Psalm 4610 [widescreen]The Hebrew word that we translate “be still” here is a word that can mean: cease, desist, to become discouraged, disheartened, weak, etc.  Many of the translations use “be still” to render the word, but it’s important that we understand that there is a sense of weakness in the word.  This makes some sense because if one looks at the context it is speaking of the might and power of God [“Nations roar, kingdoms shake; he utters his voice, the earth melts.” (Psalm 46:6, LEB)]

Some other translations of this word that give a better sense of it:

  • Surrender” – Spanish Common Language Version
  • Stop” – French Common Language Version
  • Desist!” – New American Bible
  • Drop Your Weapons” – Traduction Oecumenique de la Bible

Being still implies that we understand that we are not God and ensures that God does the work that is required in a given situation, rather than us taking control, which seems to be our natural inclination.  Indeed, our practical outworking of this verse is usually something along the lines of “Be still God, I’ve got this,” until we finally figure out that we don’t actually have it.

Jonathan Edwards writes: “We must be still as to actions and outward behaviour, so as not to oppose God in his dispensations; and as to the inward frame of our hearts, cultivating a calm and quiet submission of soul to the sovereign pleasure of God, whatever it may be.”