Devotional: "Let the Nations Be Still and Know"
Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” – Psalm 46:8-10
I remember hearing the phrase “Be still, and know that I am God” multiple times when I was growing up. Many words or phrases carry connotations or emotions with them. This phrase in particular strikes an image in my mind involving vibrant green grass alight in the sun and wavering slightly from the gentle breeze. There are flowers on which to gaze, and the subject who is taking in the scene is sitting comfortably on the ground, enjoying creation and being still. Such a backdrop almost necessitates a chosen stillness to the point that I, for one, cannot imagine not being still and soaking in the glory of God. On the contrary, however, the scene in which we find this phrase in scripture is not at all a pastoral calm - it is the middle of a war scene.
We find the call to stillness in Psalm 46 directly after the acknowledgement of the reality of war. The presence of bows, spears, and chariots brings us to no other conclusion. As the war in the Gaza strip continues on, perhaps this reality is more accessible to us than before. Albeit not experiencing the events firsthand, news headlines with photo and video evidence make sure to keep us informed and engaged. The seeming closeness of this continued violence brings up many emotions, and maybe we even begin to wonder - what is it all for? Will there be anything good that comes from this conflict?
These verses in Psalm 46 step in at this moment to remind us of what we know to be true. The verses preceding vv. 8-10 are written to solidify the security of Israel’s future in the midst of chaotic events; this security is because of what God they serve. We see our holy God as the One who brings desolations on the earth but who also makes war cease. He utterly disposes of the weapons meant for harm, and He receives the glory for being such a God! The Psalm answers our question of lament. What is this all for? By the sovereignty, mercy, and grace of God, this war and all wars first will remind us of who it is who holds the nations in His hand; and second will cause all the nations and all those on earth to exalt His name! He will bring ultimate victory and we will all be given the opportunity to pay him homage - in stillness, not in war.
Even now, God is working in the midst of desolation to bring about His divine purposes. As we fast and pray together, we fast for the salvation of the nations and that the ends of the earth will exalt the name of Jesus! We pray for the truth of the Prince of Peace to be known in Israel, Islamic nations, and the United States. Our God brings war and causes them to cease. In both the waging of this war and in the desired resolution, may He receive honor and glory. We plead with God today to bring to repentance and salvation all Jews, Muslims, and every nation that exists on earth. And may all the nations together approach the throne of grace to receive mercy in stillness.
This call to stillness reminds of Mark 4:35-41, when Jesus speaks to the storm and says “Peace! Be still!” Even the wind and the sea obey him, and we will also see the nations obey Him. Let it be through this conflict that many come to trust in the lordship of Jesus. Amen, come Lord Jesus!
Pray for the nation and citizens of Israel to worship God and acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Pray for the nation and citizens of Palestine and all other Islamic nations to worship God and acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Pray for nation and citizens of the United States of America to worship God and acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Pray that God would cause this war to cease, and through such would be glorified and exalted by all on earth.
Women’s Ministry Fellow, CU Gloria (Harvard College)
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