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Be Still and Know that I am God – The Meaning of Be Still Will Surprise You

The words – Be Still – in the English dictionary can mean not moving, and being quiet.  From a biblical perspective, these two words take on much greater meaning.

Be Still and Know that I am God Psalm 46:10

 

Meaning One: Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

The first meaning comes from the Old Testament and the verse from Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God. God is defending His city and people. The Hebrew definition is to stop striving, to let go, surrender. The chapter begins and ends with God is our refuge.

We can take comfort in letting go and resting in God to provide help, strength and safety.

 

Meaning Two: Peace! Be still! Mark 4:39

A sermon at church focused on the passage from Mark, Chapter 4, where Jesus uses the words, “Peace, be still!” (The exclamation point is there for a reason.) I was surprised and actually had to laugh when our pastor illustrated the literal meaning of be still.

The story is also told in Matthew and Luke which portrays an extremely busy day where Jesus was healing people, casting out demons and speaking. While the scripture doesn’t say this, the picture is painted that Jesus was exhausted and overwhelmed. He requested a boat to escape the crowds that were coming to him.

On the journey, a huge storm rolled in. The disciples were afraid for their lives. They looked for Jesus to help them and found him fast asleep from exhaustion. They were terrified because of the storm and woke Jesus up.  According to Mark’s account, Jesus was not happy.  In his frustration he yelled, “Peace, Be Still!”  The storm and the huge waves stopped immediately.  The literal translation of, Be Still, taken from the Greek, is – Hush! And in modern terms: Shut Up!

Another pastor I met told me about that translation and used the analogy of the proverbial, family road trip.  You know the one, with the kids in the back seat saying, “Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?”  The answer, of course, is be still or hush!

How often do we ask God for everything, but we don’t stop to listen or to be still?   The act of being still and getting quiet becomes more of a challenge in our hectic world. The world asks us to be busy. God asks us to be still so that we can receive love, peace and guidance.

Along with busyness comes the fearful and anxious thoughts we hold onto. It’s been stated that we have upwards of 50,000 thoughts a day. Those thoughts aren’t always pretty. You know the ones, I can’t believe I messed up, I’m an idiot, I can’t do it, It’s too hard, I’m a failure, I’m a fraud, I’m too old, I’m too young…..

We must learn to tell our fearful and anxious thoughts to shut up, just as Jesus calmed the sea. Jesus immediately asked the question to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Have you so little faith?”

Quieting the mind, shutting up the mind requires practice. One powerful way to shut up thoughts that don’t serve us is by practicing meditation.

For whatever reason, meditation has not been a mainstay of traditional Christian, religious organizations.  Prayer and Bible reading are encouraged as well as the occasional mention of contemplative prayer, but not so much meditation.  Jesus, John the Baptist and others went off to meditate and to take themselves away from the hectic world.

Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Meditation helps to renew the mind, to be still, to let go and surrender, to shut up the thoughts that do not serve us.

Many people are intimidated by silence.  Silence can cause you to address issues that you might be running from.  It’s easy to fill each day with busyness and then block out concerns through hours of mind-numbing television viewing, Internet surfing or reading magazines.  None of these activities are bad.  However, if they are used to fill a void that is not being filled, over time, the toll will manifest itself in the form of lost relationships, lost opportunities and lost dreams never being fulfilled.

The next time you have fearful and anxious thoughts that are raging within you like a violent storm, do as Jesus did. Silence those thoughts by saying, “Peace, be still.” When you need strength and help, let go and rest in God, your refuge. “Be still and know that I am God.”

Need help in learning to be still, letting go or trusting God? These guided meditations will help.

I want to learn to be still

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97 Responses to Be Still and Know that I am God – The Meaning of Be Still Will Surprise You

  • Hi Terry,
    Thank you for commenting. May God bless you in your ministry to inmates.
    Peace and blessings,
    Jackie

  • Hi Tony,
    I believe it was the Sea of Galilee. Well, I doubt that the sea remained calm ever since. This was an instance where Jesus silenced the storm. While I study a lot, I am not a scholar on the Bible. I merely share what I’ve learned or what God puts on my heart.
    Thanks for reading and for commenting.
    Peace to you,
    Jackie

  • Hi Michelle,
    Thank you for commenting. I’m glad that the words made you feel better. If I become frazzled at all throughout the day, I will tell myself, “Be still.” It seems to help. :)
    Peace to you,
    Jackie

  • I was feeling down and I found myself singing “Be still and know that I am God.” Then suddenly I was moved to look up the meaning and I feel a lot better now.God bless you and thank you!

  • Thank you for your article I am using parts of it to minister to inmates.

  • Thank you for this post. Pls I will like to know the name of the sea that that Jesus said “peace be still” to his followers. And if the sea have remained calm ever since? Thank you.

