The God who gives Peace
By Benjamin H. Liles
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; he uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Come, behold the works of the Lord, who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; he burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. ~ Psalm 46:1-11, New King James
I know the psalmist isn't declaring that in "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5, King James). But Isaiah records, "The proud look of man will be abased And the loftiness of man will be humbled, And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day" (Isaiah 2:11, New American Standard). I was given that verse from Isaiah from where we're told in the psalm to "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations."
And isn't this the point God is getting at with us in His word? Jesus Christ tells us, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid" (John 14:27, Berean Study). Isn't the point of what God tells us in His word to "be at peace? Be still! Know me?" I honestly believe this is what God was showing the psalmist. He starts off saying, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." This would match up with what God consistently and constantly told Moses and Joshua: "Do not be afraid" (see Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:9).
And in fact that's the very next thought the psalmist declares: "Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." This psalmist was so enamored with God and in God's presence that nothing else that happened compared to where and what he was doing in His presence, the presence of the Almighty. So, ought we not be the same?
James tells us "But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind" (James 1:6, Holman Christian Standard). I know James is talking about faith and belief, but it stands to reason as well that we can ask for God's peace in our lives, when things look like they are falling apart. Okay, you're in the middle of a divorce. God says this to you, "Be still and know me." You just lost a child due to cancer: "Be still and know me." Your job/career is on the line and you wonder if God truly has your back: "Be still and know me."
If we say we believe God and His word, shouldn't that define us and our relationship to Him? When He says, "Be still and know me," it's not an idle command. He's saying, essentially, "Stop! Settle down! Be at peace! Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (italics mine, Isaiah 41:10, New American Standard).
This is the same God, who even though commanded the Israelites to subdue her idolatrous neighbors as they entered the land of Canaan, told the Israelites over and over, in short, "Remain in and with me." He had their backs constantly since He called them out of Egypt. Isn't it time we remember the goodness God gave to all of us at the Red Sea and beyond? Didn't He conquer Jericho so we wouldn't perish under the hand of giants? It is this same God who tells us over and over in scripture, "I am with you. I will offer you safety" (paraphrase of Psalm 46:11).
Now think on this a moment as well. This is the same God, who when He sent us Jesus, His Son, told us these same things. He said, "How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings" (Matthew 23:37, English Standard). I know it's a rebuke Jesus is giving to the Pharisees, but it matches the words God gave to the psalmist, to Moses, to Joshua: "Come, behold the works of the Lord...the God of Jacob is our refuge" (Psalm 46:8, 11). But God is doing this through the Son, Jesus Christ.
If we're told by God over and over, "Hey, I've got this! Don't stress! Don't be afraid. Trust in me. Know me," I think it means we can take Him at His word. Has He ever been stopped from keeping His promise? Think before you act on that statement I made. Peter wrote, "The Lord is not slow in doing what he promised—the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people to change their hearts and lives" (2 Peter 3:9, Expanded, Peter bases his argument on Habakkuk 2:3 as well as Exodus 34:6).
The only way we'll ever see peace and rest in our lives, even in the most hectic, the most painful circumstances in our lives, is by allowing Him the right to rule our hearts and minds. Jesus fulfilled the letter of the law by offering Himself up as a sacrifice so our sins would be covered. Check this out--God said, "Come, let us discuss this," says the LORD." Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool" (Isaiah 1:18, Holman Christian Standard).
This doesn't sound like a Creator who is harsh, who is hateful, or even mean for that matter. This sounds like a God who is loving, willing to pardon for the grossest of gross sins. I mean look at the tenderness in His words: "Let us discuss...though your sins are scarlet...they will be as snow." This sounds like a God who loves His people so much He's willing to forgive their sons. Now, isn't that the same thing Jesus was doing? "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . ." He said to the paralytic, "I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home" (Mark 2:10-11, Berean Study).
It is in this that we can tell and know the God of the Old Testament is the same as in the New Testament. If He says, "Be still and know me" and we see Jesus Christ showing Himself to His disciples who became apostles, and the reason we have the Church (mind you it's just Christ's Church) then we can be sure of, have a relationship with, and live life in Him; knowing who He is, doing His commands, and resting in Him. If this blesses you in any way shape or form, I am happy it has done so. I feel it is my ministry to show God's love to all. Yes, He's given me His love, but He extends His love to all, not just to one, or a few, but to everyone.
Father, I come to You laying down of myself the things I've done wrong lately. I need you to take my anger from me fully. Once it's done and over with i feel so depressed and discouraged. I know it's also sinful how I'm getting angry. I want it gone in the name of Jesus. I also pray for my brothers and sisters worldwide who serve and minister to You daily. Keep them uplifted and hear their prayers. I also lift my Israeli family up to You as well. These are Your most precious as I know it. Love them as You have loved me. Give them Your grace as You've given me. Show them Your Son, Jesus Christ, so that they know You are still their God. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
But I show mercy to thousands of generations of those who love me and obey my commandments. ~ Exodus 20:6, God's Word Translation
Blessed is the man who endures trial, because, having been approved, he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those loving Him. ~ James 1:12, Berean Literal