You better check yo self before you wreck yo self – Ice Cube (1993)
I know this isn’t the quote you’d expect to see at the beginning of a church’s blog post, but not that long ago a conversation with a friend brought up these song lyrics to explain a well-known section of scripture in the book of Psalms.
“Be still and know that I am God.” — Psalm 46:10
This verse is one of the very well-known (as well as misapplied) sections of scripture in our culture. Very often, this verse of scripture is used as a source of encouragement of hope, and it is very likely that in a walk-through Hobby Lobby you would see this phrase or verse somewhere.
But unfortunately, it is another verse that has been pulled, kicking and screaming out of its context.
At the end of the day, if we are going to take the Word of God as actual words from God, we must read the Bible how it is written.
We need to understand that, “Be still” is not an encouragement to Christians, it is an intense warning to the nations, and those that war against their Creator.
The context of Psalm is a warning to the enemies of God, that they need to cease their warring against Him. Like an air raid siren from the 1940s, this a warning calling them to “know that He is God”, and this is a battle that they cannot hope to win.
A look at the verses around explains this when they say:
“Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.” Psalm 46:8-9
We cannot, especially as the children of God, read whatever we want into the texts of scripture, whether it sounds good or not.
The main point of this scripture is that God is coming to judge the wicked. He will not only judge them, but He will utterly crush them.
This is not good news; it is really bad news.
While this is very bad news for those that are at war with God, it is not without good news! God sent His Son to take the penalty of sin for us even when we were His enemies!
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10
Instead of crushing His enemies, as they deserved, the Old Testament prophet Isaiah writes that it pleased God to bruise or crush Him in place of His enemies. (Isaiah 53:10)
That is good news! The same Judge that is coming to crush His enemies, holds out His hands in mercy through His Son, to reconcile all those that believe unto Himself.
As a whole Psalm 46 is about a safe refuge for those that hope in Him, and this is the hope that we can have too, if we have put our trust in the finished work of Jesus.