  • Hello Murray,
    I’m glad you stumbled upon the post. : ) Thank you for commenting. I’m glad that you received a benefit from it. I just lost my mother on Sunday. All of the years of being still in God’s presence rose up to meet me in my time of need. It’s helped me get through this difficult time. So, I can testify of the importance of meditation. It’s not only a benefit in the present moment, but it helps us draw from the “peace that surpasses all understanding” when we need it.
    Peace to you,
    Jackie

  • Stumbled onto your page after typing in the Google word of Be Still & Know That I Am God. Emphasis on the.. ‘I Am’ literal significance!
    Thanks for the thought on meditation importance explained :)

  • Hi Samantha,
    Thank you for sharing. I’m glad that you feel reassured, safe in yourself and for those around you. I find myself saying, “Be still,” many times, sometimes multiple times a day! It is truly one of the most beautiful and simple Bible verses.
    Peace to you,
    Jackie

  • Hello Ankur,
    Thank you for your comment.
    Peace to you,
    Jackie

  • I heard this saying through a friend of friend and although I am uneducated about the Bible and God there was something special about this passage that I held on to for the past couple of months. As things were getting extremely busy in my life and I would fall into exhaustion day in and day out, trying to please everyone and not really knowing my purpose, this quote (apologies as I first found this as a quote) opened my eyes and literally made me ‘be still’. Now I have never felt more reassured, safe in myself and those around me and love this special message and hope to learn more about this in time.

  • I am that, I am that.
    Tatvamasi
    Escape from all desires, be keep quiet, be alone where none can destroy your peace and realise ” you are GOD.
    You are not a body, you are not a mind, you are not intellect.
    You are soul, you are GOD.
    Ahm brhmasmi

  • Hi Jacqueline,
    Thank you for the comment. I’m glad you found this post this morning too! Letting go and letting God can be a moment by moment process! I know it can be for me. Yes, our part is to trust. God’s part is to do the rest. I would add that we also need to “rest” in God when we surrender all to him. There’s a prayer I use all of the time. You might find it helpful. God, please help me to get out of my own way.
    Peace to you,
    Jackie

  • I am glad I found this this morning! My daily devotional for today read Stop worrying long enough to hear my voice and to ask God’s spirit to quiet my mind. I have been struggling to push down my worries,concerns and anxiety due to lack of finances. But.. I have a great cure and I using it daily.( Use liberally as much as needed) The bible,prayers and Christian music is my medicine and meditation. I’m going to prepare a bath to soothe,soak and say ” Peace! Mind and thoughts be still I need to hear God’s voice”. Letting go and letting God. I surrender! I have done my part and asked God to do the rest.

  • Hi Angie,
    Thanks for reading and for commenting. Well, I can only answer with how I would interpret that. I had not heard this quoted as being the highest form of praise. For one, to be still is to be in God’s presence. When we are still, we are able to give our complete attention to someone. So, we show our respect and admiration to God with our attention. I know that with my husband Robert, we can be still together in each other’s presence without talking. We don’t need to talk. We share our love being present with one another. To “know” is to fully trust God. God is God, the Creator of all things. So, I can see why this can be called the highest form of praise. Hope that answered your question.
    Peace to you,
    Jackie

  • Why is Be still and know that I am God known as the highest form of praise?

    Angie

  • Hi Susan,
    Thank you for reading and for sharing. When I first started blogging on meditation, I kept typing medication by mistake. It’s only off by one letter. :) It is wonderful to hear that you are meditating and that God is speaking to you. I always say that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God. May the medication help you and the meditation continue to feed you.
    Peace to you,
    Jackie

  • Thankyou when l spend time meditating God has been showing me many things in scripture that has not only spoken to me but other people but I spent so much on the floor that the old blood pressure went up sky high anyway l had prayer and been put on medication from the doctor and it’s gone right down to normal and also God has given me a.new job my God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory

  • Hi Masha,
    Thanks for commenting. I’ve been having some weird dreams myself! It’s kind of fun to journal about them and write them down while you still remember them. Dreams are very powerful. I’m glad that you found some answers.
    Peace to you,
    Jackie

  • I recently had a weird dream and I woke up with the song: “Be still and know that I am God”, Thula wazi ngingu Thixo(IsiZulu). I knew it meant something and I’m very glad to find answers here. Thank you.

  • Hi John,
    I totally relate on calming the mind. It is a must. I was on a meditation retreat doing just that at Timber Creek Retreat House when your post came. : )
    Thank you for reading and for your comment.
    Peace to you.
    Jackie

  • Seek and ye shall find…
    I am John Others and have found peace in a strange way in calming the mind.
    Asking the right questions and finding the right answers lifts the veil of ignorance and forgetfulness.
    Who am I.. what am I… Being an enigma as irksome as the mystery of life…
    I am that I am… I exist.. Its a personal thing…
    I am spirit in a thought driven body… with a mind of its own.
    Do the answers lie in the records of antiquity…?

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