8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the 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 He says, “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 Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
What is the Psalmist inviting his hearers to “come and see”?
According to the Bible, conflict and violence have plagued humanity ever since the first humans sinned and were banished from the Garden of Eden. Untold numbers of people have lost their lives in wars between tribes and nations. With war comes poverty, disease, and famine so that even those who aren’t killed in battle face death. Weaponry has become more and more deadly until we’ve reached the point where a single atomic bomb could destroy an entire city and every living thing in its border.
God has not ignored all this violence and bloodshed. A judgment is coming, and Psalm 46 invites us to stand still in awe of what God will do. He will destroy the weapons we have used to destroy one another. The ultimate King will put an end to all violent conflict and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord. There will be nothing left to say or do — no more justifications for the taking of life, and no more battle lines to draw. The king will command “Be still, and know that I am God” and the world will be still and know.
According to one scholar, there are a variety of Hebrew words that can be translated “be still.” The term used in 46:10 “has the sense of ‘cease and desist,’ like a parent separating two struggling children or a teacher breaking up a fight in the schoolyard. It does not mean to be quiet or calm as much as it means to stop what you have been doing and be still.”  The King will speak, and peace will come.
While American armed forces are still deployed around the globe, most of us don’t have a sense of being “at war.” Yet stories of violence fill our screens. We experience conflict in our own lives. Our weapons may be verbal and not physical, but they have the power to wound and even destroy. Let’s lay down those weapons and turn to God. Let’s heed his command to be still and know him, so we can experience his peace.
We don’t need to fear any battle, literal or figurative, that comes to our door. Because it’s easy to forget, the psalmist reminds us one more time that Yahweh the Almighty is with us and he is our fortress.
Do you long for an end to violence and conflict? How can you pray for and work towards peace in the here and now? What can you do to help the victims of violence?
How can you learn to “Be still and know that I am God” in your own life? How can you exalt the Lord among the nations even now in the present age?
The Psalmist begins verse 8 by inviting the congregation to “Come and see what the Lord has done.” As you go before the Lord in prayer, ask the Spirit to bring to mind things the Lord has done for you and celebrate them with thanksgiving. Now think about someone who might be encouraged by something you’ve just remembered and share it with them. Invite them to “come and see” what the Lord has done.