In part one of this two-part blog post, we saw how the Lord provided for the people of Israel and how King Hezekiah knew God’s character and trusted that He would come through for them. I love that part so much because it reminds me that when it feels like the world is falling apart around me, I can rest assured that the Lord has a plan and purpose through all of it. As I was reading and researching for writing these blog posts, I read Psalm 46 and 2 Kings 18-19 so many times, but I was struck by how firm King Hezekiah was in his faith each time. He didn’t waver, and he didn’t try to save everyone by his own power. He took everything to the Lord and sought out His will for the situation. King Hezekiah understood that being still and waiting on the Lord was an act of defiance in a world that tells you to do everything independently.
Right before the miraculous rescue by the Lord, King Hezekiah got a very troubling letter from the king of Assyria, which you can find in 2 Kings 19:10-13. There are a couple of verses in there that I want to highlight because they are things that we still encounter today, “‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed.” This letter cut right to the heart of King Hezekiah’s faith and trust in the Lord, and those words can do the same for us. They pick at our doubt, asking us if we’re sure God is in control, that following Him is actually different from any other religion. These words test the foundation of our faith, and they can either send us reeling into despair, or they can lead us back to the refuge of our Lord.
King Hezekiah was faced with a decision when he got that letter, would he continue to cling to his trust in the Lord, or would he give in to the lies of the enemy? Since Hezekiah was a righteous and godly man, he took his concerns to the Lord and spread them out before Him. He knew the character of God, and he trusted in that. He found his hope in God and God alone. His choice to take the matter straight to the Lord demonstrates courage rather than cowardice because he put his life in the hands of the only one who could truly protect it.
“Come, behold the works of the Lord,Psalm 46:8-11
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Knowing the possible context that this psalm was written in makes it that much more powerful. Speaking for himself and God’s people, the psalmist confidently declares that God is our place of refuge in troubled times. He doesn’t qualify his statement; he wholeheartedly believes that the Lord is the only refuge we need, no matter the circumstances. This psalm talks about devastating events like earthquakes, floods, and the rise and fall of kingdoms. These circumstances are so significant, and out of control that only God could handle them, and the psalmist uses them to drive home the point that no matter what’s happening, we can place our trust in the Lord. This kind of faith conquers fear even amid extreme upheaval. It’s also something that we can cling to in the middle of anything that we’re facing. God is Lord over the earth-shaking fights as well as our quiet soul-searching nights. In the big things and the little things, we can run to the safe refuge that is our Lord.
In verse 10, the psalmist encourages his listeners to be still or stop their struggling and experience peace. The hearers are instructed to relax and know the greatness of God. This deep soul relaxation comes from a faith firmly rooted in who the Lord is and what He says. This peace comes only by acknowledging God’s lordship over our lives and surrendering to His will. That is a tricky thing to do, especially when we want to control how our lives turn out. By seeing what the Bible says about who God is and looking back at what he has already accomplished, we remind our hearts that God is the only refuge for our souls and provider of peace for our hearts.
We don’t have to be tied down by the lie that we need to hold everything together. That’s the Lord’s job, not ours, so let it go. Step back from the rush and tumble of life for a moment and walk back into the shadow of God’s wing. Being still doesn’t mean that you’re weak; it means that you’re relying on someone stronger than what’s going on around you. Stillness and silence are hard and uncomfortable, but it’s in that discomfort that the Lord meets us and invites us into his immeasurable peace. So don’t run from silence; press in and encounter God.
P.S. If you’re looking to dig a little deeper into the Bible and find out what God says about himself, I’ve created a handout to go along with this series. You can grab it here!