Be Still

Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings


Where is the place that you find peace? We all have different backgrounds and preferences, but we usually have a place that we go to or a thing that we do in difficult times in order to reach a point of peace. For some, this is visiting with a person. I know some people who in hard times, immediately contact a trusted family member or friend and visit with them and this gives them peace. For others, they simply need to think and they travel to a specific location such as a park. For others, in stressful seasons of life, a vacation or sabbatical is in order and they travel many miles until they reach a destination such as the beach or mountains. We all have different places that help to give us peace.
To echo the thoughts of one person, “Great things happen whenever men and mountains meet.” I love visiting the mountains and seeking the creative power of God in grand ways that we don’t necessarily see here in our neck of the woods. My grandparents were this way and instead of going to the Rocky Mountains, their place was out east in the Appalachian mountains in eastern Tennessee. Out this way there is a place called Cades Cove in the Smokey Mountain National Park where these mountains are majestic and where bears and waterfalls can be found left and right! My grandparents loved to get away to Cades Cove to see God’s creation so much so that whenever they built their house near Lake of the Ozarks, they named the street Cades Cove! This place gave them peace.
Just as some people enjoy visiting the mountains in our world, we see many examples of mountains in Scripture representing various things. Mountains often are associated with the presence of God in both the Old and New Testaments as Moses received the 10 commandments on Mt. Sinai and we know that Jesus gives us access to Mt. Zion as Hebrews 12 talks about. Mountains are a place of refuge and strength.
With that said, mountains are not always safe places to be. The tallest peak on the earth, Mt. Everest, is also one of the most dangerous places due to freezing conditions, violent wind, and avalanches. In our world, danger seems to lurk around every turn. Where there seems to be peace and innocence, there is confusion and danger. In such a world, where is our hope and lasting peace? Obviously, not in anything in this world. It can only be found in the One true, living, God!
As we conclude our study through the Psalms this evening, we’re going to look at one of the most well-known Psalms - Psalm 46. Psalm 46 reminds us that our strength doesn’t come from another person or place, rather it is found in God Himself as He helps us in times of trouble. As a result of this, even in difficult moments, our anthem can and should be that of the Psalmist as we are still and know that God is the one in control.
Psalm 46 CSB
For the choir director. A song of the sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. 1 God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. 2 Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, 3 though its water roars and foams and the mountains quake with its turmoil. Selah 4 There is a river— its streams delight the city of God, the holy dwelling place of the Most High. 5 God is within her; she will not be toppled. God will help her when the morning dawns. 6 Nations rage, kingdoms topple; the earth melts when he lifts his voice. 7 The Lord of Armies is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah 8 Come, see the works of the Lord, who brings devastation on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease throughout the earth. He shatters bows and cuts spears to pieces; he sets wagons ablaze. 10 “Stop fighting, and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” 11 The Lord of Armies is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah


Tonight I want to spend our time looking at 3 exhortations from this text for us to apply to our lives each and every day. 1 negative and 2 positive. My prayer for us is that as we better understand that God is our refuge and in control, that we would better learn to trust in Him and exalt Him rather than trusting in ourselves and being afraid of what is happening.

Because God is in Control… Don’t Be Afraid (1-3)

The context of Psalm 46 is one that many people are not aware of. This Psalm is likely a Psalm of celebration after the Israelite defeat of the Assyrian army. The Assyrians were very powerful and to be feared in the ancient world. We know the story of Jonah and how he preached to the people in Nineveh and told them to repent… Who are the Ninevites? They were Assyrians. Everything we say about Nineveh we could say about the Assyrians. They were ruthless, cruel, and to be feared. As the northern nation of Israel was captured by Assyria in 722 BC, the southern kingdom of Judah was set to be next.
What was happening in Jerusalem at this time? Hezekiah was the king and he was doing some great things. He was one of the few good kings the nation had after Solomon! He had helped restore the nation’s worship of God rather than false idols and he destroyed places of false worship. You would think that because he was doing good things and because the nation was now back to worshipping God that they would experience good things! Yet, we see in context here that they are surrounded by the Assyrian horde and not just a few thousand, 185,000 such soldiers.
We learn more about this from Isaiah 37 and Hezekiah prays to the Lord about the situation. The Assyrian leader, Sennacherib, was an evil man and Hezekiah told the Lord that unless He intervened, they would be absolutely destroyed. Hezekiah, reminiscent of what we read in Daniel 3, has faith in the Lord even in the face of this difficult situation. This is the Lord’s answer in Isaiah 37
Isaiah 37:33–35 CSB
33 “Therefore, this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: He will not enter this city, shoot an arrow here, come before it with a shield, or build up a siege ramp against it. 34 He will go back the way he came, and he will not enter this city. This is the Lord’s declaration. 35 I will defend this city and rescue it for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.”
This is what God tells Hezekiah through the prophet Isaiah. Because of this, Psalm 46 celebrates that God is our refuge and strength. There is no reason to be afraid about a natural disaster or a foreign army because it is the Lord who is in control!
Think about the places that we look whenever things don’t go our way or whenever there is an obstacle before us. It can be easy to run to our peaceful places or to consult another person. These things aren’t bad by any stretch! Whenever I’m stressed out, there are people that I go to. Whenever I need to relax, there are some places that I do like to go. But, first and foremost, where should we look? We should look to our God because He is our strength. He is our strong tower. And as we studied this morning, He is faithful!

