Psalm 46: Be Still My Soul

Psalm 46 opens “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”  Verse 10 continues, “He (God) says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

         After a week of reflecting on Joseph, Psalm 46, written years later by the sons of Korah after David defeated some enemies, seems a nice end of week “song.”  In fact Martin Luther was inspired by this psalm when he wrote “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”  The other favorite hymn based on these verses is “Be Still My Soul” by German born Katherine von Schlegel (1752), translated a hundred years later into English by Jane Borthwick and set to the tune of Finlandia.


  1. 1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;

With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.

Leave to thy God to order and provide;

In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav’nly Friend

Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Joseph was the “after thought” baby, born to Jacob by his second wife after having ten sons by his first wife and two maids.  Joseph was favored by father but resented by half brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt.  Finding stillness in the midst of trials is hard. 

  • 2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake

To guide the future as he has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know

His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

Joseph must have heard the tales of God’s faithfulness to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and those childhood stories gave strength to his convictions as he faced injustice.

  • 3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast’ning on

When we shall be forever with the Lord,

When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,

Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.

Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,

All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Joseph chose to forgive and reconcile even though he had the power and ability to revenge himself when his brothers appeared in Egypt years later.  We do not always realize justice but we believe it will come.

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