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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 46:10



"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Adam Clarke Commentary

Be still, and know that I am God - הרפו harpu, Cease from your provocations of the Divine justice; cease from murmuring against the dispensations of his providence; cease from your labor for a season, that ye may deeply reflect on the severity and goodness of God - severity to those who are brought down and destroyed; goodness to you who are raised up and exalted: - cease from sin and rebellion against your God; let that disgrace you no more, that we may no more be brought into distress and desolation.

Know that I am God - Understand that I am the Fountain of power, wisdom, justice, goodness, and truth.

I will be exalted among the heathen - By the dispensation of punishments, the heathen shall know me to be the God of justice; by the publication of my Gospel among them, they shall know me to be the God of goodness.

I will be exalted in the earth - I will have my salvation proclaimed in every nation, among every people, and in every tongue.

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These files are public domain.

Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Be still - The word used here - from רפה râphâh - means properly to cast down; to let fall; to let hang down; then, to be relaxed, slackened, especially the hands: It is also employed in the sense of not making an effort; not putting forth exertion; and then would express the idea of leaving matters with God, or of being without anxiety about the issue. Compare Exodus 14:13, “Stand still, and see the salvation of God.” In this place the word seems to be used as meaning that there was to be no anxiety; that there was to be a calm, confiding, trustful state of mind in view of the displays of the divine presence and power. The mind was to be calm, in view of the fact that God had interposed, and had shown that he was able to defend his people when surrounded by dangers. If this the divine interposition when Jerusalem was threatened by the armies of the Assyrians under Sennacherib, the force and beauty of the expression will be most clearly seen.

And know that I am God - See, in what I have done, the evidence that I am God. See a work accomplished which none “but” God could effect. Compare Isaiah 37:36.

I will be exalted among the heathen - That is, among the nations. The nations abroad that do not worship me, but worship idols, shall see in these deeds full proof that I am the true God, and that I am worthy of universal adoration. Compare the notes at Daniel 3:28-29; notes at Daniel 4:1-3, notes at Daniel 4:37. See also Exodus 9:16; Romans 9:17.

I will be exalted in the earth - In the lands abroad; all over the world. The defeat and destruction of the armies of Sennacherib were eminently suited to make a deep impression on the world that the God of the Hebrew people was the true God.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 46:10

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Stillness and the knowledge of God

There is a class of persons who are designated by divines and Church historians as Quietists. They have not formed a community, but they have been found in all communities. They are not distinguishable by their doctrines so much as by a certain temper or habit of mind. They are to be traced among the Religious Orders of the fourteenth century, amidst the tumults of the Protestant sects in the sixteenth, in our Civil Wars, in the splendour and corruption of the French capital under Louis XIV., in the bustle and restlessness of those days. Now, it is not fair to judge of these men from the representations of their opponents, or even from their own accounts, unless we know their surrounding circumstances; but in so far as they showed dislike to energetic qualities, to conflicts, and to mixture with their fellow-men, so far their spirit seems alien from that which we discern in the holy men whom the Bible tells of. For they seem to be living always in contention and strife, and they confess that they are meant to live in it. How can a Quietist accept the Psalms? must it not be to him a very uncongenial book? How could the man after God’s own heart have been a warrior and yet have given thoughts and prayer and music to the Church in all periods? For there is a Sabbatical character in these psalms. They have a quiet of their own; all feel that. It has been their charm to the weary and tempest-tossed pilgrims; they have taught man how to commune with his own heart, how to be still, how to rest in the Lord and to wait patiently for Him. And through man knowing thus the secret of being still, he has been able to toil manfully. And this is the quietism of the psalms, quietism in the midst of action, which only one who hears the call to act, and obeys it, can understand or prize. The ground of such quiet is given in our text. Only the belief of a Presence near us, with us, can inspire habitual awe, can keep us steady when all things are rocking around us, can take away the eagerness to move, or the cowardice which paralyzes movement. “Be still and know.” You cannot know this deep and eternal truth unless you are still. If you keep the waters of your spirit in continual stir, you will see nothing in them, or only the reflection of your own perturbed self. “Be still and know that I am God.” You may wonder to observe how often this form of speech is adopted in Scripture. He says, “I am God,” not a conception of your minds, not One whom you make what He is by your mode of thinking of Him, but a living Person. And He is not a mere Being, not a mere Ruler, but the perfectly good Being, the perfectly righteous Ruler. And He alone can show you what the perfect goodness is. Israel had been trained in a school of suffering to feel the emptiness and falsehood of all visible creature worship, and that God alone was the Unseen King and Deliverer; they must seek in stillness to know Him, and must confess Him to be the Lord of their once revolted spirits, which in their efforts to be independent had become abject slaves. But the lesson would have been imperfect without the words that follow: “I will be exalted among,” etc. Israel was not to despise the nations round about, or to think them of no value in God’s sight. To do that was to despise God. Even as a comfort in any disaster, individual or national, the belief in God’s presence, in His personality, in His goodness, would have been unsatisfactory, if it had not been accompanied with this belief in His power, with this assurance that it would one day make itself manifest over the universe, and would crush all that opposed it. It is a great question for us to ask ourselves, whether both these dangers are not assailing us at this time, and from the same cause? The words, “Be still and know that I am God,” sound like strange words in the ears of most of us. “How can we be still,” we ask, “while all things are in movement, while all things are unsettled? How can we be still while every one is hasting to be rich, hasting to get beyond his neighbour? How can we be still when all the political world is full of slumbering fires, ready to break forth? How can we be still while all the religious world is full of controversies, tumults, hatreds?” The answer surely should be, “Because there is all this mutation, restlessness, insecurity, therefore this is the very time to obey the command, Be still. For assuredly if we do not, we never shall know that the Lord He is God; we shall not believe, however we may pretend it, that He abides, and that He is with us, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the depths of the sea.” And if we have not that belief, what other can we have? What other will be worth anything to us? (F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

God’s working in the world

The words, “Be still, and know that I am God,” have usually been taken as an invitation to believing hearts to trust and not be afraid. It is very natural that this should be so, especially as that interpretation harmonizes with the prevailing message of the psalm. As a matter of fact, however, they seem to have been addressed to the enemies of God’s people, those who were making war upon them oppressively. The words are not a message of soothing but an utterance of prohibition: Do still. Desist from making war upon My people, and know that I am God, God whose will it is that all nations should own His sovereign sway.

1. Let us consider the words first from this point of view, which is that of the psalmist. Then we can go on to think of them in the sense in which faith has loved to interpret them. “Be still from war, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” Admittedly, when God is exalted among the nations in the earth, there will be no more war. Where selfishness and tyranny have given place to obedience to God and consequent love to man war cannot possibly be. It is quite true that God has made desolations in the earth by means of war. From the history of Israel to the history of England the Spirit of the Lord has come upon God-fearing men, and bidden them make war either in self-defence or in defence of the weak against some tyrant. On the other hand, it is equally true that God maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth. The more God-fearing a nation becomes, the more reluctant it is to make war. The knowledge of God involves forbearance towards enemies, the desire to use every persuasion rather than come to an open rupture. Above all, it involves regard for human life and for the sentiment of goodwill amongst men, which is more precious even than life. God says that men are not to learn war any more, but to learn to know Him. Let be, and know that I am God; and let all the nations know. Go ye into all the world, not carrying weapons of war, but the Gospel of peace.

