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Be Still

Psalm 46: 8, 9
NRSV: Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
Message: Attention, all! See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, bans war from pole to pole, breaks all the weapons across his knee.
JPS: Selah. Come and see what the Lord has done, how He has wrought desolation on the earth. He puts a stop to wars throughout the earth, breaking the bow, snapping the spear, consigning wagons to the flames.

Psalm 46 recalls prophesies in Isaiah, especially with its use of Jehovah Tsaba, the Lord of Hosts, a term used primarily in the prophetic books of the Bible. The Lord will put an end to war, everywhere on earth. This recalls the prophesy in Isaiah 2:1-4, when nations won’t learn war anymore and when all the nations “shall stream to the mountain of the Lord’s house,” “to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”

This is the God who is with us, who comes to our aid, who is our refuge and helper. The psalmist invites us to “behold what the Lord has done,” using the poetic term chazah, “to meditate on.” We can meditate on how our God ends wars and warring. Meditating on God’s word can be a powerful companion to reading it. See what you experience.

Choose a quiet place to sit. Set a timer for at least 5 minutes. Repeat three times slowly: “You are a God who puts a stop to wars throughout the earth.” Sit quietly and experience whatever thoughts arise. Note whatever feelings arise. Ask God to be with you as your helper in anything that comes up.