Psalm 46:10 is a Bible verse we usually refer to when we want to “still” ourselves and listen to God. It is a verse we generally accept as a pep talk to the soul, asking it to be quiet in the presence of the Lord. Is this what Psalm 46:10 means? 🤔
To get the most from the Scriptures, it’s important to read them in context. When you read Psalm 46:10 within the context of the whole Psalm, you begin to see the real meaning emerge. When you take the verse out of context, you will misinterpret it and you won't get God’s intended meaning. 🤚
Before going into the meaning of Psalm 46:10, let’s look at who wrote it.
The Sons of Korah wrote Psalm 46 where you find the famous verse 10. Their father was Korah, who was a descendant of Levi the son of Jacob (Numbers 16:1). They were Levites from the Kohath family (Genesis 46:11).
We know people sang Psalm 46 because the Bible says it was for the attention of the “Chief Musician.” The Psalm must have been important to be given to the chief of the musicians instead of any ordinary musician. 🎶
Charles Spurgeon said in the Treasury of David that “Trifles may be left to commoner songsters, but the most skillful musician in Israel must be charged with the due performance of this song, with the most harmonious voices and choicest music.”
The title of Psalm 46 reads, “A Song for Alamoth.” This implied that the music had to have a high pitch for the treble or soprano voices of the Hebrew virgins. 1 Chronicles 15:20 shows that “alamoth” was a musical term.
Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah were to play the lyres according to alamoth.
🧐 He says,
“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 (NIV)
If you want to understand the meaning of Psalm 46:10, you have to look at it within the context of the whole of Psalm 46.
The writer of Psalm 46 is saying that God is our refuge in times of trouble. God is ready to help us in the present moment and we can place our trust in Him. There is no need to fear no matter what happens around us or on the earth. He stands as the helper of His people in natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, or war. 🌩
The theme of Psalm 46 is the greatness of God and His power to deliver us from things that are beyond our abilities. The writer of the Psalm wants people to understand that it doesn’t matter what we face in life, God is greater. The greater the things we face in life, the less we can deal with them. We are to stop fighting in our strength and allow God to take His rightful place as Savior and deliverer. 🙏
Psalm 46:10 is a direct command from God to stop our futile efforts in dealing with things that are His domain. He asks us to put down our weapons of war and stand in awe of Him and His mighty power. As God, He is sovereign, faithful, omnipotent and unfailing. When all nations of the world see the power of God, they will exalt and honor Him as the one true God.
We are to stop fighting in our strength and surrender to Him who will help us fight our battles. Our human strength cannot match God’s, and it is futile to fight when we would rather leave the matter in God’s hands. 🤲
Let us look at how different Bible versions bring out the meaning of Psalm 46:10.
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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!”
In the ESV Bible version, God issues a command for all people to be still and know He is God. Knowing God means acknowledging His mighty power and His ability to save His people from whatever danger they are facing. They, however, need to move aside and let Him take His rightful place as God.
God is also making a declaration in the second half of this verse. Nations of the earth will exalt Him as the mighty God who is above all and who we cannot compare to any other god. His power is unmatched and unrivaled and the whole earth will know this by His deeds.
“Stop your fighting, and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”
The CSB version of the Bible says, “Stop your fighting,” and we see that it does not mean being quiet and waiting for the Lord to speak. It is a stern warning to the people that it is time to stop fighting wars they can’t win because they are wars that only God can fight. ⚔
The strength of this verse is in the fact that God Himself speaks, it is not a third party relaying His message. This shows how much we should pay attention to it as we read the whole Psalm. The writer of Psalm 46 wants others to know that it is time to acknowledge that continuing to fight in their own strength is to fight a losing battle. And when God fights for His people, everyone will be in awe. 👊
“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The NASB puts the beginning of Psalm 46:10 as “Cease striving.” God is telling the people to stop using their futile human efforts to fight a battle bigger than themselves. They are to stop striving to win and turn to our Lord and let Him take His place in the situation.
Whether they are fighting disasters or enemies, they can’t subdue them. They need God’s help, and when He moves on their behalf, the world will see His sovereignty and worship Him.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
What the bible says in the KJV version is similar to the versions that start with “Be still” but it also mentions that the heathen will exalt God. This is a term that the Israelites used to refer to the pagans, Gentiles, or those who were not the people of God. 🇮🇱
God is saying that those who don't know Him will exalt Him once they see a demonstration of His power. Those who know Him and those who don’t will all exalt Him and acknowledge that He is the true God. All eyes are to focus on Him and revere Him as God Almighty.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
The NLT version of the Bible introduces a new word in the second half of Psalm 46:10. It says that God will be honored by every nation and throughout the world. God will receive honor from those who dwell on the earth because of His mighty deeds. Those who don’t know Him will honor Him because He will do things their gods have never done.
Many times we fight battles in our own effort and grow weary and give in to defeat. This happens because we are fighting a battle that requires God's intervention. He is the one who is undefeated and can conquer any enemy or threat to His people. They only need to put their weapons down.
When the whole world acknowledges that only God has the power to save them from the dangers and disasters they face, they will honor Him. As God, He is involved in the affairs of mankind because He never intended for us to operate without Him.
Psalm 46:10 urges us to stop for a moment and turn our attention to Him as the God who fights our battles. We are to surrender our weapons and let Him take charge. If we don't stop our frantic efforts to solve our insurmountable problems, we will never know that He is there to help us. 🙏
Psalm 46:10 has a deeper meaning when we understand it within the context of the whole Psalm. Its meaning goes beyond an individual to everyone on earth. In the world, we face things that are insurmountable without God. We are to keep our eyes on Him who can miraculously deal with the things we are trying to solve in our strength.
When you surrender to God, He can take charge of the situation. He is your refuge in times of trouble and the one who can subdue your enemies who rise against you. Be still and know He is God! 🙋♂
👉 If you are looking for inspiration for your spiritual walk, read this digest of Powerful Life Lessons from Psalms, written by Jim.
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