Reading through the Bible in a year had led me to Psalm 46. For Lutherans, this is the Psalm. Luther based his most famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” on this psalm. When Reformation Day is celebrated, this is the psalm of the day.
But this time around, the other famous verse stuck out for me. This year I am using the God’s Word translation. I read through the Bible every year, and typically use a different translation each year. In studying Greek and Hebrew, I learned what my Greek professor called the “poverty of the English language”. We have 1 word for love, and the Greeks have 6. To say I love my wife, I love chocolate, I love this book or blog, is not the same meaning with the word love.
I find in looking at various translation the nuances of the original language is brought out with a bit more depth and flavor. God’s word comes with a deeper meaning and understanding, and hopefully application in my life.
That leads to Psalm 46:10a, which I learned to memorize being, “Be still and know that I am God.” (NIV 1984)
That’s what I expected this time around, but I’m reading the GOD’S WORD translation which says, “Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God.” (GOD’S WORD) How did the psalmist know my concerns usually stop me from being still?
The Message paraphrase has this past of Psalm 46:10 as, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” (The Message) Without getting into the debt ceiling mess, it was a good reminder who is in control and how I need to pull away from the rush of the day’s events and focus on the one in control of eternity.”
Then, of course, there is the Amplified Version which takes the Revised Standard Version and tries to include every nuance and meaning of each word in its translation, “Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God.” (Amplified) A good reminder that to know means more than to memorize the verse, but to be in intimate relationship with the Divine Author.
Others who dig into the original Hebrew often translate this phrase as, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” A reminder not to waste my time fighting God, but in finding Him and the strength He brings. When you face the God who is the mighty fortress, life goes a lot better on His side then striving against it.
As I read through this verse again I was reminded of the God who is with me. He meets me in His Word and is my constant guide throughout the day. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know the One who holds the future holds me. While I wait, I will lean on Him.
So what’s your favorite translation of Psalm 46:10? Where do you need to rest in Him today?