Craig Groeschel - The Good News No One Is Reporting
Who's ready for the Word today? You guys seem a little more fired up than usual. I think you're ready to hear the word. If you're ready, I'm ready to preach the word. Let me just state this for the record. Just to give you kind of context for the record. I wrote this message before knowing the results, just want you to know that. I finished this message on Tuesday before some of you were halfway through the lines trying to vote. So just so you know and I wanna be really clear. What I'm not trying to do today is I'm not trying to make a political statement, I'm trying to make a spiritual statement. And my goal is not to console those of you who are disappointed nor to celebrate with those of you who are excited. My goal is to build the faith of all God's people that no matter who is in office, in our nation, our mission never ever changes as we were called to be as followers, of Jesus.
And well we do, so what I wanna try to do today is just step back and bring perspective. And I wanna bring it from a passage that I didn't wanna preach, like really didn't wanna preach. Like tried not to preach. It was ridiculous. I tried to write like probably eight different messages. My office team is with me. They watched me, for two weeks trying to find something else to preach. And God wouldn't let me escape from this text, even though I didn't wanna preach it. So I'll tell you in a little while why I resisted this text but I'm gonna preach to you out of Psalm 46. And I wanna give you the context because this is a really powerful portion of scripture. You might have this verse on a coffee mug, which is a great thing but if you don't understand the context you miss a little bit of the depth and the richness of what I hope to show you today.
Psalm 46. This is commonly believed to be a Psalm that was written in 701 BC. Now watch this. I'm gonna give you the context when the evil king of Assyria attacks Jerusalem. I just gave you the context, and it's really unfair because it's almost impossible for you to understand just how incredibly impactful that one sentence was. 701 BC when the evil king of Assyria attacked Jerusalem. It's unfair to most all of us because, I don't know about you but I've never lived in a city that was really under attack, especially from someone as evil and as brutal as the Assyrian Army. When I try to give you a context, because if you understand what the people living in Jerusalem felt like, it will bring color to the text that says, "God is our ever present help in time of trouble".
The Assyrian Army, they were the most efficient and feared military force in the ancient world. How many of you have ever seen "Taken One" the movie or two or three or whatever? Imagine 185,000 Liam Neesons right? Who have very, a very particular set of skills. That was the Assyrian Army. They had the most advanced weaponry. There was no other force that had the weapons that they had. They had the most strategic training and these warriors were brutal beyond measure. When they attacked, they didn't want to just destroy. They wanted to destroy and completely humiliate and devastate the people. They would use psychological warfare, both before during and after a battle to terrorize their enemies.
They made these tablets that would depict what they would do to the prisoners after the battle. And they would show them they would leave them in a community after they left, or they would send them a head like a postcard saying, "Hey here's a little letter of what we're gonna do to you". And I'll show you a couple of examples of these. This is not an actual tablet but this is a drawing that was made from the tablet where they would show themselves pulling out the beards, beating in their heads, you know, sticking their fingers down people throats, treating them like animals and torturing them. This next one is an actual tablet. And in this one is really disgusting.
But if you know what impalement is, this is a form of both torture and execution, that these Assyrians invented. And without being too graphic or disgusting if you can imagine a spear or a giant sword where you put a human being you know, you put the spear through the backside of a person all the way up through their body, and you hang them there while they suffer and until they die, this was the Assyrians. They say, most people believe that the Romans invented the crucifixion. Some people believe the Assyrians invented crucifixion. The Romans perfected it. They were so brutal. They would skin their prisoners alive. They would often cut off body parts. They'd cut off an ear or nose of their prisoners. And then the Assyrian warriors might wear if you could imagine, a nose or an ear on a necklace just to declare their dominance and what they did to the women and the children.
I'm not even gonna mention it in a crowd like this, because it would be too difficult emotionally even to put into your minds at this point in this setting what they would do to the women and the children. So this is the context into which God was speaking. They were terrified, terrified beyond measure. So if you could imagine in a time of national turmoil, where they felt utter hopelessness no ability to defend themselves on their own ability against such a force. And the spirit of God, gives them hope. And 2,700 years later, our same God gives us the very same hope, when he reminds us that who is God. God is our refuge and our strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. I love this phrase. He's always ready. The moment you're in trouble, he's ready.
Your situation never catches God off guard. He never says, "I didn't see that coming. I don't know what to do now. I wasn't prepared for this". He is, another version says, "He is our ever present help in time of trouble". I wanna talk about this phrase because it's so much richer than just the English words help us to understand ever present help. This phrase comes from two Hebrew words. The words Nimsa meod. Everybody say, Nimsa. Nimsa. Nimsa meod everybody say meod. Meod. Nimsa this Hebrew word, it means to be discovered, it means to be encountered, it means to be experienced. In other words, I can't just tell you about this attribute of God. It is so good. There's no way that words can describe it. You have to experience it, Nimsa.
