Especially when bombarded with the continual news-reports of such terrible things happening in our world today, or of whatever the troubles, sorrows, and even tragedies that might come the Christian’s way, the true child of God need not worry nor fret. For “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble” (Psa. 46:1).
What a beautiful and encouraging truth. In the Lord, the Christian has shelter, protection, and comfort from the dangers and tribulations of life. For God’s care and benefits for His people are not just for the great by-and-by in heaven itself; but also for the here and now, at this very moment. Yes, God is “a very present help in trouble” (emphasis mine).
This, of course, is not to say that the child of God is exempt from all the adversities, struggles, and trials of this earth-life; but it is to say that he does have a loving Father in heaven to help see him through all of those difficult and trying times (cf. 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Pet. 5:6,7).
As the psalmist goes on to say, “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride” (vv. 2,3).
The psalmist could have this confidence and consolation because, regardless of what the day would bring, “The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold…” (v. 7) — and even when the “nations [the heathen who were not God’s people] made an uproar” and “the kingdoms tottered” (v. 6). For what challenge are they to God, as His enemy, when He has the power to melt the earth and bring desolation with merely a word?
So in view of God’s superiority over all the enemies of His people, and in view of the Lord’s great compassion for His own and His desire to aid them through whatever their hard times, He declares, “Be still, and know that I am God” (v. 10, emphasis mine).
The Hebrew word for “Be still” (raphah) has various meanings: “…to let drop, abandon, relax, refrain… to let go… to be quiet” (Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions). It conveys the idea in this verse to not be worried, distressed, or disturbed — to not be troubled. The NASB translates it as “Cease striving”; but it is also rendered as “Desist” (Young’s Literal Translation), “Let go of your concerns!” (God’s Word), and “Be at peace in the knowledge that I am God” (Bible in Basic English).
A verse that well parallels with Psalm 41 is Zechariah 2:8: “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘After glory He has sent me against the nations [those who are not God’s people] that plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.'”
How special God’s people are to Him. They are, as this verse shows, “the apple of His eye”; or, in other words, “what is most dear to him” (Bible in Basic English).
The psalmist then repeats and closes with those comforting words that “The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold” (Psa. 41:11). What a wonderful thing for the Christian to remind himself of, to be humbly thankful for, and to draw strength from: God is with us as we remain with Him.
The more we increase in faith through the Scriptures (cf. Rom. 10:17), the more we will be able to “Be still” and truly know God — and not with merely a head filled with Bible facts, but also with a heart increasing in more love and devotion for Him who first loved us, and enabling us to have a closer walk in our spiritual relationship with our Lord.
So let us continue to feed ourselves upon God’s word that our faith in Him will continue to grow; and we will be able to better do, as He had commanded those of ages past, and especially when we have many burdens weighing us down, to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psa. 46:10. Emphasis mine).