The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders and the earth melts! Come, see the glorious works of the LORD: see how he brings destruction upon the world. He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire. Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. (Psalm 46:6, 8-10)
As I read these verses today, the parallels to the present day once again jumped out at me. In only a matter of weeks, God has brought the personal, financial, business worlds to a screeching halt. Unemployment in the US is higher than ever before in history. The death toll is staggering. Commerce has nearly stopped as people are out of work, and thus afraid to spend money except for essentials. The grocery stores are doing well.
All the structures that we take for granted, food supplies, health care, government, business, industry, transportation, leisure industries have either been overwhelmed (health care) or nearly stopped. If we didn’t have the Internet, it would have stopped completely.
We think that somehow we are responsible for the blessings in our lives. We like to think we are self-made! However, in such a time as this, it becomes apparent that we are poor and needy creatures, and we need God.
I believe that in these days, God is asking us to “be still”. Since most of us are staying in our homes and unable to go to work or school or many of the activities we normally would pursue, we have time to Be Still. These words can also be translated as “Let Go”. We should let go of our expectations, ambitions, confidences and look to our loving God. In the verses above he says, “I will be honored by every nations. I will be honored throughout the world.” The world has stopped its normal activity, not because it wanted to but because it had no choice. Now is the time to honor God and recognize our need for him.
Psalm 104:10-34 provides a picture of what has happened with COVID-19.
(God) makes springs pour water into the ravines, so streams gush down from the mountains. They provide water for all the animals, and the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds nest beside the streams and sing among the branches of the trees. You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home, and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth—wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength. The trees of the LORD are well cared for—the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. There the birds make their nests, and the storks make their homes in the cypresses. High in the mountains live the wild goats, and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.
You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set. You send the darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals prowl about. Then the young lions roar for their prey, stalking the food provided by God. At dawn they slink back into their dens to rest. Then people go off to their work, where they labor until evening.
O LORD, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small. See the ships sailing along, and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea. They all depend on you to give them food as they need it. When you supply it, they gather it. You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied. But if you turn away from them, they panic. When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust. When you give them your breath, life is created and you renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the LORD continue forever! The LORD takes pleasure in all he has made! The earth trembles at his glance; the mountains smoke at his touch. I will sing to the LORD as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath! May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.