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Sunday, October 1st, 2023
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
Micah 4

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Verse 1

The House of the LORD Is Raised

From the deepest humiliation, shown in the last verse of the previous chapter (Micah 3:12), Zion will be raised to the highest glory in the future. God’s last word is not judgment. In fact, glory can only come after the judgment of sin. That is the miracle of the cross. Every blessing is based on the work of Christ on the cross, including the future blessing of Israel.

It is striking that the three opening verses (Micah 4:1-Leviticus :) are almost word-for-word similar to some of the verses in the beginning of Isaiah 2 (Isaiah 2:2-Numbers :). A discussion about who has copied from the other is useless. Both have written by the Holy Spirit. And He has found it good that both have included the same scene in the same words in their prophecy.

The expression “in the last days” or “in latter days” is used more often by the prophets (Jeremiah 49:39; Daniel 2:28; Daniel 10:14; Hosea 3:5). They refer to the time when the Messiah takes over the government of (the restored) Israel and the world. Then the time of blessing for Israel will come. Also the nations will share in the blessing by coming to the center of this blessing, the house of the LORD in Jerusalem. In the present time the messengers of the Lord go out to the nations, but then the nations will come from everywhere to Zion.

The mountain of the house of the LORD is the temple mountain, Mount Moriah. If we look at that mountain now, it is not literally “the chief of the mountains”. Spiritually seen, that mountain will be the chief. What makes it the chief or most valued mountain is the temple that stands there. It cannot be excluded that in the future the temple mountain will also literally be the highest mountain. This can be God’s work. In the time of the great tribulation there will be enormous natural disasters (Revelation 16:18). It is possible that because of this the landscapes will undergo great changes and for example the temple mountain will be raised above the hills.

There is also a spiritual significance for the church today. The church is now the house of God (1 Timothy 3:15). God has placed the church on earth to hold and uphold the truth as the pillar and support of the truth. When believers faithfully serve the Lord Jesus in obedience to His Word, they fulfill God’s purpose with the church. Their lives then stand out morally far above the lives of people who do not take God into account. The result may be that unbelievers are attracted to get to know that God.

Verse 2

From Zion Will Go Forth the Law

Because on that chief of the mountains stands the house of the God of Jacob, the nations will go there. Then they will come from Washington, Brussels and Moscow and all the other cities where now the policy of the world is being made, to learn from “the God of Jacob”. Instead of going up to fight against Jerusalem (Micah 4:11), they come because they want to learn from God how He wants them to walk (cf. Zechariah 8:20-Isaiah :).

The teaching is “about His ways”, the ways of the LORD, how He does things. Studying them will teach them how to walk themselves. These paths are ways that God has gone and is going in His relation to people and on which He leads them. With the exhortation “come” they will encourage each other to follow this teaching.

The words “for from Zion” and so on are again words of the prophet and not of the nations. They indicate the reason why the nations are so zealous for the mountain of the LORD. Zion is the source of the law, the constitution of the kingdom. From it the nations derive education for a walk in the ways of God. With the knowledge of the law they have gained and accepted there, they go back to their homeland. There they pass on the received teaching of the law, so that their people will walk in accordance with it.

The order is important: first teaching, then practice. Only when we have learned from the Lord can we walk in His way. The Christian who lives in peace with God will have the same longing in his heart as the nations of the future. With him there is no contradiction between practice and the teaching of Scripture. There will be no contempt for studying Scripture as if it comes down only to practical Christendom. How can there be practice if we have not learned what to practice?

Verse 3

No More War

Coming to the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, to be taught by Him, is not without result. If mutual disputes are resolved, it is the fruit of listening to the law and the words of the LORD.

Now the nations are still marching against Israel, but then the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, will rule Himself. He will be King and Teacher (Joel 2:23), but also Judge in all disputes between nations to the farthest corners of the earth. In that time it will not be necessary to take up arms, for the LORD will reign in peace. All weapons made to destroy will be forged into tools that promote the common good. This is the opposite of the situation where the nations gather against Israel for the last great battle (Joel 3:9-2 Samuel :), to be defeated by Christ.

