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? This simple guided meditation CD based on Psalm 46:10 can help.

Want encouragement on your spiritual path? Subscribe to The Guided Life Ezine.  It’s free.

 

 

About 

Jackie is the author of the forthcoming book The Freedom to Eat - 10 Secrets for Lasting Weight Loss and Inner Peace. Her meditation recordings, "Be Still and Know that I am God," and "Let it Go" - 10 Meditative Affirmations to Let Go and Let God help people all over the world find peace and draw closer to God. Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+ |YouTube

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

  • Hi Mariam,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment and for sharing. Forgiveness is tough. We can’t change whatever happened, but we can accept it. The next part is to let it go. May you fully heal and continue to move forward.
    Peace,
    Jackie

  • Thank you for the denifinition of Psalm 46: 10, the words “Be still and know that i am God” came at a time when i was battling with unforgiveness for something that happened to me but i am starting to heal and let go.

  • Hi Gesille,
    Thank you for the comment. I use the term “thanks a million” a lot, so that made me smile. I mentioned below that I was traveling, so sorry to just be responding. When my pastor mentioned the Greek meaning, it was so profound that I had to share. It’s not surprising that this is one of the most beloved verses in the Bible.
    Continued peace to you as you experience God’s presence.
    Jackie

  • Hi Tia,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment and for sharing that this helped you. When we seek we find, so I’m glad that you found the article. If you are walking with Jesus you will ALWAYS be learning and seeking understanding. I know I am.
    Peace and blessings,
    Jackie

  • Thank you for clearing that up for me. I truly believe The Lord lead me to this article. I was praying for Him to show me what this passage meant. I used to sit and get frustrated waiting to hear God’s voice speak to me, however it was my lack of knowledge and understand of what “peace Be still and know that I am God” really meant. Again thank you for clearing that up and making into simple turns especially for someone such as myself who is still learning to walk with Jesus and understand His word.
    God Bless!

  • Thanks a million times Jackie for this psalms 46 meaning, I have meditated on it many times and it really does bring more clarity to the meaning. I really needed this I was feeling fearful and anxious about a situation, but now I know to hush and really rest in the Lord. I have completely surrendered it to God and I feel his presence and peace for me now.

  • Hi Mia,
    Thank you for sharing. I’m glad that the site has been of encouragement to you.
    Peace and comfort to you and your community.
    Jackie

  • Hi Daniel,
    Thank you for sharing here. I’m glad that the article spoke to you. I would absolutely surrender to God what is on your heart. (Easier said than done, I know.) “Show” your loved ones the man of God that you are by exuding the fruits of the Spirit in your life. You don’t need to tell them. Your actions will speak louder than words.

    Peace, patience and courage to you.
    Jackie

  • Thank you for this.continue to do the work. Your words will touch a community during from cancer today in Los Angeles.So glad i was lead to your site.

  • I was thinking of my sister and this scriptre popped in my head but I couldn’t remember where it was found. When I searched this article popped up. I came to God a year ago and my wife and daughters do not live for God. god has been speaking to me about not totally giving them over to him so your first definition really spoke to me about surrendering. Ty.

  • Hi Ernestine,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment and for sharing such a lovely story. The more I connect with people, the more I learn how Psalm 46:10 resonates with them in so many special ways. Please feel free to share your poem here or you can email me through the Contact Us form. I’d love to see it!
    Peace and blessings to you,
    Jackie

  • About 2 weeks ago as I first woke up from sleep, God spoke to me and said “Be still and know that I AM God” and that is all He said. I have been wrestling with the long unemployment of my son and trying to encourage him. Long story short, I did a commentary on being still for a radio show I co-host and a few days later I wrote a poem which I heard in my spirit on meditation. I thank God for you and that I found this site and I plan to purchase the CD as soon as I can. I would love to share the poem entitled “Meditation” with you. Again thank you for sharing your gifts with the body of Christ!

  • Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for commenting. I don’t believe in chances. “Searching” on the internet is a beautiful metaphor as in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find.” It makes my heart glad that this was the exact message that you needed to hear and that you searched and found it here. God bless you too!
    Jackie

  • Thank you for this post. I came across this by chance or so I thought but now I know I was lead by the Holy Spirit. This is EXACTLY A what I needed to hear :) God bless you!

  • Hi Pete,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment and for using so few, eloquent words to express your opinion. I’m assuming you are searching for something meaningful to your faith, which is what brought you here. May you find what you are seeking to bring you more enlightenment instead of more twaddle.
    Peace,
    Jackie

  • What a load of absolute twaddle – and how typical of the gobbledook produced by the religious cognoscenti.

  • Hi Kent,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment and for the compliment of powerful teaching coming from a pastor. :) That means a lot! Well, it’s funny – when I went from the buying side of the advertising business to the selling side selling radio, I understood what people said to me. Sales people would always tell me how unusual I was because I always returned their calls. It was a rude awakening when people didn’t return my calls! So, I feel the same way with my writing. If someone takes the time to read my post and comment, or responds to my emails, it’s only common courtesy to respond. I plan to always answer each comment unless it becomes impossible to do so. Thank you again for noticing that. Thank you for the blessing. May you be blessed in return.
    Jackie

  • Powerful teaching, but I was drawn to comment for another reason. I am truly blessed by the fact that you have taken the time to answer each and every response, as a pastor I know how much that really means. May God richly bless and keep you as you continue to serve Him! – Kent

  • Thank you for commenting. You’ve certainly given this a modern metaphor relating to a different type of storm. Keep us posted on what happens after the storm.
    Peace to you,
    Jackie

  • Being audited by the state in our small construction business in less than two hours from now. Someone sent me this web address. We missed some steps. Have felt “STORM” for a number of days now.

    This page is very helpful. It’s not offering a blanking-out kind of ‘nirvana’ so-called peace. It’s real peace from our Savior in the midst of the storms of this life….peace that passes all understanding….no matter what the cause.

    I WILL trust You, Lord….. that even in judgement or chastisement….that You remember mercy. Once again, grace is the undeserved thing I’m asking for today.

  • Hi Sharon,
    I’m glad that you found the scripture helpful. A few weeks ago I was shocked when my pastor shared that his parents are still waiting for him to “come to his senses” over leaving his lucrative career in sales to become a minister. I think it’s been over 10 years. He is SO gifted as a preacher. My prayer is that you will find discernment. My husband was the one that told me to quit my successful marketing consulting and sales positions. He was gainfully employed at the time but lost his job a year and a half later. It’s been a true faith journey and I still have marketing clients to pay the bills. I’m finally letting go and letting God lead me and guide me to pursue writing and creating as the focus of my work – actually, God’s work through me – I am in the process of making a good living. It is not an easy decision for anyone that ignores the practical to pursue what your soul is telling you to do – whatever that is – (that everyone including ourselves says it’s not practical like a real job is). Do a lot of listening to what your spirit is telling you. Be smart, which it sounds like you are in pursuing the professorships. Waiting is important too. Don’t feel rushed to make a decision. Keep me posted on what happens. God is not the author of confusion but of peace.
    Blessings, courage and clarity to you,
    Jackie

  • I truly needed this scripture. I have been battling with the thought of resigning my fulltime job and going into full time ministry. This has not been a popular decision among my friends and family who always expect me to be realistic. I have applied for part time online professorships at Christian colleges in an effort to supplement my income while I travel to do what God has called me to do, however there have been no responses. I need to let my boss know if I will be returning to the school as a counselor next year and I have to admit this is scary. Be still and know that I am God came at a perfect time. Pray that I will drown out the noise of family and friends so I can hear clearly from the Lover of my soul. To God be the glory.