2. In the second place, let us take the words of our text in the more generally accepted sense. It is almost a commonplace that men in the midst of trial do not think of the love of God except to conclude that tie has forgotten to be gracious. And yet all the time He is keeping watch, as much is the time of darkness as in the light. I sometimes think that life is like a voyage regarded from the point of view of a passenger. Some travellers are good sailors, others are not. Some make their voyage easily, others not; but the captain of the vessel is equally concerned for the lives and safety of all. While you are lying in your berth ill during the storm you don’t blame the captain because the sea is rough. You do not see the man at his post on the bridge while you are below, but you are quite sure he is there. You saw him there during the fair weather when you were on deck. You noticed his vigilant care even when the sea was calm. You do not imagine for a moment that his vigilance is relaxed during the storm. God is watching over your soul in all its voyage through life. No storm can endanger your safety if you are trusting Him. But you will make shipwreck of your life if you take the control of it out of His hands in time of storm. I do not wish to pretend for a moment that faith is always easy, that it is easy to put a restraint upon impatience. But the effort must be made. It is calamitous if in the storms of life we lose our faith in the Captain. If we obey His order, “Be still, and know that I am God,” our confidence and peace will be maintained. Trouble does not always become easier to bear with time: sometimes it becomes harder; and there is nothing left but a choice between faith and despair. George Eliot well expresses this when she says: “The first shock of trouble may produce an excitement which is transient strength. It is in the slow changed life that follows--in the time when sorrow has become stale--in the time when day follows day in dull unexpectant sameness, and trial is a dreary routine--it is then that despair threatens; it is then that the peremptory hunger of the soul is felt, and eye and car are strained after some unlearned secret of our exist once, which shall give to endurance the nature of satisfaction.” Whether we recognize it or not, glumness is the result of shutting the door of our heart against the Holy Spirit, and putting our foot against it. No sufferer is ever glum who says, “I cannot close my heart to Thee who seekst me through pain.” They sometimes call it” temperament; it is selfishness pure and simple, the refusal to cultivate a heart at leisure from itself to soothe and sympathize, the refusal to cultivate the sympathetic spirit which rejoices with those that rejoice and weeps with those that weep.

3. We are not all sufferers, by any means, and many of us are active workers for God. There is a message for us also in this verse, “Be still, and know that I am God.” We sometimes leave too small a part for God in our work. We think that our carefully prepared sermon or lesson will do its own work, and forget to pray that the Holy Spirit may carry it home. We can teach truth. God alone can make that truth life-giving. Recall the legend of Pygmalion and Galatea. The sculptor Pygmalion had made a perfect statue of a beautiful woman. She was so beautiful that he fell in love with her. But one thing he could not do, and that was to give her life. So he prayed to the goddess of love and she granted his petition and touched the statue into life. Burne-Jones has painted the incident in four scenes, which he calls--“The Heart Desires; . . . The Hand Refrains; . . . The Godhead Fires; . . . The Soul Attains.” Every Christian worker must pass his work through these four stages if he is to be successful. (R. M. Moffat, M. A.)

The realm of silence

The realm of silence--do we know anything about it? In these days of push and rush and roar, is it possible to got any appreciation for the calm and unruffled and retired spaces of existence? When one begins to speak of stillness some are afraid. “Everything was so still, I was frightened,” said a lady friend to me of her experience in a retired part of Wordsworth’s Lake District. Be still--and know. There are some forms of knowledge which necessitate stillness. Self-knowledge, God-knowledge--these can never be had until we have learned to be still. “Stand still and see the salvation of God.” “Their strength is to sit still.” If God had not divided our life into days, and compelled us to sleep, we should run out our energy in a very few years of perpetual dissipation. In some countries it would not be necessary to insist, on stillness as a condition of knowledge. Where people are temperamentally cairn and reflective we might leave the parts of the Bible which insist on a wise passiveness in life. There is a difference--an immense difference--between the spirit of the old Bible times as represented in the Psalms and our own as represented in the newspapers. “The times explain everything:” fuss, and excursion, and noise, and rattle, and panic, and dissolution, and bank-failure, and bankruptcy, and political crises. It is very significant how all the greatly inspired men were trained in the school of silence. Moses, hidden away forty years in the loneliness of sheep pastures, and again forty days in the depths of Sinai, and when he came down his face shone. That told the story. Ezekiel, sauntering by the way of the river alone. Isaiah saw the King in His beauty when no one was with him. Daniel was accustomed (it was an old habit of his) to go into the quiet of his chamber three times a day. Paul must spend three lonely years in Arabia. John must go to Patmos before he could write the Book of the Revelation and see earth and its history from the height of heaven. Without large spaces of stillness there can be no deep thoughtfulness--Sabbath. And an age which is all rattle, and roar and noise, and self-advertisement, and theatricality needs, if any age ever needed it, to be called back to the fact that there is a kind of knowledge which can never be had except in stillness. But to-day there is no silence, no privacy, and men seldom hear the voice of God speaking in the depths of their own spirit, as did Elijah in his cave. We are full of opinions. They have floated our way and got lodgment, like thistledown in the hair, but they are not ours. They belong to the general community. Nothing is really ours which is not a conviction, something in which we are rooted and grounded. The point I want to make emphatic is this: that every man has his own personal relation to God, positive or negative, as every flower has its own personal relation to the sun; that there are forms of knowledge which are external and common--like bought furniture in a house, these belong to us in communities--but there is a knowledge which is to be had only in the stillness of devout meditation--the soul’s personal knowledge of God. “Be still, and know that I am--that I am God.” It does not come from effort. It comes from reposefulness. Often it is true of men, “Their strength is to sit still”; to sit still as the painter before a great master, simply receiving, as a child reposing in its mother’s arms. The more active, busy and forceful our external life is, the greater the necessity for Sabbath spaces of stillness in the unrevealed centres of our human life. The storm-swept lake reflects no stars, and the perpetually busy, energetic and unquiet life, like “the troubled sea which cannot rest,” makes no response to the overarching heavens, gemmed with those Divine promises of immortality which have purified and ennobled the souls of God’s elect saints. Let us remember that all depths are silent, depths of space as well as depths of thought. The o’erbrooding heavens are silent, speechless to all but the most meditative souls. Extreme emotions of all kinds are silent. (R. Thomas.)


There is not a heart assailed by trouble, and trembling at the prospect of further ills to come, to which the voice of encouragement and heavenly assurance is not at this moment saying, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

I. It is addressed, above all others, to the careful, who knowing not what a day may bring forth, out of that ignorance draw fear and anxiety that knows no rest. Is there One who feeds the young lion and clothes the grass of the field, and shall He not much more feed and clothe thee, O thou of little faith? If God be for thee who can be against thee?

II. He who is earnestly looking for the truth, with serious search and humble inquiry and importunate prayer seeking to be taught more of the love of Christ and the will of God, and who makes it part of his daily joy and duty to search the Scriptures that so he may grow in the knowledge his soul desires, that man finds his task a healthy exercise; no feverish excitement waits upon his inquiry, but more and more of peace is shed over his heart and life as he advances in this heavenly knowledge.

