When we preach, we don’t simply present a truth, make an offer or demonstrate the relevance of an ancient text. Every biblical passage is a heavenly assault on the unquestioned assumptions of a fallen world. That is to say, we don’t really live in a neutral world with some evil “out there” and some good information in the Bible.
The truth is that our entire world is upside down. Every cell in this universe is corrupted by the fall. Yet we love to live in the myth that we are objectively evaluating a normal reality. Then when extremes come before us, we are the arbiters who can discern what is extreme and what is not. This results in people listening to the Bible and trying to find something relevant, rather than hearing the absolute revolution it speaks into our fallen, me-first, self-loving, circumstances-determine-mood world.
So when we preach, what are we doing? Sure, we are presenting the truth of the passage. We are inviting people to meet the God who reveals Himself in His Word. We are showing that the ancient text is more relevant than anything we hold to be truly contemporary. But we are also bringing a heavenly critique of all that we believe to be normal.
Tomorrow I am preaching Psalm 46. It is a wonderful Psalm of comfort for people fearing the destabilization brought by human enemies. The LORD of hosts is with us, He is our fortress. That changes everything. He will utter and war will be defeated forever. Here we are, understandably concerned by what we see going on in the world, perhaps even fearing for our future and our children’s future. But the Bible challenges assumptions we don’t even recognize, and as we encounter the message of a passage like this one, we find our whole paradigms recalibrated to the reality we can’t see.