Psalm 46 - Be Still and Know that I am God
I wrote this during the riots during the coronavirus pandemic.
This Psalm is known as Luther's Psalm. He wrote "A Mighty Fortress
" based on this Psalm. In times of extreme opposition, Martin Luther would say to his friend, Philip Melancholy: ďCome, Philip, let us sing the 46th Psalm.Ē
Psalm heading - "upon virgins" is unique in a psalm heading. In the psalm headings, the preposition "upon" is used to indicate the tune (i.e. Ps 22
) or instrument (i.e. Ps 6
) and occasionally to reference an underlying author (i.e. Ps 62
). Here it should be the type of innocent girl singers, as it is used in 1Chron 15:20
. I think it indicates a tender, innocent, pure tune, and also that this psalm will make His people pure and simple.
Therefore I chose this tune because of the high strains of the chorus.
We need to praise God upon virgin hearts, with souls chaste towards his fear, with lively and exalted expressions, and happy strains. - Spurgeon
Psalm 9 is the only psalm with a similar heading, "virgins for the Son
". I think that means that psalm 46 is built upon psalm 9. Psalm 9 is about twice as long as this psalm, and gives details behind Psalm 46. Psalm 46 takes Psalm 9 to a higher level.
This psalm has no requests. It has 2 commands:
1. Come, behold the works of the LORD v8
2. Be still and know that I am God v10
This psalm is written in the 1st person plural, "we" and "us". The only 1st person singular speaking is v10
, which is the LORD Himself speaking directly.
- God is first our refuge. Then He becomes our strength. Refuge is defensive only. Strength is both defensive and offensive.
Psalm 9 is about the Lord as our refuge (Ps 9:9-10, 18
). Psalm 46 takes it further, that the Lord is our refuge and strength.
In troubles, we need to seek Him to find Him (Heb 11:6
). When we find Him in troubles, we realize the troubles were all worth it. (Heb 4:16)
Psalm 9 gives details of seeking the Lord in troubles
). Note that this seeking prayer in Ps 9 follows the request for grace with an argument why the Lord should do it, or what is in it for the Lord.
The Hebrew word that I translated as "surely" is meod
, most commonly meaning "very
" or "exceedingly" or "to the uttermost". When we seek the Lord in troubles, He greatly exceeds our expectations in how we find Him. (Eph 3:20
KJV translates the last phrase as "a very present help in trouble", which has been followed by other translations. That translation misses the meaning of the verb "found", which implies our seeking. My translation agrees with YLT.
In times of great trouble and trials, in times of great afflictions and persecutions, private prayer is the Christianís food and drink. It is their chief city of refuge or shelter and hiding place in a stormy day. When the saints have been driven by violent persecutions into holes and caves, dens, deserts and howling wildernesses, private prayer has been their food and drink. Under Christ it has been their only refuge.
When Esau came forth with hostile intentions against Jacob, secret prayer was Jacobís refuge (Gen 32:6-9, 11
). He recalls Godís promises, they must be prayed over in private. When Jacob and all that was near and dear to him, were in eminent danger of being cut off by Esau and the men of blood that were with him, he takes himself to private prayer as his only city of refuge against the rage and malice of the mighty. ...
Private prayer is a city of refuge that no power nor politics, no craft nor cruelty, no violence nor force is ever able to overcome. Though the joint prayers of the people of God together were often obstructed and hindered in the times of the ten persecutions (of the early Church), yet they were never able to obstruct or hinder secret prayer. - Thomas Brooks The Secret Key to Heaven
- lit. and when mountains slide into the heart of the seas.
These huge catastrophes have happened in history and will especially occur before (Rev 6-9)
and during (Rev 12-19)
the great tribulation at the end of this age.
Mountains can be institutions that we trust are too big to fail.
The Hebrew verb translated "slide" can refer to economic hardship (Lev 25:35)
There are 3 Selah's in this Psalm (vv3,7
The Selah here tells us to pause in troubles and examine them. - Spurgeon
The violent upheavals of powerful nations are described in the imagery of natural calamities (v6). - Stone Tanach
- The dwelling places of the Most High are all the people of God who dwell in His holy city, which today is the church. (1Cor 3:16; etc
They are also the streams that the Spirit flows through to make the City of God rejoice and holy. (Joh 7:38-39)
The great fear of an Eastern city in time of war was lest the water supply should be cut off during a siege; if that were secured the city could hold out against attacks for an indefinite period. In this verse, Jerusalem, which represents the church of God, is described as well supplied with water, to set forth the fact that in seasons of trial all sufficient grace will be given to enable us to endure unto the end. - Spurgeon
- This is a great promise, that God is in the midst of the churches.
This is the help referred to in v1
- The nations' rage is parallel to the waters' rage in v3
. It is the same Hebrew word in both.