III. Impulsive hearts that rise with every hope and sink with every discouragement in the work of life, full of purposes and aims for good, seizing upon every instrument to help them, and finding the insufficiency of each, and with every successive failure adding to that store of disappointment which may one day overlay the springs of hope within them; or minds of steadier energy ever active and not easily east down, who have thrown their strength into labours of love and usefulness, but are struggling to do the Lord’s work without the arm of the Lord, who are ever ready to charge their failures upon secondary causes, and to impute their successes to the instruments used in effecting them, these perhaps are taught at length that “the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong,”

IV. When ambition is fretting the mind and distracting it with worldly hopes and jealousies, when the flattery of man on the one hand and the selfishness of man on the other are stirring up delusive expectations and creating bitter disappointments, when all the influences of earthly desire and the fascinations of wealth and honour and ease are leading a man on to trust the shadows of strength which many have fatally trusted before, to believe in idle promises, to exaggerate unmeaning professions, to sacrifice an honest independence, to let meanness creep into his spirit and the fever of self-seeking into his veins, the Word of the Lord says to that foolish heart, “Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of? Be still, and know that I am God.”

V. When we are called upon to work out our own salvation it is with fear and trembling indeed, but with the calm assurance nevertheless that it is God which worketh in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. Be still then and put your trust in the blood of the everlasting covenant; work, but work in peace and the spirit of an unofficious service; seek your God, not as the prophets of Baal did, with extravagant zeal and obtrusive crying and impatient torturing of their flesh, but as Elijah the prophet of the Lord, who in calmness and confidence “at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice came near and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel and that I am Thy servant,”

VI. “To strive about words to no profit but to the subverting of the hearers,” to make religion the work of a babbling tongue and a contentious spirit, to think that the victory of truth is to be won as nations win their victories in the field, by planting army against army, meeting rage with rage, and stratagem with stratagem, and clamour with clamour; this is not pleasing to the Lord, who says--(2 Timothy 2:24).

VII. And ye, the Children of habitual sadness, who live among the memories of the past and carry sorrow with you as your heart’s raiment, and would not part with that familiar companion which lives with hope and faith in your breast, and is sanctified with that holy communion, forget not that human grief carries with it and will always retain the seeds of mortal rebellion; the impulses of natural affection and the longings of human passion will break out from time to time; and many a heart whose burthen has long been cast upon the Lord, which has long been familiar with the love of Christ, which has long felt the consolation of prayer and the strength of the Word of God, has moments when it would seem as if the whole lesson of trust must be learnt again, moments of unrest and craving in which it longs for the voice that shall gently call it back to the Cross and whisper, “Be still, and know that I am God!” (A. D. Macleane, M. A.)

“Be still”

The command is assuring. Fear not for the ark, for the kingdom, for yourself. God will not fail.

I. Why we need this injunction, “Be still!”

1. On account of our ignorance and presumption, we see but a fragment of God’s design and work. If we saw the whole campaign and consummation!

2. Haste and rashness of our judgment.

3. Conclusions without taking God into account.

II. The stillness enjoined not that of indolence, indifference, stoicism or despair, but of humility, observation, expectation.

III. Thus see God in all, riding the whirlwind, bringing forth judgment unto victory. (Homiletic Review.)

Be still and believer

It is not easy to be still in this rough and restless world. Yet God says, “Be still”; and He says also (Isaiah 30:15).

I. Be still, and thou shalt know i can put all enemies to shame.

II. Be still, and thou shalt know that i can uphold my own truth in a day of error. IS not My truth precious to Me? And My Book of truth, is it not above all books in Mine eyes? I am God.

III. Be still, and thou shalt know that i car say to the nations, peace, be still. The waves rise, but I am mightier than all. These tumults do not touch My throne. Take no alarm because of this world-wide resistance to My authority and law. I am still God.

IV. Be still, and thou shalt see the glorious issue of all these confusions. This world is My world, and thou shalt see it to be such; this earth shall yet be the abode of the righteous. (H. Bonar, D. D.)

The use of religion in a time of affliction

I. Our duty. “Be still.”

1. A negative kind of submission; I mean the restraints we ought to lay upon our angry and tumultuous passions. This is the first thing to be attempted, when perhaps we can proceed no farther.

2. To be still is to preserve a calm and composed temper of mind under affliction.

3. A higher degree of patience and submission than even this is required of us; and that is, to justify, approve and commend the Divine proceedings.

II. Our obligations to the practice of these great and difficult duties.

1. There is a God. Set Him before you, in all His adorable perfections. Apprehend Him present--immediately present with you, closely watching and accurately observing all your thoughts, reasonings, dispositions and affections.

2. God, who is thus a witness of what passes in our breasts, is the great Governor of the world, and hath a concern in bringing about those events which occasion all this tumult of our passions.

3. The God who does it has an unquestionable right to do 2:4. While God thus proclaims Himself a Sovereign, He would have us consider Him as most just and wise in all His proceedings.

5. The goodness of God, and the covenant-relation which subsists between Him and us.

6. All that God does is in reference to some future design.

III. The regard we are required to pay to these interesting truths. It is our duty to--

1. Well weigh and consider them.

2. Believe them.

3. Apply them to ourselves, and to our own immediate circumstances.

4. Use fervent prayer.


1. As to such who make light of their afflictions, or, to use the words of Scripture, despise the chastening of the Lord. That insensibility which you account your happiness is not the stillness and composure which the text recommends. Know the rod and who hath appointed it. Inquire wherefore it is he contends with you. Implore the forgiveness of what is amiss. And rest not satisfied without feeling the salutary effect of your affliction, to embitter sin to you, to wean your hearts from the world, and to raise your affections to heaven.

2. As to those who are apt to faint under the rebukes of Providence--a temper to which Christians are usually more prone than to that just described. With you I most tenderly sympathize. Let me, however, entreat you to turn your attention for a while from your affliction; think with yourselves how much worse your condition would have been if God had treated you according to your deserts; consider the mercies you still enjoy; above all, take sanctuary at the throne of grace, and there pour out your tears of sorrow to Him who hath an ear to hear, and a heart to pity, the afflicted.

3. As to those who are enabled to practise the great duties I have been describing, how great is your mercy! You may well glory in your infirmities, since the power of Christ thus rests upon you. An end, an important end, is already attained by your having been afflicted. Oh, let patience have its perfect work! (J. Stennet, D. D.)


I. The general principle conveyed in the words. The spirit of man must be taught by the Spirit of God, or it cannot know Him; and being taught implies receiving impressions; it implies a gradual advance in knowledge, the pupil imbibing the mind of the Teacher, and becoming more and more like Him till it knows even as it is known. Now it is beyond question that this education of the spirit for God is the highest work of man; and must it not then require the shutting out of all other sights and sounds that the heart may be alone with God? Why you think it needful to sit alone hour after hour, day after day, to unravel the intricacies and overcome the difficulties of business! You think it a matter of course that if you are to master a book, or a subject, or a science, you must have leisure from distracting occupations, and give yourself for a time to that one thing I If then to learn man’s business requires stillness from other work; if to understand any of God’s works demands stillness from other thoughts, shall we not, to know God Himself, need stillness of spirit, stillness alike from the bustle of active life, and the engrossment of thinking upon earthly things, and the distraction of fear, add the uneasiness of anxiety?

