Hope When it Seems There is No Reason to Hope

Micah 4:1–8 (ESV)

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 disputes for strong nations far away; 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.

Background

Micah told the people of both Israel and Judah that God was preparing to come down from heaven to judge them because they had rejected His covenant, commands, and counsel. In spite of this, the people were content to maintain the status quo, unwilling to turn back to God through repentance and confession.


An Amazing Word of Hope

The date of this message is the time of Hezekiah, when he and his followers needed words of hope during Sennacherib’s siege in 701 b.c. Outside the walls of Jerusalem were hordes of enemy troops (Mic. 4:9, 11; 5:1). What would become of Jerusalem? Would God ever fulfill his glorious promises about that great city of God, that beautiful city of Zion? How could the small nation of Judah ever bring peace and prosperity to the earth and end the military terrorization of the nations?

Micah’s words answer these questions and serve as a secure foundation for hope in a dark and hopeless day. [1]


God’s Transformation of Zion and All Nations (4:1–5)

This prophecy provides Micah and his audience with a vision of what God will ultimately do in Zion. It begins by pointing forward to a future time “in the last days” when the people of the world will experience God’s presence in a totally new way.

 

Throngs of endless people will stream to Jerusalem from many nations (4:1b–2)

The purpose for coming to Jerusalem is not just to see the exalted mountain or the temple, but to hear the words of God, to be taught his ways, and to understand the “law” (torah) from God himself.

·        Not only will the lives of individuals be eternally changed, but the selfish and brutal political purposes of nations will follow an altered course (Mic. 4:3).

·        He will remove the reasons for international conflict so that people will not need to go to war again. Weapons of war and death will be destroyed and transformed into instruments of agriculture, which will preserve life.

·        As a consequence of this transformation, every individual will have plenty to eat, be free of anxiety, and have a peaceful sense of security (4:4).

A response of faith Micah 4:5

The Assyrians have come to Jerusalem trusting in themselves, their gods, and their military might, not because they want to learn God’s ways. In contrast, the hopelessly outnumbered Hebrews in Jerusalem are ultimately victorious only because they trust in God.


God’s Transformation of the Weak into the Strong (4:6–8)

·        God’s promises are for “that day” (4:6), so no one can blindly assume that everything is going to be roses and joy from the present time until the end of time; those who trust God know better than this.

·        Micah assures his listeners that God has not forgotten any of them.

·        This theme of God’s gathering his people as a shepherd gathers his injured sheep is a reassurance that God has not forgotten these people, nor is he unaware of their miserable condition.


God will reign as king in Zion forever (4:7b–8)

There will be no more defeats, no more exiles, and no hopeless years serving foreign kings. God’s kingship will last forever.

Conclusion and Application

When people have confidence in God’s sovereign plan and his control of the future they will acknowledge his control, submit to his will, and want to walk in his ways. Through the revelation of his power and plan, God will transform the hearts of people on the earth so that his desires are accomplished in and through them. Confidence also leads to a commitment not to walk like other people, but to follow the leader who has the winning plan. This confidence will naturally express itself in trust and faith to do what seems difficult.[2]


Practically, this means that we do not have to fear that the world is totally out of control.

 We may not understand why things happen the way they do or know how God is ever going to straighten out the mess the world is in, but we can look confidently at the future, knowing that eventually God will work all the parts together in such a way that his plan is accomplished.


Ultimately, Micah is reminding us that no matter what type of difficult situation we face, whether it’s an invading army or an invasive sin, there is only one source of hope—His name is Jesus!


[1] Smith, G. V. (2001). Hosea, Amos, Micah (p. 507). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[2] Redmond, E., Curtis, W., Fentress, K., Platt, D., Akin, D. L., & Merida, T. (2016). Exalting jesus in jonah, micah, nahum, habakkuk. Nashville, TN: Holman Reference.

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