  • Hi Kim,
    Yes! One of my favorite examples. Thanks for sharing. I illustrated this in a graphic on my Facebook page if you want to check it out. https://www.facebook.com/JackieTrottmannAuthor

  • Notice the impact of these words when you break it down
    “Be still and know that I am God”
    “Be still and know”
    “Be still”
    “Be”

  • Hi Ferlody,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. Thank you for commenting and I’m glad that you received insight from my post. Whenever I am overwhelmed and going through some anguish, I am reminded of Easter week and what major events happened to Jesus during one week. I will be blogging about that. I hope that your friend will find hope and strength and won’t give up.
    Peace to you and yours.
    Jackie

  • A very good friend of mine is going through hard times and when she told me this morning that she has given up on life, the only word that dropped into my spirit to tell her is to “Be Still and know that I am God………” Psalm 46:10. I google for the meaning and came across your post. Thanks for giving us insight into that verse. I have also come across Joshua 1:9 through one of the comments. Its very powerful.
    There is one thing I know about God, He says He did not call us to disgrace us. He is faithful and able.

  • Hello Clarence,
    Thank you for taking the time to share such a lovely comment and story. How funny! You went on a fast and gained a wife! LOL Robert and I met at church and our 10th wedding anniversary is coming up in the fall. Unfortunately, God needs to get our attention through some drastic measures. Be blessed for paying attention and acting. Best wishes on your new endeavors. When life gets crazy, be still.
    Peace, courage and abundant blessings to you Clarence!
    Jackie

  • Hello Jackie, as a child I HEARD these words from my mother and would say to myself what and who is she talking to?!Well as I grew up I learned for myself the verse.About 4 years ago I had a stroke and as a result can no longer hold down a job and sometimes have to come to grips with the results of my lifestyle from years past!My first lesson came when the church I attend went on a Daniel fast &I came out of it with a BBEEAAUUTTIIFFUULL WIFE!!! Now I have been married for 2 years and getting ready to start this fall @APEX Theological School in Durham,NC it took MY stroke to get me to pay attention but I am here and wanna say Thank You JESUS for it was all him who kept Me.Now I know the meaning Psalm 46:10

  • Hi Ernie,
    Not babbling at all! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I was not familiar with Joshua 1:9. What a beautiful verse! Thanks to you, I must share it: “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Wonderful!

    I love that you shared about God speaking to you on your commute. When I had a long commute, I used to pray and listen instead of listening to the radio or cd’s. I actually had a Holy Spirit experience in the car, but that’s a post or ezine for another day! I’ve never shared that experience on the blog or with my readers. God shows up in many places and the car seems to be a great place….. kind of a captive audience situation :-D.

    I hope that you are cancer free. When people like you reach out to me, it validates that I am doing God’s work in helping others heal and find God’s power within them. Thank you for that blessing. Thank you for reminding us that God gives all of us this courage, through the words of Joshua.

    Peace, courage and abundant blessings,
    Jackie

  • Jackie,
    Thanks so much for your insight.
    I can’t tell you how many time I use Psalm 46:10 along side Joshua 1:9 to comfort others that are going through a trial in their life.
    In fact, Joshua 1:9 comforted me when I was diagnosed with cancer and like God has never failed me.

    That said, I drive 3 hours a day to and from work and through the years have gown to love Psalm 46:10. During my morning commute is when I feel that God speaks so clearly…
    Don’t mean to babble…just wanted to say thanks for all you do!
    In Christ,
    Ernie

  • Thank you for sharing that. May you continue to let God inspire you, change you and enjoy peace.
    Peace, courage and abundant blessings,
    Jackie