I could try to tell you about the Grand Canyon, but until you've walked over and seen the glory of God's creation, words can't describe it, you've got to experience it. I could tell you about Niagara Falls, but until you hear the rushing power of the water and feel the breeze of the spring, words, don't do it justice. You can't describe it, you have to experience it. I could tell you about Amy's chocolate fudge cake. With vanilla ice cream. And you say, "Well, I've heard that before". You've never heard Amy's. Unless you've got chocolate all over your face you didn't experience it. I could tell you about it but I can't explain it. This is the Nimsa. You have to experience him. And it's been my prayer all week long that some of you today, no matter what form of trouble you may face, that you would experience the very real presence of God, in a way that I could never ever describe. But when you know it, no one can take it away from you.
Nimsa meod, meod is the word that tries to describe the presence of God. Meod means exceedingly abundant. It means exceedingly much. One writer called it the muchness of God, I like that. There's so much of his goodness we can't even fit it into words exceedingly much, much muchness. It's lots, lots, lots, lots, lots. In other words, this verse very literally means that in times of trouble, God overflows with his exceedingly abundant protection, provision and strength. That's what our God does.
The question though is, what is that mean for us today, right now? In our own context, as we face our own enemies, you might say, "well, I live in Jerusalem and I'm not under attack of the Assyrians". You may feel like you're under attack because you got crazy family or whatever and thanksgiving is coming. You know, you've got go deal with them. Everybody's got the crazy family right? Raise your hands if you got crazy family. Leave 'em up, leave 'em up, leave 'em up. Everybody's got crazy family. Look around if their hands not up in the air. Everybody's got crazy.
What does this mean to us today? What does God is our refuge our strength, our ever present help in time of trouble mean when we're feeling overwhelmed with anxiety. What does it mean when you're so uneasy that you stay awake at night because you're worried about the world your kids or your grandkids are gonna grow up in? What does it mean in the middle of a global pandemic, when you might not feel safe, when your job may feel fragile? What does it mean when your marriage is hanging by a thread? What does it mean when your children that you love aren't functioning well? What does it mean when your faith, which once was strong, isn't as strong as it once was? What it means is, that our God is exactly what you need, when you need him. And he is so much more, Nimsa meod, your ever present help in time of trouble.
The goodness of God, which cannot be explained must be experience that no matter what you are facing our God is exactly, precisely, specifically what you need in that moment and yet he's so much more, who is God? What is God, in your moment of need? The good news that no one is reporting, who is God? If you're anxious, the good news is our God is your peace. When you're hurting, who is God? Our God is your comforter. Anytime you're lacking, our God is your abundant provider. If you sinned against a Holy God, the good news is our God is your righteousness. He is your salvation. He is your strength whenever you're weak and feel like you don't have the power to go on. Our God is your hope, whenever you're hopeless. He is your light, when the world feels like it's growing ever so much more dark.
Who is God? Whenever you're in trouble, he is your shield. He is your righteousness. He is your fortress. He is your rock. He is your defender. Our God is exactly what you need in the moment you need them. And our God is so much more. Who is God? Who do you need him to be? Where are you hurting? Our God knows exactly what you're going through. And he's exactly what you need when you need him. And he's so much more. I love the power of verses six and verse seven. When the Psalmist says, "The nations are in chaos". Does it ever feel like that in your world today? "The nations are in chaos, let their kingdoms crumble because God's voice thunders and the earth melts. The Lord of Heaven's Armies is here among us".
What a statement, who is Jesus? His name is Emmanuel which means God with us. God didn't just shout his love from heaven but he showed his love on earth when he sent Jesus, the righteous one the sinless one, who became sin for us, died in our place, so we could know the goodness of God, the one who will never leave us and never forsake us. Find comfort in the truth that the Lord of heavens, he is here among us and the God of Israel is our fortress. In other words. our God is big enough to oversee the whole world. And he's loving enough to care about you. The nations are under his throne and yet this reigning, ruling, sovereign, powerful, ever present, all sufficient God, is loving enough to know the exact details of what's going on in your life right now. I can't just tell you about him.
You see, he is so good you have to experience him. And that's why the Psalmist says, I love it, "Come and see the glorious works of the Lord". Come and see him, open up your heart to him, cry out to him, lean into him, cling to him, depend on him. Whenever you draw near, he draws near to you. When you cry out to him, he steps towards you. The moment any one of my children cry out, "Daddy reach out, Dad I need you". At the moment, they have my attention, I'm there for them. And the moment you need God, he delights in revealing himself to you. And he is exactly what you need in a moment you need him. And he was so much more. Come and open up your hearts and see the glorious deeds the goodness of our God. He is sovereign. He is Supreme. He is King. He is righteous. He is just and he's loving enough to be involved in the intimate details of your life. Who is he? The Lord is our fortress. Our rock. Our shelter, our ever present help in time of need.