II. Its particular application of the text to ourselves.

1. Let it speak to the man who is engrossed in work, trade, business, or profession. The week is gone. Sunday and working day are past. And when was the spirit still and alone with its God? When did it read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest His holy, Word? When did it examine itself, and confess its sins, and dwell on God’s promises, and listen for the whispers of His Spirit, and as a docile pupil receive and reflect His mind?

2. Let the text speak to those who are distracted by sorrow, fear, or anxiety. The heart broken by sorrow chafes and frets, and is often too unsettled for a season calmly to receive the lesson which God is come to teach. The spirit trembling in fear looks to the right hand and to the left, and despairing of human help is too agitated quietly to wait for God. “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” “Be still, and know that I am God.”

3. This text will speak to those who resist God’s Spirit and oppose His will. (Canon Morse.)

Quietude necessary for a fuller knowledge of God

I. A word of warning addressed to nations when inflamed with the passion for conquest and aggrandizement. War is a time when the worst passions of men are roused, the purest motives of the most patriotic are misunderstood, political life is embittered with the acrimony of party strife and ambition, the unscrupulous are tempted to make capital out of the public troubles, and the mind is too disturbed and demoralized to rise to the calm sublimities of Divine things. Not in the wild commotion and brazen clangour of the battlefield, not in the whizzing hurricane of national strife and uproar, not in the rush and fret of excessive worldly care, is the knowledge of God best acquired; but in the solitude of retirement, in the hush and stillness of some meditative retreat, where the tocsin of war is never heard, and the roar of cannon and clash of arms never penetrate--“Be still, and know that I am God.”

II. A word addressed to the sincere inquirer after the knowledge of God, by purely intellectual means. Not in the strain and tussle of intellectual strife, not in the fret and ferment of the proud and restive mind, can God be known; but when the baffled inquirer acknowledges his weakness and defeat, when he looks with humble wistfulness into the darkness that has deepened around him, when he surrenders and stakes his all on the mercy of the Unseen--then, in that solemn moment of pause and conscious self-helplessness, God draws near, and there glows before the soul a sublime vision of the greatness and goodness of the only living and true God--“Be still, and know that i am God!”

III. A word addressed to the man who is tempted to murmur at the hardships of a suffering lot. Life has its sombre side to all, more or less; and bravely as we may strive to look at the bright side, and to make the best of things, there are moments when our way is dark. Can it be wondered that from the pierced heart of suffering humanity a cry of anguish should rise that now and then overpowers the meekest submission and the most heroic patience, and find a plaintive voice in the trembling remonstrance--“O Lord, how long? Why these repeated strokes? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not, and in the night season, and am not silent!” It is then that God draws near and speaks--“Be still, and know that I am God. Cease thy sad complaining. Be hushed, my child. Know that I am here. I have not forgotten thee. I am ruling still. It is thus I am leading thee to teach thee. Know that i am God, even thy God!” There! thou art blessed. (G. Barlow.)

The repose of faith

In all the more delicate cases of surgery the success of the operation is hardly more dependent upon the skill of the practitioner than it is upon the quietness and self-control of the patient. To suppress all irritability and nervous alarms;: to submit, in entire reliance, to the course of discipline recommended; to endure pain without flinching, and to encourage, as far as possible, every hopeful impression; all these conduce directly to a happy issue; while they render the task of ministering to the relief of the sufferer himself a labour of love, and afford an edifying and comfortable and blessed example to all around him. Now, this is just the temper recommended in the text, as one of the truest characteristics of God’s servants.

I. What it does not mean. We are not here recommended to sit down in a state of utter indifference and inaction, waiting with folded hands until God shall marvellously interfere for our deliverance.

II. What it does mean. “Be still;” cease from all vain opposition, from all ineffectual struggles; restrain all petulant curiosity; subdue all unruly desires; submit meekly and thankfully to His irresistible authority, and be convinced, whatever may befall you, that the Judge of all the earth shall assuredly do right.

III. Apply the commandment to particular cases.

1. With regard to worldly successes and worldly reverses, what continual cause we find for mistrusting our first impressions respecting them! That which seems most adverse to our happiness often proves the very means of establishing it upon a right foundation; while the realization of our most ardent desires entails countless evils and disappointments which far outweigh all the joy of success. In the Lord’s Prayer there is but one direct petition for earthly good, and that couched in the most moderate terms, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Every other need is embraced in that humble expression, “Thy will be done!”

2. Look now to God’s dealings in things spiritual. No doubt there is such a thing as a wholesome and righteous uprousing of the powers and desires which God has bestowed, lest they sink into mere lethargy and insensibility; but there is danger, on the other hand, of our mistaking an active state of the soul for a fruitful one. Our Lord speaks of the good seed which is received in an honest and good heart as bringing forth fruit “with patience.” It is no forced and hasty growth, shooting out in the showy but unproductive luxuriance of leaves, and bearing little, if any, perfect grain; there is a solidity and strength in the stem, and a gradual development of power, which gives certain promise of a plentiful harvest in the end. (T. Ainger, M. A.)

Lessens from the tomb

The old proverb says, “Speech is silvery, but silence is golden,” and there are times when its truth becomes apparent. And where can silence be so fitting as when God has spoken in one of those sudden and mysterious dispensations of His providence, asserting His own sovereignty and instructing His erring creatures? The presence of death, the immediate contact with the unknown realities of the world of spirits, are surely, at any time, enough to sober the most reckless, arouse the most indifferent, awe the most trifling, and still the most giddy spirit. But when there are circumstances throwing around the event more than its ordinary awfulness--when a few brief hours or days have sufficed to change the bloom and vigour of health into the cold unbroken silence of the tomb, then, surely, must the effect be yet deeper, and the soul, filled with an overwhelming awe, may well say with David, “I was dumb with silence--I opened not my mouth, because Thou didst it.”

I. The mode in which the angel of death does his work is fitted ever to impress on us this lesson. It might have been that a generation should have had its allotted time and its peculiar work--that side by side the companions of childhood and youth should have pursued their path, till for all it terminated at the same moment in the grave. The term fixed for human life might have been uniform add invariable. Every element of uncertainty might have been removed, and a man have been able from the very dawning of intelligence to calculate and anticipate the hour of his death. Need I say how great a change would thus have been introduced, or indicate how evil the effects that would have been produced on the majority of men? The thought of death would have been put away until the dreaded hour approached God has mercifully not left us thus. He has encircled us with monitors to remind us of our mortality, to silence every thought of self-confidence, to make us feel how frail we are. We are told of the great Sultan Saladin, that in the midst of the magnificence by which he was surrounded, he had a slave whose business it was daily to remind him that he was mortal. Wise, indeed, to perceive that the consciousness of his power, the pride of majesty, the adulations of those round him were fitted to banish this thought from the mind, and that the fact, thus liable to be forgotten, was that which ought to be ever present to the mind. Yet, surely, there were voices distinct enough to render such a monitor needless. Death doing his work around us is ever speaking to us. Sudden death, especially, should produce this impression. Now, God by such deaths rebukes our carelessness and pleads with us on our own behalf. Yours may be the next door at which Death shall knock.