Military academies are closed, they have had their time. This time of peace is not the result of the efforts of human organizations such as the United Nations or alliances. They hardly ever agree among themselves because they always pursue their own interests. How, then, could they create a situation of general peace? Never will a human being or an alliance, however benevolent, achieve this result. The foolish pursuit of a world without war is the same as striving to collect water in a sieve. Only through the Lord Jesus, the Prince of peace, will war be abolished and lasting peace will come.

Where peace is not yet present on earth as a whole, it is found already in the hearts and lives of believers (Romans 14:17). People who first hated each other become people who love each other through conversion to God and faith in the Lord Jesus (Titus 3:2-Leviticus :). Fierce, passionate people, who are wild and rough in their sinful nature, become meek and humble. Those who before their conversion offended everyone and could not endure anyone, can endure every insult after their conversion and do no harm to anyone.

Verse 4

The Realm of Peace Has Come

This verse, which is not in Isaiah 2, is a continuation of the description of the realm of peace. After the application of peace we see here the enjoyment of peace. “Sitting” indicates an attitude of peace. From this scene radiates the certainty of complete safety, undisturbed peace and continuous joy.

We know this scene from the reign of Solomon (1 Kings 4:25). Solomon is a beautiful example of the Lord Jesus as the Prince of Peace. The name Solomon means ‘peace’. The LORD says of him to David: “Who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days” (1 Chronicles 22:9).

The vine is the symbol of joy and the fig tree of righteousness. There is joy in a way that corresponds to God’s righteousness. Joy follows the exercise of God’s righteous judgments. As a result, the Israelites enjoy all these blessings, which they will also share with each other, making the joy only greater (Zechariah 3:10).

What we see here is a picture of peace apart from the usual places of residence. Also in the open field there is security and joy. There is no poverty, no one will stretch out his hand to the possession of another, there is no fear of war and loss of possession, no fear of disturbing the harmonious life (Leviticus 26:6). This is not utopia, but will become reality. God has said it and that is why it will happen.

Verse 5

Walking in the Name of the LORD

The first part of the verse does not refer to the future, but to the situation now. After all, in the realm of peace no one walks in the name of his own god. Micah declares that the nations now walk each in the name of his own god. But Israel, in the time of blessing and peace just described, will walk in the power and strength of his God and will worship Him.

Only through His Name comes and remains peace (Zechariah 10:12), while all the names of the gods of the nations can accomplish nothing, let alone maintain something. Numerous peoples walk in the name of the pope, or of Buddha, or of Mohammed. They have brought no solution to the world’s problems and certainly not to the question of sin. All their efforts have only increased the apostasy from God.

Walking in the Name of the LORD means more than just sticking to the religious requirements connected with God. It means living in trust in the power of God. Thereby becomes manifest Who He is. Walking in the name of an idol is finite. Walking in trust in the LORD our God is “forever and ever”, or endless. Forever His people and everyone connected with Him will experience His power.

Verse 6

Assembled and Gathered

Before Israel can enjoy the glories and blessings under the reign of the Messiah, it must first be gathered from the worldwide scattering and brought back into its own country. The LORD Himself will do the same, Micah says.

“In that day” indicates the same period as “the last days” in Micah 4:1. Bringing together those who have been driven out is the same picture as in Micah 2 (Micah 2:12-1 Chronicles :). There it concerns “all of you, Jacob”, the two realms, on the way to peace. Here it is about those who have been scattered and are now represented as having reached peace. In both cases – “the lame” and the “outcast” – it is about a leftover, a remnant.

Verse 7

A Remnant Becomes a Strong Nation

The sheep are in a bad condition. They will acknowledge that this is the result of their sins and that the LORD had to punish them for it. By this acknowledgment He will not exterminate them further, but will make them a remnant. Then He will increase their numbers and make them strong (Isaiah 60:22). He will reign over them “in Mount Zion,” the mountain that speaks of God’s grace (Hebrews 12:22). There is no end to His benevolent reign (Daniel 2:44).

