If you have ever engaged in a titanic wrestling match with an extremely active toddler during a public occasion, you know how constantly you have wanted that independent young soul to just be still! Because of this, it would be easy to assume that this is the idea behind the exhortation of Psalm 46:10—”Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” However, this is not the exact shade of meaning intended by the Hebrew word (raphah) that is translated “be still”. The idea is not “stand still” or “be quiet”; rather, it is “let go” or “become weak”.
Because of the declarations in the first and last verses of the psalm, this expectation makes a lot of sense. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (vv. 1, 11). A refuge is a place of safety, protection, and security. When God is truly your refuge, your actions must correspond. Worry, anxiety, fretfulness, being “in control” are wholly inappropriate for anyone within such a place of divine safety.
In 2 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul relates an occasion in his life in which the divine response was “Be Still”. He had a thorn in the flesh which to him was an obvious weakness and deficiency. He pleaded with God three times to remove this vulnerability from him. The response he received was “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9).
Paul’s response was “most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (vv. 9-10). Within the refuge of Jehovah and His grace, Paul was safe and needed to let go. He gladly did.