II. Let us learn a lesson of resignation, A more wretched feeling cannot come across the soul in moments like these, than the agonizing doubt of the reality of God’s providence. A calamity, sudden, terrible and overwhelming, has come upon us--the reason staggers and the heart sinks beneath the blow. The whole appears so contrary to every principle of God’s government, and every conception of His love, that we begin to ask, “Is there a God that judgeth on the earth? Is there a Judge of the whole earth who will do right? Are we the children of a loving Father who makes all things work together for good?” If so, how can these things bey “Surely Thou hast made all men in vain.” Happy for the spirit that in such dread hour can hear and obey the voice, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

III. Let us cherish patient but confident hope. There is deep significance in the apostle’s words, “We sorrow not as those who have no hope.” We must sorrow. These partings rend oar hearts within us, and we cannot but sorrow. But we must not so discredit our profession and misrepresent the Gospel as to sorrow with that wild despair which may not unnaturally be associated with unbelief. Our burden may be very heavy, but hope relieves its pressure, and as it whispers in our ears tales of the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” not only helps us to toil on, hut teaches us some of the songs of Zion to which we haste, with which to beguile the way. That hope, which rests on the promises of a faithful God, and therefore cannot make ashamed, is your strength and consolation. (J. G. Rogers, B. A.)


I. An implication of resistance. For when it is said, “Be still,” resistance, turbulence, commotion are implied. And there is in all men a disposition to resist, to murmur and to rebel. Sometimes--

1. Against the dispensations of Providence, when there are afflictions. And sometimes--

2. Against those of Divine grace. Now--

3. Why is this? It is owing to human ignorance and human sin.

II. An assertion of supremacy. “Know that I am God.” Note--

1. The fact--“I am God.” He is here asserting His superiority to the idols of the heathen. But the recollection of His supremacy will help us to cease from rebelling against Him. We think of His absolute and unimpeachable sovereignty: His pure and equitable justice.

2. Let us apply this fact. Let it be understood, admitted, and let it have all the influence which its importance demands.

III. A claim of submission. “Be still”--be silent and submissive. As Eli, say, “It is the Lord.” (James Parsons.)

Be still, and know God

Every period and every place have their peculiar obstructions to the Christian life. The mistake committed by theologians is in making the Devil but one, when his name is Legion. The great inductive philosopher assigned four kinds of prejudices to man. The devils might have a similar classification, and there is one of those which come from the market, or from intercourse and association with mankind, that might without slander be called the Devil of Haste. We live in an age of hurry. Life, that was formerly likened to a journey, a voyage, or a pilgrimage, has become a race, a chase, in which not bit and bridle, but spurs and whip, are deemed the rider’s best equipment. A late writer has said that “a railway train should be the emblem on our shield, with the motto, Hurrah!” In short, the devil of Haste has entered in and possessed us. He hurries us so fast that we have no time to “be still and know God,” no place quiet enough to read our Bibles and say our prayers. Or, if he should put his hand upon religion, he wishes, to use the vulgar phrase, to “put it through quick,” and he has therefore a high estimation of camp-meetings and revivals, and the whole enginery of fear and excitement, as speedy labour-saving machines to accomplish a work which, in the slower times of prophets, apostles, martyrs and saints, it was thought could only he effected by a lifetime of prayer and charity and self-denial. This style of Christianity will be perishable, we apprehend, as it is rapid. Character is not a blow struck once, but a growth. And we see this same forcing method employed in education: everything must be done rapidly. We have short, twelve-lesson modes of learning, forcing processes of prizes, and embittering emulation to stuff the youthful memory with the largest amount of studies, whether understood and digested or not. Hence tender plants are watered so much that they are drowned. The fuel is heaped so abundantly on the fire that every spark goes out. But this hot and impatient mode of life leaves a host of duties not done, a multitude of truths not meditated, a world of pleasures not enjoyed, and a constellation of graces and virtues not cultivated and assimilated. Who indeed can doubt that, if men would oftener stop in their hurried life and recur to the First Great Cause, and cast a look to heaven while toiling and worrying themselves among their earthly cares, they would be far better armed against temptation, and that fountains of unfading happiness would be opened to the thirsting soul? Who is weak when the thought of God is in his mind? Who is wretched when he consciously rests on an Almighty arm? Alas! how much of the time we call life is really the death, the deadness, of the living part! We vacate the ample palace of the soul, to take up mean and miserable quarters in the hut of coarse and brutish worldliness. How much we need to do what we were told when children to do in reading, mind our stops! Did a day never pass when close and absorbing business so steeped your senses in forgetfulness, that even the thought of God, much less a calm and conscious leaning upon Him, a felt uplifting and grateful opening of the heart to Him, as the Fountain of light and love, never for one blessed instant visited you from twilight to twilight? The prisoner of worldliness is sunk in a subterranean dungeon, whose solid darkness is not pierced by a solitary ray. Let us know that quicksilver is not the only metal, nor lightning the only clement. Instead of this feverish and eager rushing across the stage of life, as of the horse plunging into the battle, we will lift up serene brows to the calm heavens, and we will repeat in a low tone that beautiful strain, which has been chanted for two thousand years, to quiet the restless bosom of humanity, never more restless than here and now--“Be still, and know that I am God.” (A. A. Livermore.)

Submission to God

I. A submission to whatever God commands.

II. A submission to whatever God does.

III. A submission to the various ways in which he is pleased to carry on his work, either in our own souls or in the souls of others.

IV. A submission to God, in reference to whatever he has promised. (N. Bangs, D. D.)

Confidence in missions

Our knowledge of the vastness of the heathen world has a distressing influence, our knowledge of the strength of its superstitions, of its false religions. There is the tardiness of the purposes of God, the slowness of His procedure. It may be said that this is characteristic of tits ways and works. Dwell on this thought, that in God we may have the stillness of confidence in regard to the future of His gracious rule among the heathen.

I. The heathen belong to God. He makes the claim, “All souls are Mine!” But “other sheep I have.” He is the God of the valleys as well as of the hills. The Asiatic is as nearly related to God as the European, and the African is as dear to Him as an Englishman.

II. In the lowest and the most ignorant of the heathen there is a capacity for God. When we speak of “the heathen world” we know that we are to distinguish between some races and others. Among some we find old civilizations, philosophies and religions; China and Japan are different from Africa; India and Ceylon are different from some of the islands of the seas. But the people who have the greatest knowledge and civilization are as much in need of the Gospel as those most deeply sunk in the abyss of barbarism and ignorance. “Leave them alone to work out their own salvation if they need it, by and by they will evolve into something better.” Yes, we are thankful for the conviction that they will evolve into a higher state, but there are means essential for this purpose. The same Gospel is needed by the most advanced as by the most degraded, by the barbarians of Melita, and the philosophers of Athens, by the painted savage and the proud Brahmin. There is a capacity in the very lowest for God. When you deal with the dullest, the most stolid, the most ignorant, only get beneath the crust of habit, formed by years of sensuality, indifference, and prejudice, and you will find a home for the truth--a something within responding to the Word without. “I will be exalted in the earth.” We are warranted in saying that the victories already achieved are such as to encourage and strengthen confidence; but our firmest ground of trust is this, we know that He is God. (James Owen.)

