1 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, 2 and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; 4 but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. 5 For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.
6 In that day, declares the LORD, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted; 7 and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore. 8 And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem.
9 Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in you? Has your counselor perished, that pain seized you like a woman in labor? 10 Writhe and groan, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in labor, for now you shall go out from the city and dwell in the open country; you shall go to Babylon. There you shall be rescued; there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies. 11 Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, “Let her be defiled, and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.” 12 But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor. 13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion, for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hoofs bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples; and shall devote their gain to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.
A few thoughts for meditation:
1) Vs. 1-5 Micah had a glimpse of the future kingdom of God, and preached to encourage the people of Israel who were about to go into exile as a punishment for their sins. A day was coming when their day of humiliation would be over, and God would return and establish his throne again among his people. But even more, other nations would be ruled by the Lord, and he would settle their disputes with perfect judgment, and bring an end to wars forever. A day is coming when no more swords are needed but only farming tools. Micah had a glimpse of the growing work Christ and his Church in the world, and ultimately the new creation after the return of Christ. In light of this certain future God will bring, Micah rejects any other “gods” and commits to “walk in the name of the LORD our God forever”. How can our own walk be helped by this future hope, when it seems like things are falling apart all around the world?
2) Vs. 6-8, God called the Israelites in exile “the lame” and those he drove away and afflicted. God had afflicted them and took away their king and country for the purpose of discipline, to break their love of idolatry. But he also promised to save a remnant, bring them back and make them a strong nation again, and provide a king again. This began to be fulfilled with the coming of Christ. God’s people have a king on the throne, who rules and defends them, and builds his kingdom in ways the world cannot fathom. But often the way he builds us is through the furnace of affliction. He breaks us down to kill our sins, and then rebuilds us, making us fit for fellowship with him in glory. How can this perspective help you during your afflictions? Will you always be in that state if Christ is your king?
3) Vs. 10-12, many times the church is put into a humble state before the world, often as a form of discipline for her sins. And the world thinks they have the upper hand over the Church in that condition because God has abandon her. But God has his own plan for his people, and will cause them to rise in triumph again when the time is right. This is often the pattern for the Church, because that was the pattern in the life of Christ himself. The enemies of Christ thought they triumphed over him on the Cross, but he rose again three days later. Such is the ultimate end of the Church too as His body. How can this encourage us when the church is under various afflictions, or when the world sneers at her?
4) How often do you actually think about these pictures of our future glory with Jesus in the new creation? If you thought about these realities more often, would it help you or hinder you in enduring afflictions with more patience and hope?