Bible study 4. Be still and know I am God

Here are the Bible study notes for our most recent study group.

Be still and know that I am God

Psalm 46:4 – 10 (NRSV) (Read aloud)

4. “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5. God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6. The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. 8. Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 9. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10. Be still, and know that I am God ! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”

This is a wonderful psalm, full of poetic vision of the future and a call to the present hearer to take heart from its promises. God dwells in the holy city—Christians will think of the vision of the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21 and 22—but he is now in the “tottering” kingdoms of the world as well ‘When the morning dawns’ (v 5), he will make ‘wars cease to the ends of the earth’ (v 9). Though in our present-day world the ‘nations are in uproar’, God is still ‘with us’ (‘Emmanuel’) and remains our refuge from the storms of life.

We are told to ‘behold the works of the Lord’ (v 8), to see his power and majesty. The nations that seem so powerful and the armies which spread such fear are still subject to his rule. Then, in verse 10, comes the key invitation: ‘Be still’. While we are ‘fretting’ and fearful, while we are overwhelmed by the pressures and distractions of the worlds around us, we may lose sight of the greatest revelation of all: to ‘know that I am God’ (v 10). Like Elijah we might need to wait for the silence in order to discover that great truth; ‘Be still and know that I am God’ 

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy one of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15)

  1. “This is a wonderful psalm” says David Winter. It definitely draws our attention to God’s presence and power. Do you agree?
  1. In verse 4 it mentions a river in Jerusalem, but Isaiah is talking about an outpouring of God’s blessings. Do you ever feel his outpourings or do you feel you are missing out?
  1. Read verses 4 and 5 aloud again, does the poetry and beauty of these words help you to picture our mighty God?;
  2. In verse 6, do the words “uproar”, “totter”,” melt” describe our world today? How would you describe our world at the moment.
  1. Verses 8 and 9 speak of God’s power over his enemies. Do you feel that His power is overcoming Covid-19? Or are we hampering God’s power by our lack of faith?
  1. Read verse 10 aloud and take it on board – our God is a mighty and incredible God, he will help us through all our difficulties.
  1. Take note of David Winter’s words about verse 10 about God’s invitation to us. Later, after doing this study when you are alone, try sitting in silence with Him. if you remember the chorus with these words say them silently. Wait in silence and communion with Him. He may speak to us in that “still small voice” that Elijah heard. He may have words to calm and comfort us in these difficult days.

“Be still and know that I am God” (x 3)

“I am the Lord that healeth thee” (x 3)

“In thee O Lord do I put my trust” (x 3)