That's the part I like. I like that a lot. Now I'm gonna show you the part that bothers me. Is it okay if I'm bothered by something in the Bible? You ever get bothered by something in the Bible? Don't be so holy that you don't just come to this sometime to say, "You know what, this bothers me. This part bothers me". This is the very reason I didn't want to preach this text and let me just try to help you understand why. Imagine it's 701 BC. I'm a husband and dad. So I'm imagining me in this context, and the Assyrian Army that I've feared since I was a little child, is coming to attack and I don't have the power or ability to protect my family. And I know, what they've promised they're gonna do to my wife and my children. And I don't have the power to stop it. And my assignment from God is this, "Be still, and know that I am God".
Be still when everything I value, everything I love, everything I've spent my whole life trying to build and protect is jeopardized. And you're telling me I can't do what I'm designed to do, which is protect, strive and fight. Be still, think that I'll ever like to be still. I like to be still on vacation. I'm married to queen bee still is, no you're, like, "Oh, you have a great marriage". You wanna see us when she wants to be still and I don't want to. Which is every time on my day off, "Hey let's just be still". Like, I can't be still. She can be still in the presence of God, like forever. I can't do it for 30 seconds.
My, I got the best 25 second prayers you've ever heard in your life. Man me and God we're tight in 25 seconds. Amy can be still and like talk to God like worship. She don't and I'm not talking about praying. I'm just talking about warming up. Listen, I can write a sermon, a leadership podcast a third of an entire book before she ever even starts into the real prayer. She's just being still, honoring God. The reason I don't like to be still, is because when I'm still, I can't contribute anything. When I'm still, I can't be in control. When I'm still I can't voice my opinion. I can't fix anything, from being really transparent when I'm being still, I can't be important.
I don't get to be the main character. And I like to be the main character. And God says, "You're never the main character". There are some battles that only God can win. And there were some times, in some seasons where your only assignment is, to be still and know that he is God. Be still and know, be still and know. Notice the text, doesn't say be worried and know that he's God. Getting up in your business right now. I'm coming for you. Doesn't say be freaked out, doesn't say be anxious, doesn't say be worried, doesn't say be an idiot on social media. Be delivered in name of the father, son and Holy spirit. Be set free. You clap when I'm talking to you.
Be still the word still in Hebrews was raphah. It means to be quiet. It means to relax. This word literally means to give yourself a break. Oh somebody, God's telling you to chillax, that this one ain't yours, that this is above your pay grade, that you ain't got the IQ to figure this one out, that you think you're politically savvy and strategic but this one's above your pay grade. There's some battles that are just battles for the Lord. And your assignment, is to be still, give yourself a break. 'Cause our God is big enough to oversee the whole world. And he's loving enough to care about the intimate details in your life.
Be still, and know, this is a knowing that doesn't come by reading, and it doesn't come by hearing. It only comes by experiencing, and I would love it if our worship team at the different locations wouldn't mind joining us at your particular location. And I wanna try to answer the question so what happened to the people? The fathers, the mothers, and the children and the warriors and the, in Jerusalem when they were under attack and I'll try to answer this question.
If you'd like to read about it on your own you can jot this down, jot down 2 Chronicles 32 looking for somebody who's gonna make me feel better like you're taking notes. Listen you remember a lot better when you write things down. 2 Chronicles 32 or 2 Kings 19. It's the same version of two different versions of the same story. Here's what happened. The Assyrians planed their attack. And King Hezekiah the King of Jerusalem prayed one prayer. And what do you think our God did? The God who is always ready to help, you ready for this? When the King prayed, our God sent, one angel. One angel and this is indescribably emotional to me.
One angel, dismantled 185,000 Assyrian warriors. One angel. It didn't take a legion of angels. It didn't even take God's favorite 10. It just took one, one angel. Because our God is exactly what you need, when you need him. And he is way more big enough to oversee the world, and yet loving enough to be involved in your life. Just one, just one. Some of you, what you need today is just one touch. Just one angel, just one song. Just one answer prayer. Just one sermon, just one word, raphah. Just one, moment in his presence.
When he says, "Be still". Church, be still mom, be still dad. Be still my child, and know in a way that can't be described but only be experienced that our God is always God. And here's what God declares not just over the United States of America, just one nation on God's planet. But God says, "I will be honored, by every nation and I will be honored throughout the world". That's how good our God is.
So my question for you is, this what do you need? What do you need God to be? Who do you need him to be in this moment? Because our God is exactly what you need, and so much more. And I would love you to invite you, just to take a moment and slow down and silence the noise of this world and quiet your soul, prepare to worship because he is here. The Lord of Heaven's Armies is here and let God be exactly what you need, and so much more. Be still and know, not wonder, not hope and not wish, but know that he is God and God alone. And he is exactly what you need, and so much more.