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