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  • Writer's pictureSam Goodchild

Be Still and Know That....

.......I Am God

I have been in groups and on many courses and workshops in the ‘Spiritual not Religious’ world in the past 20 years where this phrase was promoted as a meditation and / or mantra:

‘Be Still and Know that I am God’

The idea being that we are all God and we are divine ourselves… which leads to other familiar doctrines such as ‘we create our own reality’. Ultimately it’s saying we are the power in our own lives, the implication being that if we remember this we will be able to handle everything.

Did you know that this phrase is in fact, one of the most popular and most misappropriated verses from the bible?

I haven’t been studying the bible very long but I have quickly learned, you do not take a short verse out of context and twist it to fit your own world view! Or you can, and people do and clearly have, but in doing so they miss out on the richness and gift originally intended by the verse in the overall context in this supernatural book.

Misinterpreting a text in this way is called ‘eisegesis’ which according to Wikipedia means:

the process of interpreting text in such a way as to introduce one's own presuppositions, agendas or biases. It is commonly referred to as reading into the text. It is often done to "prove" a pre-held point of concern, and to provide confirmation bias corresponding with the pre-held interpretation and any agendas supported by it.”

So let’s look at the true meaning and original context of that verse in the bible.

It’s from Psalm 46 and the ‘I’ in it doesn’t mean me or you. It is the Psalm writer quoting God Himself speaking. In context of the overall Psalm, the psalmist is writing about how God is there for us and how powerful and protective he is.

It is not saying that ‘I’ (you or me) are God!

With this in mind, I recently asked my students to contemplate the true meaning of ‘Be Still and Know that I Am God’. To imagine God was saying this to them. To Lean on God. To hand their troubles, questions, concerns and confusion over to God.

The results have been feelings of relief, ‘a sense of being held’, letting go of repetitive, anxious worries and passing them to God.

God, according to the bible, wants us to lean on Him.

Try it.

Psalm 46

46 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has made desolations in the earth. 9 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.

10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

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