Knowledge and silence

The message of my text, broadly stated, seems to be this: that the soul must make for itself a great silence from all other voices ere it can hear aright the Divine messages which give it the fullest and deepest knowledge of its God. And so all knowledge more or less needs silence, that it may sink into the soul and become part of its own inner and essential life. And it is in silence, too, that there grows that power that is the first-born child of knowledge. Silently the mightiest and most enduring forces act; silently the silver moon drags along the trailing skirts of her glory the ocean’s heaving tides; silently the frost binds in icy fetters the great lakes and flowing streams; silently the vernal sun breaks again those wintry chains and sends forth the rivers to leap in recovered freedom on their course to the far-off sea: silently the trees put forth their branches and gain the strength that shall enable them to hurl back defeated the fury of a hundred storms; silently the harvests ripen under glowing sun and silver moon and quiet stars; silently the great planets perform their measured march across the infinite fields of night. And as in nature, so in mind; it is silently that thought is added to thought, and there is erected the stately palace of intellectual truth or artistic beauty; it is not in the noise or din of the street, not amid the clamorous calls of the market or the forum or the banquet-hall, but in the silence of the chemist’s laboratory or the astronomer’s watch-tower or the philosopher’s study; it is there, it is thus, that the great triumphs of human intellect, the most splendid achievements of human genius, have had their birth. What wonder, then, that God should demand silence as one of the needed conditions for the attainment of that supremest knowledge, that most transcendent power of which our poor humanity is capable--the knowledge that He is God? (Canon O’Meara.)

Knowledge through silence

“Be still and know.” How can God give us visions when life is hurrying at a precipitate rate? I have stood in the National Gallery and seen people gallop round the chamber and glance at twelve of Turner’s pictures in the space of five minutes. Surely we might say to such trippers, “Be still, and know Turner!” Gaze quietly at one little bit of cloud or at one branch, or at one wave of the sea, or at one ray of the drifting moon. “Be still, and know Turner.” But God has difficulty in getting us still. This is perhaps why He has sometimes employed the ministry of dreams. Men have had “visions in the night.” In the daytime I have a diviner visitor in the shape of some worthy thought, or nobler impulse, or hallowed suggestion, but I am in such feverish haste that I do not heed it, and pass along. I do not “turn aside to see this great thing,” and so I lose the heavenly vision. If I would know more of God I must relax the strain and moderate the pace. I must “be still.” (J. H. Jowett.)

I will be exalted among the heathen.--

The exaltation of Christ among the nations

There is nothing more remarkable in the history of the Hebrew people than their connection with surrounding nations. That connection is strikingly predicted in the covenant which Jehovah made with the founder of their race: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” This promise began to take effect immediately upon its announcement. “Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad.” And the Spirit of Christ pervaded and conducted the history of Israel. There can be no doubt that that measure of truth which is now found in the ancient writings of other faiths was for the most part derived from the connection of Israel with Egypt, with Babylon, with Syria, Persia, and India. The advent of Christ brings us to the perfect fulfilment of the Abrahamic promise. The wonderful declaration of Christ--“And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Myself”--was explained; first, by the lifting up of the Crucifixion; secondly, by the resurrection of the Crucified; and thirdly, by the command of the Risen Redeemer. “All power hath been given unto Me in heaven and on earth. Go ye, therefore,” etc. In this command the mission of exalting God among the nations was directly entrusted to His apostles and followers by the Head of the Church. The Church has no other business on earth but to exalt God among the nations. Her gifts, her ministries, her sacraments, her literature, her spiritual authority have neither divinity nor meaning except in so far as they bear upon the conversion of the world to Christ. For the exaltation of God among the nations is the ascendency of Christ, to whom God hath given “the name which is above every name.” (Philippians 2:9-11). If it be true that in spite of freedom of inquiry, and that licence of speculation which has accompanied the advancement of science, there never was a time when the Church exercised so wide a beneficence as she does to-day, when her followers were so many, so courageous, and so united; when her influence upon the politics and literature of the nations was so commanding, we must ascribe it to the revival of foreign missions. That spirit of enterprise and unselfish love which is the direct inspiration of missions must be the animating genius of all Church work. The ascended Christ pervades by His Spirit everything that touches the mind of nations--the tides of public opinion, their ebb and flow, the changing bases of the religious sentiment, the circulation of literature, the strife and the issue of the battlefield, the revolutions of commerce, and the fate of governments. Christ is in all these movements. He appropriates every force, and uses it for the exaltation of God among the nations. The ultimate fate of the Christian religion is a subject of intense interest even to those who do not believe in its divinity. I refer to the thoughtful men who study the forces that are moving the world. These intellectual observers see in Christianity a tremendous power with a history behind it, and a prospect before it, which not only places it above the frvalship of other faiths, but leaves it absolutely alone as the one religion which educates the highest principles of humanity, and commands the civilization of the world. They assail its dogmas, they predict its fall; and yet are compelled to acknowledge that, in spite of the disunion which distracts its labours and weakens its federations, its march upon the convictions of mankind was never so swift, never so triumphant as it is to-day. The becoming attitude of those within the Church in their observation is stillness. Not the stillness of inactivity, nor the stillness of a sullen disappointment, and still less the quiet of a settled despair. When God says, “Be still,” He enforces the stillness of waiting--of watching the unfolding of ways and the development of thoughts which are as much higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth. But why should we be still? Because we know in part, and, therefore, prophesy--that is, utter Divine things--in part. We are ignorant of God’s plan and God’s method. But there are two things on which our ignorance may rest itself. First, the immutable declaration, “I will be exalted among the nations”; secondly, the proofs that this declaration is in process of fulfilment. Let us leave God to work out the realization of His designs in His own way. If the light of His operations is not clear to our understanding, if surrounding events appear to contradict our impression of His mind and character, can we expect any other result when passing finite beings are watching the steps of the Infinite? (E. E. Jenkins, LL. D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 46:10". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Be still, and know that I am God,.... These words are thought by some to be spoken by the Lord to the nations of the world, to "cease from war", as the Targum renders the words; or from going up any more against Jerusalem, as Jarchi interprets them; and that they were spoken to them before the breaking of their bows, &c. as Aben Ezra observes; or that they are an exhortation to them to cease from their evil works, and know that the Lord is God, and has power to raise up and to make low; which, is Kimchi's sense of the words: but they are rather a continuation of the church's address to the fearful among them, as before to behold the works of the Lord, so here to hearken to what he says, as follows, "be still"; not that they should be like sticks and stones, stupid, indolent, and unconcerned at the commotions that were in the earth, and be unaffected with the judgments of God, and be wholly silent and inactive; but that they should not be fearful, nor fretful and impatient, or restless and tumultuous; but be quiet and easy, resigned to the will of God, and live in an assured expectation of the appearance of divine Providence in their layout. And "know"; own and acknowledge that he is God, a sovereign Being that does whatsoever he pleases; that he is unchangeable in his nature, purposes, promises, and covenant; that he is omnipotent, able to help them and deliver them at the last extremity; that he is omniscient, knows their persons, cases, and troubles, and how and where to hide them till the storm is over; that he is the all wise God, and does all things after the counsel of his own will, and makes all things work together for good to them; and that he is faithful to his word and promise, and will not suffer them to be overpressed and bore down with troubles. Who further says for their encouragement, and is to be hearkened to in it,