  • This has come to me in an inspired way. I am changed.Peace

  • I commend you for making a commitment to being still. There are days when it is easy and days when it is not so easy. I believe that God honors that time we put into being still and being in his presence. While it’s difficult, if you are mindful, I’m sure that you’ve been able to see the benefits from taking this time. Learning to be still filters into lots of areas in life: being calmer, less reactive and more responsive, being patient and trusting God more. Keep up your being still practice. It will continue to help you. Oh, and by the way, I don’t believe God is “working” on you, I believe God is “inviting” you to be still.
    Peace,
    Jackie

  • Thank you very much for the post. God has been working on me about being still and know that He is God.. I actually try to take 6 days and just sit in silence and course my daughter and son call me in that times it really helps me just meditate on His Word just be quiet and silent I did this in January ,and lately its been hard on me and things are getting to me and it goes back to that i need to be still and know that He is God and he’s taking care of everything and just wait patiently on his timing and his voice.. thank you for your post cause I really needed it yesterday wasn’t too good my motions is in the air and I know they can’t be but I also been travaling, I can’t wait to give birth in the spirit.. I cannot wait for this part pass

  • Thank you for taking the time to respond. I’m glad that the words were meaningful. That’s encouraging that you have “building” thoughts and not tearing down thoughts. That is amazing, really. May you continue to be still and may you listen to what God has to say in those silent moments. I know, for me, He’s had a lot to say lately!
    Peace and abundant blessings,
    Jackie

  • Be still and know that I am God.

    I struggled for the meaning of that verse, especially how to ‘Be still’. Your essay was beautiful and brought new meaning to me for this verse. I think I have more like 150,000 thoughts a day. I know my mind goes a mile a minute nonstop, however, they are building thoughts, not tearing down. For that, I am thankful. It is nice to have a way of being silent, which at times I tenderly crave. Thank God.

    Thank You.

  • Hi Stephen,
    You have knocked it on the head in return. Thank you for the thoughtful comment. There is nothing more transcending than being still and merging with the consciousness of God. Bliss is a word that comes to mind. Thank you so much for getting it. Let me add the following: Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am. Be still. Be.
    Peace and blessings,
    Jackie

  • You have knocked it on the head. You have to still the monkey mind and the only way is through meditation and not by just reading biblical passages or singing hymns . You have to connect to the Divine conscious ness and allow it to enter you cleanse you and raise your consciousness above the body level. The ultimate aim is to purify yourself so that you merge with the I AM within you and which you are. You are not the body but given to you to identify your true self.

  • Thank you for taking the time to reply. I like “shush” a lot!

  • According to freedictionary.com the following is one of the definitions of the word still:

    2. still – cause to be quiet or not talk; “Please silence the children in the church!”
    silence, hush, hush up, quieten, shut up, shush – silence (someone) by uttering `shush!’

  • Hello Elayne,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am blessed to attend a wonderful church with wonderful pastors. Each Sunday, I absorb every word. So, this post was inspired by my pastor who shared the meaning of Be Still in his sermon. You will find a rendition of this same story in Matthew 8:23-27 and Luke 8:22-25. However, this is the only passage where Jesus, “Rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Peace! Be still!” He was not yelling at the disciples. The word rebuke means stern disapproval. As far as Jesus being overwhelmed, that is not taken from the scripture but is an embellishment based on the fact that in the various stories (more so Matthew and Luke than this passage) he had been healing people, speaking, casting out demons, etc. He requested leaving the crowds and fell asleep. For me, that is painting a picture that he was a little overwhelmed and exhausted, which is why he fell asleep. People were constantly clamoring for his attention, healing, etc. The thought of being overwhelmed shows the human side of Jesus. Yet, at the end of this passage, it shows the divinity of Jesus as he is able to calm the raging waters. The disciples were filled with awe and said, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” I hope that helps.
    Peace and blessings,
    Jackie

  • Hello, I would like to know how you came to the conclusion that Jesus yelled, got angry at the disciples when they were afraid of the storm, and said, Peace, be still? Also, how in Mark, he was overwhelmed?
    I am only asking because I have never seen/thought that Jesus YELLED, GOT ANGRY AT THE DISIPLES…
    Thank you,
    Elayne

  • I like that you use the word sublime. It’s meaning is elevated or lofty, as in thought or inspiring awe.
    Peace,
    Jackie

  • One of the simple verses of God: He invites the man to be sublime in his search of God Himself

  • Yeah, shut up is not a bad word after all. Interesting to know that.

