Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
There is nothing more remarkable in the history of the Hebrew people than their connection with surrounding nations. That connection is strikingly predicted in the covenant which Jehovah made with the founder of their race: "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." This promise began to take effect immediately upon its announcement. "Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad." And the Spirit of Christ pervaded and conducted the history of Israel. There can be no doubt that that measure of truth which is now found in the ancient writings of other faiths was for the most part derived from the connection of Israel with Egypt, with Babylon, with Syria, Persia, and India. The advent of Christ brings us to the perfect fulfilment of the Abrahamic promise. The wonderful declaration of Christ — "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Myself" — was explained; first, by the lifting up of the Crucifixion; secondly, by the resurrection of the Crucified; and thirdly, by the command of the Risen Redeemer. "All power hath been given unto Me in heaven and on earth. Go ye, therefore," etc. In this command the mission of exalting God among the nations was directly entrusted to His apostles and followers by the Head of the Church. The Church has no other business on earth but to exalt God among the nations. Her gifts, her ministries, her sacraments, her literature, her spiritual authority have neither divinity nor meaning except in so far as they bear upon the conversion of the world to Christ. For the exaltation of God among the nations is the ascendency of Christ, to whom God hath given "the name which is above every name." (Philippians 2:9-11). If it be true that in spite of freedom of inquiry, and that licence of speculation which has accompanied the advancement of science, there never was a time when the Church exercised so wide a beneficence as she does to-day, when her followers were so many, so courageous, and so united; when her influence upon the politics and literature of the nations was so commanding, we must ascribe it to the revival of foreign missions. That spirit of enterprise and unselfish love which is the direct inspiration of missions must be the animating genius of all Church work. The ascended Christ pervades by His Spirit everything that touches the mind of nations — the tides of public opinion, their ebb and flow, the changing bases of the religious sentiment, the circulation of literature, the strife and the issue of the battlefield, the revolutions of commerce, and the fate of governments. Christ is in all these movements. He appropriates every force, and uses it for the exaltation of God among the nations. The ultimate fate of the Christian religion is a subject of intense interest even to those who do not believe in its divinity. I refer to the thoughtful men who study the forces that are moving the world. These intellectual observers see in Christianity a tremendous power with a history behind it, and a prospect before it, which not only places it above the frvalship of other faiths, but leaves it absolutely alone as the one religion which educates the highest principles of humanity, and commands the civilization of the world. They assail its dogmas, they predict its fall; and yet are compelled to acknowledge that, in spite of the disunion which distracts its labours and weakens its federations, its march upon the convictions of mankind was never so swift, never so triumphant as it is to-day. The becoming attitude of those within the Church in their observation is stillness. Not the stillness of inactivity, nor the stillness of a sullen disappointment, and still less the quiet of a settled despair. When God says, "Be still," He enforces the stillness of waiting — of watching the unfolding of ways and the development of thoughts which are as much higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth. But why should we be still? Because we know in part, and, therefore, prophesy — that is, utter Divine things — in part. We are ignorant of God's plan and God's method. But there are two things on which our ignorance may rest itself. First, the immutable declaration, "I will be exalted among the nations"; secondly, the proofs that this declaration is in process of fulfilment. Let us leave God to work out the realization of His designs in His own way. If the light of His operations is not clear to our understanding, if surrounding events appear to contradict our impression of His mind and character, can we expect any other result when passing finite beings are watching the steps of the Infinite?
(E. E. Jenkins, LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.