When I was growing up, I think that imperative statement had an exclamation point at the end of it. When my mom or my Grandma Cook said it, it was an urgent command.
So I have to change my perspective when I come to this verse. Instead of thinking of this as a harsh command to quit whining over something that doesn’t make any difference, God is calling us to relax. The Hebrew word rapa means to slacken or weaken. The New American Standard Bible translates this “Cease striving.”
What if you could get yourself a fresh cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea, sit down in your easy chair, put your feet up and just relax? No news, no social media, phone off – just relaxing. Maybe some good worship music and then just concentrate on recognizing who God is.
In this verse, He has summarized the reason we can relax. We can chill out because He WILL be exalted everywhere. He will win. He will be recognized for who He is.
The preceding verses in the chapter lead up to this by telling us about who God is and what He has done for us.
Why We Can Chill Out
God is our refuge and strength – a very present help. Because of that we don’t need to fear no - matter what happens - even given some pretty serious circumstances like the earth giving way and slipping into the sea. Your difficulties are so painful and near that it is difficult at times to see anything else.
That’s why reading scripture is so important. It tells us what He has done in the past and how he will help us in the future. In this passage specifically it emphasizes His presence (verses 1, 5 and 11)
Verses 7 and 11 remind us the God of Jacob is our stronghold or fortress. That’s not a word we use much here in America. But Merriam-Webster’s second definition is how I think of what God provides – “a place of security or survival.”
He is where we hide. His strength is impenetrable. He has been our help in the past.
So what are you fretting about? What are you striving about? What are you failing to trust the Lord about?
Meditate on all that God has done for you.
Recognize that He is God and He will get the glory.
Doesn’t that feel better?