  • Thank you, Ken. It is at the end of Chapter 4.
    Peace,
    Jackie

  • Mark chapter 4, not 5.

  • Thank you for sharing.
    Peace,
    Jackie

  • I understand this passage to mean the meditation of God’s Kingdom in the heart of faith. We are to be weak and let go and release even die to self. We surrender to the the Master of All the Universe, and we are offered His peace and we are delivered from our fears. We think on the coming Kingdom of God that will be exalted in all the world, in all the nations. Jesus forever exalted. Meanwhile we set our minds on these, not of the earth; for you are dead and your life is hidden with Jesus in God. When Jesus who is our life appears, then we will appear with Him in glory. Col 3:2-4
    “God I AM that and know! Be still ! In the earth I will be exalted among the nations I will be exalted.” wow what a thing to ponder

  • Thank you for sharing your interpretation. I think it’s important that we let Scripture move us and inspire us. I love your interpretation of surrender. As a writer, I am fascinated with words and their meaning. This definition of be still I had never heard before. As what so often happens, it kept popping up after I heard it. It resonated with me and I wanted to share it. I am grateful that we don’t have to fight our own battles and, as you say, that God is in charge. Peace and blessings,
    Jackie

  • Be still for my interpretation is to surrender because God is in charge. Dont fight our own battle as God doesnt need our help.

  • Dear Rose,
    Here is the rest of the comment that you wrote and wanted to post it.
    Peace,
    Jackie

  • Dear Rose,
    Thank you for the comment. The translation of be still was taken from the Greek… which will be a never ending debate I guess for Bible translation being a conundrum. The Hebrew word that you mentioned is beautiful. I had not heard of that before, so thank you for sharing. By no means am I a Bible scholar, however, I am one that seeks to continuously learn and experience God’s wisdom, peace and presence in my life.

    I read about you and many of your articles on your blog before responding. My father was also in WWII but was an American. The War had a long-term affect on him and I too suffered for decades as a result of his behavior and violent outbursts. While my story is different from yours, much of the pain is similar. War is a terrible thing. “Raphah” – Letting go – is my on-going mantra or meditation. Writing for me has certainly been a wonderfully healing process. My heart goes out to you and I hope that your writing and art will bring you healing, wholeness and peace – the peace of God that passes all understanding.

  • Sorry, mispelled and skipped the ‘h’ at the end.
    it should be ‘raphah’

    to sink, relax, sink down, let drop, be disheartened
    (Qal)
    to sink down
    to sink, drop
    to sink, relax, abate
    to relax, withdraw
    (Niphal) idle (participle)
    (Piel) to let drop
    (Hiphil)
    to let drop, abandon, relax, refrain, forsake
    to let go
    to refrain, let alone
    to be quiet
    (Hithpael) to show oneself slack

  • It is especially surprising as ‘rapha’, the word used in Psalm 46, means ‘let go’ or ‘be weak’, ‘drop your hands’.
    I would really like to know where these pastors got the idea of ‘shut up’ from.

  • Hi Keena,
    Glad you had a laugh. I had to laugh myself. When my pastor said that, I had to share it. Don’t forget to listen too. :)
    Peace,
    Jackie

  • I laughed when I read that, “Peace, Be Still!” literally translates to be Shut Up! This helped me very much; I’ve been hearing this often from God…I guess I need to shut up LOL!

    Thank you!

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JackieTrottmannBeStill

 Jackie Trottmann left her corporate career path for a spiritual path. She teaches people all over the world the power in being still and how to let go and let God transform their lives. Read more...


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