I will be exalted among the Heathen; with or in the conversion of the Gentiles; when the kingdoms of this world shall become Christ's, and all nations shall come and worship before him, Revelation 11:15. Or in the destruction of the Gentiles; the Papists, the antichristian states; which will cause great rejoicings, hallelujahs, and attributions of honour and glory to him, Revelation 16:5; so Jarchi interprets the words, "I will be exalted", בצקמתי, "in my vengeance"; that I will take upon the Heathen;

I will be exalted in the earth; now Christ is exalted in heaven at the right hand of God, before long he will be exalted in the earth, where he was despised and rejected, crucified and slain; he will be King over all the earth; his dominion will be from one end of it to the other; his tabernacle will be among men; and his people, as kings and priests, will reign with him on earth; by whom he, and he alone, will be exalted in the dignity of his person and offices, and, especially in his kingly office, Zechariah 14:9. The consideration of which may serve to remove fears and dismayings of mind under present troubles.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Be i still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

(i) He warns them who persecute the Church to cease their cruelty: for also they will feel that God is too strong for them against whom they fight.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Be still, etc. — literally, “Leave off to oppose Me and vex My people. I am over all for their safety.” (Compare Isaiah 2:11; Ephesians 1:22).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

10Be still, and know that I am God The Psalmist seems now to turn his discourse to the enemies of the people of God, who indulge their lust of mischief and revenge upon them: for in doing injury to the saints they do not consider that they are making war against God. Imagining that they have only to do with men, they presumptuously assail them, and therefore the prophet here represses their insolence; and that his address may have the more weight, he introduces God himself as speaking to them. In the first place, he bids them be still, that they may know that he is God; for we see that when men are carried away without consideration, they go beyond all bounds and measure. Accordingly, the prophet justly requires the enemies of the Church to be still and hold their peace, so that when their anger is appeased they may perceive that they are fighting against God. We have in the fourth Psalm, at the fourth verse, a sentiment somewhat similar, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.” In short, the Psalmist exhorts the world to subdue and restrain their turbulent affections, and to yield to the God of Israel the glory which he deserves; and he warns them, that if they proceed to act like madmen, his power is not enclosed within the narrow limits of Judea, and that it will be no difficult matter for him to stretch forth his arm afar to the Gentiles and heathen nations, that he may glorify himself in every land. In conclusion, he repeats what he had already said, that God has more than enough, both of weapons and of strength, to preserve and defend his Church which he has adopted.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Ver. 10. Be still, and know, &c.] q.d. As you must come and see, Psalms 46:8, so come and hear what the Lord saith to those enemies of yours, Cessate, et scite, Be still, sit, and know, Ex vestris saltem malis discite, learn, by what ye have felt, that there is no contending with omnipotence. I will be exalted, asking you no leave, &c.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Psalms 46:10

The true quietism of the book of Psalms is quietism in the midst of action, quietism which only one who hears the call to act and obeys it can understand or prize.

I. "The Lord of hosts is with us." This is the pervading idea of the Psalm. He is not coming down among us, like some heathen god, to help us in an emergency; He is with us, not visible to our eyes, but really present, the strength and refuge of our hearts.

II. "Be still, and know." We cannot know this deep and eternal truth unless we are still. But, on the other hand, this knowledge will make us still. If we have it not, or are not seeking to have it, we must be restless and impatient; just so far as it is granted to us, it must bring tranquillity.

III. For "be still, and know that I am God." So we are instructed that it is God who reveals Himself to us. He says, "I am God," not a conception of your minds, not one whom you make what he is by your mode of thinking of him, but a living Person, who is saying to you what He said to Moses in the bush: "I am;" who is teaching you that you could not be if He were not, that all the thoughts, apprehensions, intimations, of your spirits were given you by Him, and are meant to lead you to Him.

IV. The lesson would have been imperfect without the words that follow: "I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." The Lord whom the Jews worshipped was the Ruler of all the nations, had created the earth and all its treasures "for His service. To despise the heathen or to despise the earth was to despise Him; the Jew existed to assert the sacredness of both by claiming both as parts of His dominion.

F. D. Maurice, Sermons, vol. iii., p. 239.

The two clauses which compose this sentence are so interwoven that each may be the cause and each may be the effect of the other. The way to know God is to be still, and the way to be still is to know God. It is one of these beautiful reciprocities which we often find between a duty and a privilege. The way to do the duty is to accept the privilege, and the way to enjoy the privilege is to do the duty.

I. Stillness is the condition of our knowing God. It does not say, "Be still, and know God." The very opposite is implied; for to know that He is God is almost in itself a confession that God is not to be known. "Be still, and know that I am," not a man, not to be estimated by human calculation, not to be measured by material movement, but the eternal, the infinite, the incomprehensible "God." (1) In order to know God there must be a silent power of reception. There is a great tendency to think that the benefit of our communion with God depends upon the energy of the thought or the strength of the affection which we put in it. It is far more important quietly to take in. God is sure to speak if the hush of your soul be deep enough. Heaven and earth are sure to reflect themselves if the mirror of your mind be calm enough. (2) Another element of stillness is veneration. We are greatly at fault in this matter. We walk rough-shod, and we intrude rashly, and we think superficially in the holiest things. God will not show Himself till the shoes are off the feet, till the thoughts are lowered, and the spirit subdued. (3) It is essential that any one who wishes to know and feel the being, and the presence, and the care, and the sufficiency of God should be much in secret with Him. The time you spend alone with God will always be the measure of your knowledge of God.

II. In the stillness you will learn (1) that God is from all eternity the same; (2) that God elects His own; (3) that the whole scheme of man's salvation revolves within himself; (4) that all God's attributes harmonise in Christ. This is stillness: The Lord is; the Lord liveth; the Lord reigneth.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 7th series, p. 46.

References: Psalms 46:10.—J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. iii., p. 16; J. Keble, Sermons on Various Occasions, p. 363.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 46:10. Be still, and know, &c.— The Psalmist here represents God as speaking with a majesty becoming him; immediately after which, he congratulates his subjects upon their having this great God for their deliverer. His imagination was so rapid, that it would not suffer him to connect his expressions, but he, as it were, felicitates himself and his people, and breaks forth into the triumphal expression, The Lord of hosts is with us, &c. leaving them to infer, and make the proper use of the expression.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Amid the furious attacks of enraged foes, the name of our God is a strong tower, into which the righteous runneth and is safe. We have here David professing his own and the church's confidence in God, amid the most threatening appearances, and giving his reasons for such his hope.

1. They are safe amid all the tumults of this disordered world. God is our refuge, who shall pluck us thence? our strength, who shall be able to stand before us thus supported? a very present help in trouble, to extricate from every difficulty, and very near to succour and save us. Therefore will not we fear; there is no shadow of ground for it, seeing that he who is for us is most High, so infinitely surpassing in power all who are against us: And in the midst of her, his church, taking up his residence, and manifesting his presence in the believer's heart. In vain, therefore, the earth trembles and is dissolved, the mountains leap from their bases, the stormy billows roar and lash the rocky shores; in vain are all the attacks; in vain the threatenings of earth or hell; the church, and every faithful soul, is founded on a rock; not only safe from ruin, but secure from every terrifying fear; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and make her adversaries lick the dust, and that right early; quickly, or when the morning appears; the night of trouble shall be short, and the welcome morning of deliverance and joy arise. Note; (1.) When danger is most alarming, faith should be most in exercise. (2.) The changes and revolutions of this sublunary globe, can little affect those whose souls are fixed on things above. (3.) They need not fear, and shall not fall, who make God their refuge and strength.

