2084.) Micah 4

The bronze sculpture “Let Us Beat Our Swords into Ploughshares,” was created by Soviet artist Evgeny Vuchetich, and presented to the United Nations on 4 December 1959 by the Government of the USSR. The sculpture, depicting the figure of a man holding a hammer aloft in one hand and a sword in the other, which he is making into a ploughshare, is meant to symbolize man’s desire to put an end to war, and to convert the means of destruction into creative tools for the benefit of mankind. It is located in the North Garden of the United Nations Headquarters.

Micah 4 (ESV)

In chapters 4 and 5, Micah proclaims that after judgment God will mercifully forgive and restore his people, bringing them back from exile in Babylon and reviving their city of Jerusalem.

The Mountain of the LORD

1It 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.

2And 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.”

Psalm 25:4 (NIV)

 Show me your ways, LORD,
   teach me your paths.

For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall decide 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.

In 1941 Franklin Roosevelt gave a famous speech about four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.  Micah 4:1-5 also describes four freedoms:

  • Freedom from ignorance (He will teach us His ways)
  • Freedom from war (Neither shall they learn war anymore)
  • Freedom from want (everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree)
  • Freedom from fear (no one shall make them afraid)

–David Guzik

5For 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.

Everything will be turned upside-down when this Messianic future “comes to pass.” The house of the LORD will be lifted up, the nations will flow uphill and war-mongering will turn to peace-making.

We have witnessed the lifting up of the house of the LORD. Christ – the true Temple – was destroyed and raised again on the third day (John 2:19-22). He is the true Meeting Place with the living God. And in risen power His word goes out to the nations and the world flocks to find peace in Him.

Yet, for the full benefits of Christ’s peace-making we will have to await His second coming. He told us in Mark 13 that until His return there would be “wars and rumours of wars” (v7). But in the meantime we see the principle of His redemption working its way out.

There are any  number of modern examples of swords into ploughshares: technology designed for destruction, redeemed for productive purposes. (Click  HERE  for some interesting cases of “swords” being turned into “plowshares.”) But the power, the pattern and the prototype for all such redemption is the cross of Jesus. There the greatest evil imaginable – deicide! – is turned to the greatest good – the salvation of the world. The sword of judgement fell upon Jesus and yet, as He went into the ground, it was only to become more fruitful! (John 12:24)

Christians know this redemptive power in themselves. And we await its application to the whole creation. With eyes fixed on the cross we have hope that the deepest darkness will be turned to light and peace:

Crown him the Lord of peace; his kingdom is at hand.
From pole to pole let warfare cease and Christ rule every land!
All hail, Redeemer, hail, for you have died for me.
Your praise shall never, never fail throughout eternity.

–Glen Scrivener

The LORD Shall Rescue Zion

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;
7and 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.

8And 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.

Now the prophet sketches out the future for the people of Judah. Some of it is bad news:  he tells them they will have no more kings, and that they would be sent as captives to Babylon. But he also encourages them with the assurance that God would help his people return to their land. All these things happened just as Micah prophesied, as recorded in 2 Chronicles 36 and Ezra 1 and 2. 

And is that not our story, too? Sin sends us into a kind of exile, and Jesus comes to restore us to wholeness and peace.

9Now 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.

11Now many nations
are assembled against you,
saying, “Let her be defiled,
and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.”
12But 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.
13Arise 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.

“Behold, O Christ, the affliction of my heart; behold my turning back; behold my tears, O Saviour, and despise me not. But embrace me once again in Thy compassion and count me with the multitude of the saved, that with thanksgiving I may sing the praises of Thy mercy.”

–Matins Canon

_________________________

Music:

HERE  — Let us go to the mountain of the Lord, rejoicing and singing “Crown Him with Many Crowns.”

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
UN sculpture.  http://downloads.unmultimedia.org/photo/medium/119/119163.jpg
Micah 4:1.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/micah4_11.jpg
Norman Rockwell,”The Four Freedoms.”    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/mypictures1.jpg
swords into plowshares.   http://www.opednews.com/populum/uploaded/swords-into-plowshares1–400-x-3-11235-20090402-4.jpg
Prodigal Son sketch.  http://monachos.net/content/images/icons/prodigalson_sketch.png
redeemed.   http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/161965_137502462929816_615333_n.jpg
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