Kingdoms moving here is parallel to the earth moving in v3. It is the same Hebrew verb in both verses and also in v5 that the city of God will NOT be moved. This is the night before the morning in the previous verse.
When God gives His voice, He helps His people and night turns to morning in the previous verse, but it may look like it got worse.
- "dwelling" is literally "fortress". It is high above the earth.
When this glad verse is sung to music worthy of such a jubilate, well may the singers pause and the players wait a while to tune their instruments again; here, therefore, fitly stands that solemn, stately, peaceful note of rest, SELAH. - Spurgeon
- From the high vantage point of the previous verse we see the destructions on earth as the Lord's works.
Whenever we read history, it should be with this verse sounding in our ears. We should read the newspaper in the same spirit. - Spurgeon
- The nations raging in v6 were wars.
The Hebrew text says "wagons", not "chariots"."Wagons" does not make sense here. The Hebrew word is never used for war. LXX says "shields", which is almost the same Hebrew word as "wagons" with an additional small letter yod. This verse is not preserved in DSS. I believe the LXX gives the correct text for this verse.
We won't need to invest so much into defense anymore.
- This is the lesson to be learned.
God intervenes and speaks directly.
'Be still, and know that I am God'. We must not interpret that 'Be still' in a sentimental manner. Some regard it as a kind of exhortation to us to be silent; but it is nothing of the sort. It means, 'Give up (or 'Give in') and admit I am God. God is addressing people who are opposed to Him. - Martyn Lloyd-Jones
- exact repeat of v7 including the Selah.
-copyright Steve Miller 6/9/2020
God is to us refuge and strength,
in troubles, help found surely.
So we won't fear when the earth moves,
and mountains slide to the seas.
Its waters rage, they
From their swelling, mountains quake. <selah>
But the place where God is dwelling
is impossible to shake.
There's a river whose streams make glad
God's city, the sanct'rary,
dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in her midst really
She'll not be moved.
God shall help her
at the turn of the morning.
Be still and know that I am God
lifted up on earth I'll be.
The nations raged, kingdoms were moved.
He gave His voice, earth's melting.
The LORD God
of hosts is with us.
Jacob's God our high dwelling. <selah>
Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who ordained ruins on earth.
He is making all
wars to cease
unto the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow, the spear cuts off.
The shields in fire burns He.
Be still and know that I am God.
Lifted up on earth I'll be,
in the nations lifted high up.
The LORD of hosts is with us,
Jacob's God is our high fortress, <selah>
high above the world's distress.
-copyright Steve Miller 6/9/2020
45:1 For the Overcomer. Upon the water-lillies. Through the sons of Korah, giving understanding, a song of loveliness
56:1 For the overcomer, upon "A Silent Dove Far Away." through David, a Psalm. When the Philistines seized him in Gath.
60:1 For the overcomer, upon "The Lily of Testimony." A Psalm through David for teaching. When he fought with Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah, and Joab returned and struck Edom in the Valley of Salt, killing 12,000.
69:1 For the overcomer, upon "The Lilies" through David.
For the Overcomer upon the winepresses.
For the Overcomer upon the winepresses
. Through the sons of Korah, a Psalm
88:1 A Song, a Psalm, for the sons of Korah, for the Overcomer, upon ' the Sickness of Afflictions.' -- An instruction, through Heman the Ezrahite.
61:1 For the overcomer, upon stringed instruments, through David
for the overcomer, upon Jeduthun
, a psalm through David
77:1 For the overcomer, upon Jeduthun. Through Asaph, A psalm.
1 Chronicles 15:20
and Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with lutes accompanied by virgin singers
refuge to the oppressed,
in times of distress.
10 And they that know Thy name will put trust in Thee,
for Thou, LORD, has not forsook them that seek Thee.
Be gracious to me, Lord,
Look upon my estate.
From the ones that hate me,
Lift me up from death's gate.
14 That I may show forth all Thy praise in Zion,
in whose gates I'll rejoice in Thy salvation.
18 For those who are in need He'll forget never.
The hope of the meek shall not perish forever.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace
to help in time of need
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very
good. And there was evening, and there was morning -- the sixth day.
13:13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
15:1 After these things the word of Jehovah came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram; I am thy shield, thy exceeding great reward.
17:2 And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
Psalm 119:43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; because I have hoped in Thy judgments.
Lamentations 5:22 But Thou hast utterly rejected us; Thou art very wroth against us.
But to Him that is able to do far exceedingly above all which we ask or think
, according to the power which works in us,
21 to Him be glory in the church in Christ Jesus unto all generations forever and ever. Amen.
And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother, to Esau; and he also is coming to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.
7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid, and was distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the sheep and the cattle and the camels, into two troops.
