Michael Youssef - Stay Calm and Look Up
Most of us, if not all of us, at some point, some point in our lives, might not be now, but at some point in our lives, whether we've experienced injustice in our own life, our own experience, or watched a friend or a family member or somebody go through this experience, seeing injustice done to them, or when we saw someone literally get away with murder, or we watched how wickedness is succeeding beyond all measures, or when countless acts of injustice take place all around us, if we are honest, that makes me angry, right?
You see, the success of the dishonest and the suffering of righteousness and the turning of moral absolutes upside down, that is happening all over the place. All that makes us angry. When we experience that injustice personally, firsthand, that is much more intense than when we see it in somebody else. And the great thing about our Bible is that it does not hide, it does not deny, it does not mock this rightful emotion of righteous anger. As a matter of fact, Ephesians chapter 4 tells us that it is okay to have righteous anger as long as you don't let that anger lead you to sin. History's filled with people who experience righteous anger over some injustice, and then they began movements, they began many things, great things for God. And you know history as much as I do.
See, when righteous anger is channeled positively, it can accomplish great things for God, amen? Turn to Psalm 37, it's a very long psalm, 40 verses. So, what I'm doing, I'm splitting it in two. Today, the message is going to be verses 1 to 20. And then in the next message, it's going to be verses 21 to 40. Most Old Testament scholars agree that this is most likely a psalm that was written by David. And they also agreed that, most likely, this was a psalm that was written by David, inspired by the Holy Spirit toward the end of his life.
David, who spent his early years running from wicked King Saul, he was running and running and running as a fugitive. During those years, there is no doubt, at least in my mind, that David must have asked himself many times, "How come, Lord, that this wicked king, even though he's your anointed," and he wouldn't touch him, he wouldn't hurt him even when he could, "how come he is living in the lap of luxury in the king's palace? And here I am, as faithful as I know how, I've been living for you, I am living in these crags and living in these caves in the mountains, and hiding and sweating it out over there"?
As older King David, he reflects on those early years of how God has been faithful to him, how God protected him, how God took care of him, how God guided him through the fire and through the flood. And he brought him a long way. As he reflects on those days, he looks back and he realizes the following. Things don't turn out the way they appear to be on the surface, amen? And so, he gives us his advice. Inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, he records Psalm 37. And in it he tells us, basically here's a Youssef translation, summary of the Psalm, "Stay calm and look up".
David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, he gives us four reasons as to why those who know the Lord and love the Lord must stay calm and look up, four reasons. Stay calm and look up, verses 1 to 3, because of what you cannot see with your physical eye. Secondly, verses 4 to 7, stay calm and look up because of what you already have. Thirdly, verses 8 to 11, stay calm and look up because of what is coming to you. Finally, fourthly, verses 12 to 20, stay calm and look up because of the coming judgment on the wicked. When you only see the success of the wicked, when you only see success of evil and you cannot see anything else, we're basically like a person who's physically blind and he cannot see 24/7. He lives in darkness 24/7.
That's what happens. But if you start seeing with your spiritual eyes, you're going to realize that these people are not as happy as they appear to be. You will see that these people, deep down, they are miserable. You're going to see some things that you were not able to see with your physical eye, but you'll see it with your spiritual eyes. When you see these people come on television, I'm talking about those lobbyists who are out there forcing the immorality and the turning upside down of biblical morality, and forcing all of that on us and upon our children, when you see them on television and just want you to see them with your spiritual eyes, not with your physical eyes, you're going to see them absolutely seething with anger. They are burning from the inside with guilt, and it shows. You realize that inside, there is a volcano over against their transgressions.
You say, "Michael, why? Why"? I'm going to tell you why. Don't ever forget this. Because they are created in God's own image. And because they're created in God's own image, no matter what they say in public, well, on the inside, they are eaten up with guilt. You with me? Why do you think they already started back yonder, "We just want acceptance. We just want to accept of all of our lifestyles, we want to accept that everybody is accepted. And finally, God accepted". No, no, no, that is really not enough. We want approval. And so, they got approval. But now, it's not enough. We want you to highlight our immorality and immoral lifestyle to be a virtue. It never stops, it'll never stop. It will never stop, even if the government tomorrow says, "Yeah, that's a virtue," that's not going to stop.
And that is why Psalm 37, verse 1, from particularly 1 to 20, you find the word "fret not" three times. Verse 1, verse 7, verse 8, "Fret not, fret not. Fret not because of what you cannot see". In my personal opinion, I always make a distinction between my personal opinion and expounding of the Word of God, David was saying to himself, "Why did I ever waste my time and my energy fretting over Saul? Why did I even waste all that time about Saul's apparent success"? Today, even secular psychologists have agreed that anger, envy, and jealousy, all of these things hurt the person who are experiencing them more than the object of their hatred. They really do. It devastates the person who's doing the anger and the hatred. It devastates them and it can really destroy them. It can destroy them mentally, emotionally, psychologically, socially, but even physically.
Secondly, stay calm and look up because of what you have, verses 4 to 7. If you've ever analyzed the situation, and we've all been there, as I mentioned in the very beginning, whether that injustice happened to you or to somebody dear and near to you, and you see the success of the wicked, you realize this is how it sits in motion. They start with fretting. And fretting gives way to irritation, intense irritation. And if intense irritation not dealt with godly way and biblical way, it will lead to anger. And anger, if it's not checked and channeled positively, it will produce hatred. And beloved, I don't need to tell you that hatred has its own ugly consequences.