Because God is in Control… Trust in Him (4-7)

Because He is faithful, we know that we can trust in Him completely.
The middle of this Psalm speaks to the amount of change that takes place all around us. The Psalmist says that the nations rage, kingdoms topple, the earth melts. Things aren’t exactly going according to plan - and in this moment, it’s ok because the Psalmist has his trust placed in the Lord of Hosts. The Psalmist has hope in the Lord and we read of this hope in Lamentations 3
Lamentations 3:22–24 CSB
22 Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! 24 I say, “The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.”
As one commentator put it, “God’s people will never fall. They will be assured of His readiness to help them.”
The follower of God is able to have hope in difficult times because they trust in the reality that God is in control and that He is to be trusted even in tough times. Because of God’s power and promise, we can have peace even in the midst of turmoil and we can rest assured that nothing catches our God by surprise! He is with us and He holds all things together, therefore our confidence can be the same as that of Paul in Romans 8
Romans 8:31 CSB
31 What, then, are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Romans 8:38–39 CSB
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our hops is not that bad things will not happen, rather our hope is that even in the midst of the bad thing, even as the nations rage, even as the suffering comes, even as the persecution happens, even as we lose loved ones, even as we experience heartbreak, we can have hope because we are in Christ - because He is with us through the fire. Even if He doesn’t save and rescue us from our temporary obstacle, He has already saved us from our ultimate problem: our sin.

Because God is in Control… Do Exalt His Name (8-11)

Because of what God has done, namely we look to the cross, we know that we must exalt and praise Him accordingly! The Psalmist concludes this Psalm by calling on Israel to come behold the works of the Lord. As one commentator put it, “Since God’s people have reason to be glad in distress because of God’s presence, how much greater will be their joy when the causes of distress are no more!” We see in these final few verses that God makes the wars to cease and cuts spears to pieces. Just as He brings devastation and judgment, He also brings about peace. Therefore, He is to be praised.
We are to cease striving, stop fighting, be still - and know that God is God. We do ok with the stop fighting part sometimes, but it can be hard to trust fully in God’s plan and praise Him throughout our day, much less our life. The reminder for us in the text is simply to know that God is God. As we understand and meditate on that truth, we are reminded as well that we are not God. Because of this, we exalt God for being God and for everything that He does for us on a regular basis. He is with us. He is our strength. He is our fortress. Therefore, He must be exalted by His Church because He will one day be exalted by every individual as we are told that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord - don’t wait until it’s too late to do that - do it boldly today!
What is keeping you from being still and worshipping God today? We are busy people, whether we admit it or not. It can be difficult to be still. As one friend put it a few weeks ago, we get so involved in a routine or we look ahead to something coming up that we blink our eyes and days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and before we know it, we have gone through a long amount of time without exalting and thanking God for all that He has done. If we are not careful to make a habit of it, we will fail to exalt His name as often as we should. If we fail to be still, we will be busy. If we are busy, we will leave out important things such as worship.


Where is your peace? Many people try to find peace or look for peace in all the wrong places. Maybe they find peace for a season of life but lasting peace is only found in Christ who is our refuge and strength while the rest of the world topples and finds itself in despair. As you trust that God is in control, think of how you can help others learn to do the same. Certainly, we can’t make anyone see the truth as only the Holy Spirit can do that, but we can lead by example. We can trust in God whenever we’re surrounded by enemies as Hezekiah was. We can lift up a song of praise even whenever we face suffering and tragedy. We can pray for others whenever God impresses them on our heart.
Don’t think of being still in verse 10 as doing nothing. What we see is that we are called to rest confidently in the finished work of God. We not only acknowledge that God is God, we know it. We have faith in Him. We trust in what the Bible teaches. God is in control. Be still and know that He is at work today.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more