8 And he said, If Esau come to the one troop and smite it, then the other troop which is left shall escape.
9 And Jacob said, God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, Jehovah, who saidst unto me: Return into thy country and to thy kindred, and I will do thee good,
10 -- I am too small for all the loving-kindness and all the faithfulness that thou hast shewn unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two troops.
11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and smite me, and the mother with the children.
And if thy brother who is with thee become poor, and his hand fails
with thee, thou shalt help him as a stranger and a sojourner, and thy brother shall live with thee.
And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. ...
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? ...
7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. ...
8:7 And the first sounded his trumpet: and there was hail and fire, mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth; and the third part of the earth was burnt up, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
8 And the second angel sounded his trumpet: and as a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea, and the third part of the sea became blood;
9 and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea which had life died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
10 And the third angel sounded his trumpet: and there fell out of the heaven a great star, burning as a torch, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.
11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood; and the third part of the waters became wormwood, and many of the men died of the waters because they were made bitter.
12 And the fourth angel sounded his trumpet: and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so that the third part of them should be darkened, and that the day should not appear for the third part of it, and the night the same.
13 And I saw, and I heard an eagle flying in mid-heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to them that dwell upon the earth, for the remaining voices of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound.
9:1 And the fifth angel sounded his trumpet: and I saw a star out of the heaven fallen to the earth; and there was given to it the key of the pit of the abyss.
2 And it opened the pit of the abyss; and there went up smoke out of the pit as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke of the pit.
3 And out of the smoke came forth locusts on the earth, and power was given to them as the scorpions of the earth have power;
4 and it was said to them, that they should not injure the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but the men who have not the seal of God on their foreheads:
5 and it was given to them that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months; and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.
6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall in no way find it; and shall desire to die, and death flees from them. ...
12 The first woe has passed. Behold, there come yet two woes after these things.
13 And the sixth angel sounded his trumpet: and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14 saying to the sixth angel that had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound at the great river Euphrates.
15 And the four angels were loosed, who are prepared for the hour and day and month and year, that they might slay the third part of men;
16 and the number of the hosts of horse was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and those that sat upon them, having breastplates of fire and jacinth and brimstone; and the heads of the horses were as heads of lions, and out of their mouths goes out fire and smoke and brimstone.
18 By these three plagues were the third part of men killed, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which goes out of their mouths.
19 For the power of the horses is in their mouth and in their tails: for their tails are like serpents, having heads, and with them they injure.
20 And the rest of men who were not killed with these plagues repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and the golden and silver and brazen and stone and wooden idols, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.
21 And they repented not of their murders, nor of their witchcrafts, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
And the great dragon was cast out, the ancient serpent, he who is called Devil and Satan, he who deceives the whole habitable world, he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. ...
12 Therefore be full of delight, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great rage, knowing he has a short time.
13 And when the dragon saw that he had been cast out into the earth, he persecuted the woman which bore the male child. ...
13:7 And there was given to it to make war with the saints, and to overcome them; and there was given to it authority over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation;
8 and all that dwell on the earth shall do it homage, every one whose name had not been written from the founding of the world in the book of life of the slain Lamb. ...
16:2 And the first went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and there came an evil and grievous sore upon the men that had the mark of the beast, and those who worshipped its image.
3 And the second poured out his bowl on the sea; and it became blood, as of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.
4 And the third poured out his bowl on the rivers, and on the fountains of waters; and they became blood. ...
8 And the fourth poured out his bowl on the sun; and it was given to it to burn men with fire.
9 And the men were burnt with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, who had authority over these plagues, and did not repent to give him glory.
10 And the fifth poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast; and its kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues with distress,
11 and blasphemed the God of the heaven for their distresses and their sores, and did not repent of their works.
12 And the sixth poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates; and its water was dried up, that the way of the kings from the rising of the sun might be prepared.
13 And I saw out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits, as frogs;
14 for they are the spirits of demons, doing signs; which go out to the kings of the whole habitable world to gather them together to the war of that great day of God the Almighty.
15 (Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches and keeps his garments, that he may not walk naked, and that they may not see his shame.)
16 And he gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.
17 And the seventh poured out his bowl on the air; and there came out a great voice from the temple of the heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
18 And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, such an earthquake, so great.
19 And the great city was divided into three parts; and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon was remembered before God to give her the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath.
20 And every island fled, and mountains were not found;
21 and a great hail, as of a talent weight, comes down out of the heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of hail, for the plague of it is exceeding great.
He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 But this he said concerning the Spirit, which they that believed on him were about to receive; for the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Do ye not know that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
6:19 Do ye not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God; and ye are not your own?
20 for ye have been bought with a price: glorify now then God in your body.
Ephesians 2:21 in whom all the building fitted together increases to a holy temple in the Lord;
22 in whom *ye* also are built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.