2. They are comforted as well as secure. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God: a river of never-ceasing consolations, whose streams no foe can interrupt; there, like the waters of Siloa, sweetly flow into the faithful soul in the midst of every trial, and fill him with joy as well as peace in believing; he is the city where God delights to dwell, and the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High, being made the habitation of God through the Spirit. Note; If we enjoy divine communications of grace and comfort, we are amply repaid for all the storms and tempests raised by a world which lieth in wickedness.

2nd, Who can stand when God appeareth?

1. His foes are routed and destroyed. The heathen raged against his church and people; of old, Rome pagan, and, of later days, Rome papal, and all the antichristian enemies of his children; and the kingdoms were moved, stirred up to war against the saints of the most High: but he uttered his voice, and at the breath of his lips the earth melted; all these collected forces dissolved as the snow before the sun. Thus, under the wings of Jacob's God, the God of hosts, we are not only protected, but by his power triumphant. Come, behold the works of the Lord, with wonder see his glorious interposition, what desolations he hath made in the earth upon all his furious adversaries: the desolations of Judaea, the downfal of the Roman monarchy, mark his avenging rod: and from these we may be assured the present powers of Antichrist, whether popish or mahomedan, shall alike, with their carcases, strew the ground; nor will he cease till all his enemies are made his footstool; when, their power utterly broken, and all their armour, wherein they trusted, spoiled, and consumed, the war shall cease, and his people enjoy for ever the fruits of that glorious and eternal peace which he hath obtained for them. For,

2. They are bid only to be still, to wait upon the Lord, without distraction, and know that I am God; believe my power and love, and ye shall assuredly see my great salvation; and that displayed not more for their comfort and safety, than for his own glory: I will be exalted among the heathen, who oppose his kingdom and interests, by their destruction; I will be exalted in the earth, by subduing the nations of the world to the obedience of the faith, and setting up the throne of the Redeemer from pole to pole. Such promises may therefore well silence all our fears, and confirm our confidence. The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

What a blessed verse this is! And what a blessedness would it induce in the minds of the faithful, if they were everlastingly living under the gracious influence of it. Oh! how would it prompt our hearts to cast all our care upon him that careth for us. Blessed Lord! I dare not pass over the perusal of this kind precept of thine, without looking up and praying for grace to do as thou hast said. Yes! blessed Jesus! I would be still! Knowing that thou art God of thy church, God of thy redeemed, God of the whole earth, safely may we leave all with thee, whether private, public, or personal concerns.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". 1828.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He speaks either,

1. To the Israelites,

Be still, i.e. Do you henceforth silently and quietly wait upon me without fear or diffidence. Or rather,

2. To the heathen, who had raged, Psalms 46:6; and therefore now he seasonably admonisheth them to be still, and to stir no more against God’s people.

I am God, the only true and almighty God; and your gods are but dumb and impotent idols. I will be exalted, i.e. I will make myself glorious by my great and wonderful works.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10. Be still, and know that I am God—The great moral lesson of the psalm. The uproar of war is ended, the elements are hushed. The address is to Hebrew and Assyrian. Let the former “be still,” cease from his fears and anxieties, the latter from his arrogance and pride. Let God alone be exalted. He only is to be feared. Psalms 76:8

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 46:10. Be still, &c. — He speaks, either, 1st, To the Israelites, and commands them henceforth silently and quietly to wait upon him, without fear or diffidence; to be calm and sedate, and tremble no more; but, knowing him to be God, God alone, who would be exalted above the heathen, to leave it to him to maintain his own honour, to fulfil his own counsels, and support his own interest in the world. Or, rather, 2d, He speaks to the heathen, who had raged, Psalms 46:6, and admonishes them to cease assaulting and disturbing his people. Let them threaten no more, but know, to their terror, that Jehovah is the only true and Almighty God, and that their gods are but dumb and vain idols: that in spite of all their impotent malice against his name and honour, he will be exalted among them, as well as among his own people; will make himself glorious by his great and wonderful works; will be exalted in the earth — Or, in the world, as well as in the church. Let them, therefore, rage no more; for it is all in vain. He that sits in heaven laughs at them; the Lord has them in derision.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Gods. Judges appointed by the king of Persia over the Jews, &c., (Calmet) or rather the apostles, who were more than men, (St. Jerome) and exercised a greater power than any earthly monarch. (Calmet) --- The richest princes have submitted to the God of Abraham, whose seed was to prove a blessing to all, Genesis xviii. 18. Hebrew as it is now pointed, "the princes of the people are gathered unto the people of the God of Abraham, for He is far elevated above the gods the shields of the earth," as kings are often styled. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "for the shields of the earth belong unto God: He is greatly exalted;" or (Septuagint) "the earthly potentates, who are of God, have been," &c. --- We might explain the Vulgate in the same sense, if Dei were substituted for Dii, (Haydock) as it should be. (Calmet) --- Dei sunt optimates terræ, & ipse summe elevatus est. (Houbigant) --- St. Jerome agrees with the Vulgate, (Haydock) which is the clearest, (Berthier) only he renders ham, "the people" of the God, as it may also signify, and retains the word shields, which we explain the strong gods, or the "strong ones of God." (Haydock) --- The blessed Trinity is not divided, but more distinctly professed in baptism than it was under the law. (Worthington)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Be still = Desist; cease your efforts. Hebrew. rapha.

exalted. Hebrew. rum, so most frequently rendered.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Be still, and know that I am God. His miraculous interposition for His people proved that Yahweh (Hebrew #3068) of Israel is 'Elohiym (Hebrew #430) - i:e., God. The transition is most impressive, the covenant people the speaking triumphantly of God among themselves (Psalms 46:1-7), then calling on the pagan to behold His works (Psalms 46:8-9), and now God Himself commanding the pagan troublers of His people, "He still," - i:e., Desist from your mad attempt to fight against Omnipotence arrayed on the side of God's people. This word He shall at last speak, not merely as a counsel, but as a command, carrying with it the effect, the ungodly being forever rendered incapable of disturbing the kingdom of God.

I will be exalted among the pagan. Yahweh's words here correspond to Hezekiah's prayer (Isaiah 37:20). Compare introduction. The result in Hezekiah's time accordingly was (2 Chronicles 32:23) "Many brought gifts unto the Lord to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah; so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth." An earnest of the more world-wide result of God's visible interposition for His people in the last days.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) I am God.—The introduction of the Divine Protector Himself speaking just before the refrain is a fine touch of art.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Be still
Habakkuk 2:20; Zechariah 2:13
83:18; 100:3; Exodus 18:11; 1 Samuel 17:46; 1 Kings 18:36; 2 Kings 19:12
I will be
21:13; 57:5; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Isaiah 2:11,17; 5:16; Ezekiel 38:23; Revelation 15:3,4

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 46:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

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