaning of “be still and know that I am God.”

If you take a few minutes to look through this passage I think your faith will be encouraged. Let’s jump in and look at the deeper meaning of this verse.

The REAL Meaning Of Be Still And Know That I Am God (1)

The Context Of Psalm 46:10

To understand the meaning of “be still and know that I am God,” we need to look at the context in which it was first written.

When we only look at one verse out of the an entire chapter we will often miss the true depth and beauty of what God’s word is communicating to us.

Psalm 46 is a short psalm spanning only 11 verses. And in these few verses the Psalmist exalts God for being a “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.”

We don’t know what the threat that the Psalmist was facing. It was likely penned after God rescued God’s people from some threat. We know it was written about Jerusalem (Psalm 46:4), so it’s reasonable to assume they were attacked. Much of this passage is written with war language.

While this Psalm is written on a national level about God protecting Israel, that doesn’t mean there isn’t application for us today. Actually, I think the context of this makes the Psalm more powerful.

The Psalms describes a time where the world is falling apart. We’ve all had a time like that, where the foundations of our life are shaken. Yet despite the calamity Psalm 46 proclaims that God is a fortress and we need not fear. That was true for the nation of Israel thousands of years ago, and it’s true for us today.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a reminder that I need in my life.

What’s really interesting about Psalm 46 is that the majority of it is written in the third person as the Psalmist speaks about God. But when we get to Psalm 46:10 there’s a shift to first person as the Lord speaks.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Before we dive into the meaning of “be still and know that I am God” you can read the whole Psalm here: Psalm 46 (and you should).

The Meaning Of Psalm 46:10

Now that we know the context of Psalm 46:10 we can look at the richness and the depth found in the meaning of “be still and know that I am God.”

Be Still

We tend to associate this command to “be still” as to be quiet in God’s presence. And while quietness is certainly something we are told to do in the Bible, that’s not really what “be still” means in this verse.

The Hebrew word for “still” that’s used in Psalm 46:10 is Raphah (רָפָה) and it means to “sink down, relax, let go, cease striving, or withdraw.”

Remember the context of this verse, it’s a time of conflict of war. This isn’t a call to be quiet, it’s a command to stop fighting. “Be still” means to stop the frantic activity, to let go and put down your weapons of war. Why? Because God’s in control.

Think of Jesus calming the storm. The disciples were fighting the waves frantically trying to save themselves. But really all they had to do was be still and look at the one who could calm the storm with just a few words.

Being still meanings to cease fighting and instead trust God to be our help in a time of need.

Know That I Am God

What happens when we are still? We can know God.

To know means to “be aware of” or to “properly ascertain through sight.” When things are chaotic and there’s destruction all around we will be tempted to respond accordingly. To try and calm the storm ourselves or pick up our weapons and fight.

But the meaning of Psalm 46:10 shows us a different path. Instead we should “be still and know that I am God.” God is still in control, we need not worry or fight. Rather we ought to look to him.

You see when we are frantically running around trying to do everything ourselves, we loose sight of God. We forget about his power. When we are still we can remind ourselves that God’s got us in his hands.

Knowing that he is God means that we acknowledge him and place our trust in him.

I Will Be Exalted Among The Nations,I Will Be Exalted In The Earth

The Psalmist here is placing God in his rightful spot. It’s not about us it’s about God.

When we neglect to be still we can start building our own kingdoms and make everything about us. That path leads to a faulty foundation. When we place God in his proper place and recognize it’s his kingdom, then we will find peace… even if the world is falling apart.

When we are still and acknowledge God he will be exalted on earth.

Meaning Of Be Still And Know That I Am God For Us Today

Now that we’ve looked at the meaning of “be still and know that I am God,” let’s look at how we can apply this verse to our lives.

Here’s 3 things you can do to live out the Psalm 46:10 meaning in your life.

1. Stop

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own lives and what’s happening around us. We can quickly loose sight of God and instead try to do everything ourselves.

The command of this verse is to be still. To stop our frantic activity. To recognize it’s not us who’s in control. We put far too much pressure on ourselves and fail to instead rely on God for our needs.

We are carrying burdens and fighting battles we were never intended to.

Stop. Let go. Relax. Withdraw. Look to God instead.

2. Recenter

The purpose of stopping isn’t just for stopping sake. It’s to recenter, or refocus our life on the one who is actually in control.

When we are going at a frantic pace we are acting like it all falls on us. But God is the one who can calm the storms of our life. We need to remind ourselves of that.

There’s two ways you can do this. First is by getting into God’s Word. Look at what he’s done and look at his heart for his people.

Second is by remembering what he’s done for us personally. We tend to focus on the problems in front of us rather than the storms he’s brought us through in the past. Look back and remember how faithful God has been.

When you stop, you can recenter your life on God.

3. Walk With God

Once our life is recentered we can walk with God. We can walk in the love, the peace, the joy that he has for us.

We tend to think that the good life is found when we go after what we want. When we fight for our rights. When we demand what we deserve. But this verse teaches us that it’s when we give up and look to God that we will get what we are after.

Stop. Recenter. And walk with God. Then you will find what you are after.

You might also like: What Jesus Said About The Good Life (the beatitudes explained simply)

Closing Thoughts On Psalm 46:10

I love how Psalm 46 ends, “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

God is with you. He has something incredible for you. And even though the world might be falling apart around you, you can still experience peace in the presence of the Lord.

I love how Dr Tom Constable sums up this verse: “The Lord’s presence indwelling His own people should inspire trust and confidence. No external calamity or hostile adversary can overthrow the place where the Lord of Armies resides. Today the Lord does not reside in a tabernacle building but in His people.”

So, be still and know that he is God. God is with you.

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Jeffery Curtis Poor

Husband. Father. Pastor. Church Planter. Writer. Trying to be more like Jesus each day.

BA in Biblical Studies - Ozark Christian College (2012)
MA in Theology - Regent University (2019)

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