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