We are in a time of uncertainty and turmoil. Our lives have changed virtually overnight. Many are afraid. Some are putting on a brave face for others while inwardly reeling in anxiety. Still, others are facing their fears head-on as they daily go to work to help those affected by this virus.
Each day my social media feeds are flooded with Bible verses. Many are posting these verses without considering the context in which they were originally written. One such verse is Psalm 46:10. In its entirity this verses reads:
"Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the earth." NLT
Most people only quote the first part of this verse. By doing so we leave out the part that assures us of God's sovereignty. In fact, God's sovereignty is the theme of this Psalm.
This Psalm was written by King Hezekiah after God delivered the Israelites from an Assyrian attack on Jerusalem. He wrote it to be used as a congregational hymn reminding Israel that God is sovereign over all things, including their very lives. We need this reminder today!
In verses 1-3 we learn that God is sovereign over all forces of nature.
The word "refuge" is used in verses 1, 7, and 11. It means God is our shelter, but also a fortress, a stronghold we can depend on when life seems to be falling apart. When we run to God for our protection we are strengthened to face another battle. The word "trouble" used at the end of verse 1 means "in a tight spot, in a corner unable to get out." It depicts the situation in Jerusalem as the Assyrian army surrounded them. There seemed to be no way out until King Hezekiah prayed to God for help. He ran into his strong tower for protection and help.
Our world seems to be falling apart. It seems as if we are surrounded, backed in a corner unable to get out. But just as verses 2-3 assure us God is sovereign over the forces of nature, we can be assured He is sovereign over the pandemic that is sweeping our world. This plague can only go as far as He allows. He will stop it in His perfect timing.
Verses 4-7 reveal God is sovereign over every enemy.
The river mentioned in verse 4 is referring to the underground water system King Hezekiah had built. This system brought much-needed water into the city of Jerusalem. Spiritually speaking, God is our source of living water. Just as our physical bodies cannot go without water for very long, so too our spirits cannot go without drinking from the fountain of living water. We cannot expect to defeat the enemy without spending time in God's Word daily.
As God's children, we have His Spirit dwelling in us. When we daily surrender to His lordship over our lives we have the power to defeat the enemy. Satan has many gripped with fear. Turning to our sovereign Lord frees us from that fear and enables us to overcome. Just as King Hezekiah declared in verse 7, we can know that God is always with us, even in this time of uncertainty. He is Immanuel, God with us. When we drink from His unending well we find the peace that passes human understanding and can face any circumstance knowing He is with us.
The final part of this Psalm depicts the scene outside of Jerusalem when God defeated the Assyrian army. This is the "glorious works of the Lord" Hezekiah mentions. In these verses, we see God is sovereign over heaven and earth.
In the KJV, verse 10 reads:
"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth."
The Hebrew term for "be still" actually means:
"Take your hands off! Relax! Let go of your grip!"
In his prayer to God, King Hezekiah acknowledged God's sovereignty:
"Now, therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know You are the Lord God, You alone." 2 Kings 19:19
Because the king and the people allowed God to be God, they were saved from the hands of the Assyrians. We must do the same.
God is telling us to let Him be God.
He is in charge.
He is omniscient. He knows exactly what's happening.
He is omnipotent. He has ALL power and authority over ALL things, including this virus.
He is omnipresent. He is with us in this storm.
He knows our anxious thoughts.
He hears our pleas for help.
But we have to take our hands off, loosen our grip for control, and trust the God of the universe, the One who spoke all things into being KNOWS what is happening.
Surrender our anxiety
Omit our movement
Stop our striving
Loosen our grip
Open our eyes to our God
Rest in His Sovereignty
SOS, Lord. We admit we are afraid. Yet we submit to Your lordship over all things. You are the Sovereign God. You alone are in charge. You have everything in control even though it seems like it is all falling apart. With You, we know it is falling into place at the foot of the cross, just the way You planned it from the beginning,
Holy Spirit, come, settle our anxious hearts. Hold our thoughts captive in Your holy Word. Enable us to think on the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Take away every lie the enemy has spoken and replace it with Your Truth.
We humbly ask for protection from this deadly disease. Protect us, protect those we love, and protect all who are treating those infected. We are running to You, our refuge, our strong tower, hide us in the shelter of Your wings until this calamity has passed.
Father God, we loosen our grip. We admit we try hard to control our lives but now everything is out of control. Empower us to daily come to You for our Living Water, relinquishing our grip, surrendering our anxiety, and relaxing in Your presence.
We love You, Lord. Thank You that You are in charge. Help us not to worry.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
For the story of King Hezekiah read 2 Kings 18-20; 2 Chronicles 32; and Isaiah 36-37.