Beloved, when a believer starts fretting at the success of the wicked and they forget that they have Christ, which is everything, it gets you into trouble, every time. Verse 4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart". Oh, that verse, it's a wonderful verse. He'll give you the desires of your heart. All you need to do is just name it and you claim it and it's yours. They conveniently leave out the condition that leads to God giving you the desires of your heart. Hello. They conveniently leave out the most important part of the verse. When you delight yourself in the Lord, then and only then he will give you the desires of your heart. Question, what does it mean to delight yourself in the Lord? What does it mean to delight yourself in anybody? Think with me, think of those romantic days.
Well, I really trust and hope that romantic days never stop. Remember when you delight yourself in somebody else, what happens? You want to do what that other person wants, right? When two people are in love, and I've seen it through the years, of course, in premarital counseling in the old days when I used to do weddings. And man, they're just so in love, and their head is in the cloud, and they're falling over each other to please each other. Then they get married. I don't mean that, I'm just trying to make a point. When I delight myself in the Lord, listen to me, when I delight myself in the Lord, it means that I want to do what he wants me to do. I will go where he wants me to go. I'm going to please him above all else.
If my desire is his desire, if my delight is his delight, therefore he will grant my desire, which is his desire to begin with. Hello. Beloved, this love relationship with the Lord, the nonbelievers and the nominal Christians will never understand, they really won't. This delighting one's self in the Lord can never be comprehended by the ungodly. And so, they call us names, and they falsely accuse us of things of which we are very innocent. Verses 5 and 6, "Commit your ways to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your vindication as the light and your righteousness as the noonday".
Today, we're so used to headline news that are fake and not true. And then the apology comes on page 27 in a very small print. Today, there might be someone here or somebody watching around the world, wherever you are, and you feel that you're not getting your just reward, or you feel you've been passed over for a promotion, or you feel that you got a raw deal, or that you're suffering injustice of any kind, or you're being a victim of rumors and gossip, or you're saying to yourself, "Nice guys finish last". And you are carrying this huge burden and others appear to have it easy.
Here's the truth, my beloved friends. Please listen, here's the truth. The judge of the universe is watching you. The judge of the universe is making sure that you will be openly vindicated one day. He will publicly exonerate you one day. He will publicly justify you one day. You will be generously rewarded one day. You will be lavishly blessed one day.
Stay calm and look up, say it with me. For what you cannot see. Secondly, stay calm and look up because of what you have. Thirdly, stay calm and look up because of what is coming to you, verses 8 to 11. You will not be merely vindicated, you will not be merely exonerated, you will not be merely justified, but you will be rewarded. You will be rewarded. You will inherit the whole earth that's a new earth. Remember the Bible talks about the new heaven and the new earth? The whole new earth is yours. And those who caused you to fret, those who caused you envy, those who caused you anger, they'll be like a puff of smoke, gone. And while you will have it all, they will be like soot.
I know, listen to me, I know that what we see is this invasion of an extreme secularism in our culture, in our society. And you know what the word "secular" means, this world, this life, this is now, here and now. And you see the emphasis everywhere you go. And even preachers today, they are only preaching messages about the here and now. They're just focusing on this life and focusing on this life. There's nothing wrong with this life. Let me tell you, I preach about this, but that's not all that there is. If there is, we're wasting our time. Because of what you? Secondly, stay come and look up because of what? Thirdly, stay calm and look up because of what? Amen.
Finally, stay calm and look up because of the penalty of the wicked. Here's David telling us that if we can see, if we can see what God sees, only if we can see what he sees, we would not waste a minute of our lives. We would not waste any of our energy, not a single minute of our time fretting, envying the wicked and their apparent success. If you and I could see what God sees, we too would laugh at the wicked just like God does. You would laugh even at your own waste of time and energy fretting. You too would laugh at the foolishness of the wicked. You too would laugh at the cruel joke that Satan is playing on the wicked.
Let me ask you a question, have you ever overreacted, I mean really overreacted to some information that you received? I mean, you really flew off the handle as they say, only to discover later that that information was erroneous, that was wrong information. Answer the question to yourself, you don't have to tell me. Think of how you felt when you realized that was false information. I mean, you felt that you made a fool of yourself, right? Now, don't laugh because I've been there. I've been there, few times. And that's exactly what happens when we envy or fret or become angry over the success of the ungodly.
Listen to me, you have the wrong information because you have partial information. You have the wrong information. Begin to look at the things from God's perspective, not from your own. In fact, instead of envying them and being angry at what they're doing, you know what we need to do? We need to weep for them. And I mean that with all my heart. We should be weeping over their horrible fate, their dreadful end. We should be weeping over the terrible coming judgment on the wicked because of their coming torment. That will not be for a period of time, that'll be forever and ever and ever. I know we don't weep over sinners in the church anymore. These days, professing Christians either join the sinners or envy the sinners. Someone said that there are more tears shed in the movie theaters over imaginary tragedies than in the churches where there are real ones.
Sir Winston Churchill once said, "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened". Beloved, we live in a time when we have totally, I'm talking about our culture as a whole, totally confused fiction with reality. There's some people living in an unreal world. And yet, what we think is real and permanent, God scoffs at because he knows that what we see is not real and it's not permanent. God knows the end of the wicked, he knows the judgment of the wicked, he knows the eternal fate of the wicked. And if God can laugh at the foolishness of the wicked, at least you and I can stay calm and look up, amen?
Take a moment to reflect as I come to an end. I just want you to reflect just for a moment. I'm not talking about reflecting on history centuries ago. I'm talking about just a few decades ago. And most of us have not lived those days, but we know it in history. Ask yourself the question, where are all the mighty and powerful people? Where? Hitler used to have millions of adoring crowds saluting him and bowing to him. Mussolini was feared by millions of people, where are they now? Where are they now? Well, their bodies are rotting in the ground, and their souls are being tormented in hell right now at this moment, while the righteous are rejoicing in the presence of Jesus right now.