Verse 8

Restoration of Former Dominion

Migdal-Eder - here translated as “tower of the flock” - lies between Bethlehem and Hebron (Genesis 35:21). There Ruben committed the grave sin of having fellowship with Bilha, his father’s concubine. Because of this he has forfeited his birthright (Genesis 49:4; 1 Chronicles 5:1). “Hill” or “Ophel” is the southeastern slope of the temple mountain. To this “the former dominion” is connected. This refers back to the time of the reign of Israel by David and Solomon. Their reign is a picture of the reign of the true David. When Christ reigns as the Son of David, “the daughter of Jerusalem”, that is the inhabitants of Jerusalem, will reign with Him. The dominion of the nations over Jerusalem will then have definitively come to an end.

Verse 9

Cry Out Loudly

From the glorious vision of the distant future in the previous verses, we are suddenly put back into the present crisis. The prophet goes back to the dark time of the near future that is about to start for the people. Although it will take another century, Micah speaks in emotional terms of the siege by the king of Babylon and his invasion of Judah. The exile to Babylon is imminent. This will cause great sorrow. The agony they will have because of the loss of their national sovereignty is compared to the agony of a woman in childbirth (Jeremiah 6:24).

The prophet asks them why they are not going to their king and counselor now. These are ironic questions, asked to a people who do not take the threat so seriously. Their king, whom they trust, will not be there in those distressing times. Their counselor, who has so often given useful advice, will be untraceable.

If the words King and Counselor should be written with a capital letter, it is a reference to the LORD. Then the questions are not ironic, but reproachful.

Verse 10

First to Babylon and Then Rescued

In this one verse, Micah first speaks of the fall of Jerusalem and the exile to Babylon and then, as it were, without breathing, of deliverance. This way of speaking is not meant to diminish the responsibility of Israel even in the slightest. The people will go into exile because of their sins. But just as surely the people will be redeemed as a result of God’s promises which He has made in grace without any obligation on the part of the people.

A first fulfillment of that promise took place under Cyrus (Ezra 1:1; Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 44:28Isaiah 45:1-Numbers :; Isaiah 48:20). Babylon has been the scourge in God’s hand to discipline His people, but Babylon himself will be judged by Cyrus.

The message of this verse is: You will have to suffer, but this suffering will end in joy. Agony because of childbirth is great, but there is joy after birth (John 16:21).

Verse 11

Many Nations Assemble Against Zion

Between Micah 4:10 and Micah 4:11 lies a great period that Micah does not mention. From the upcoming siege by Nebuchadnezzar the prophet goes to the siege in the last days. Then the last great attack on Jerusalem by the assembled nations will take place. We read about this in Joel 3 and Zechariah 12 and 14.

In Micah 4:2 we have also seen the nations go up, but there with the desire to be taught. Before that, the nations come up with the intention of destroying definitively the city and the people of God. They want to desecrate the city by destroying all holy places, especially the temple. They are annoyed by its holiness, they cannot bear that this city is dedicated to God.

The enemies rejoice at the pain they will inflict on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Their deepest reason for the attack is their hatred of God’s King. Against Him they resist. Just as they rejected Him when He was on earth, so they will want to do it again later. They don’t tolerate Him because He is thwarting their plans.

Verse 12

The LORD Gathers the Nations to Judgment

But the heathen nations do not know the love, wisdom, and grace of God toward His people. Nor do they realize that all their planning will bring them exactly where God wants them. When the enemies gather before Zion to deal with them, the LORD decides to deal with them. He gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor to defeat them completely (Jeremiah 51:33).

The king of Assyria is a rod in God’s hand to chasten his people. God wants to bring them to repentance through that chastening. But that is not the thought the king of Assyria has when he goes up against God’s people (Isaiah 10:7). God uses the selfish thoughts of people and nations to fulfill His own plans. It is the same here. The nations are gathered against Zion as warriors in the field, but God gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor (cf. Revelation 16:14; Revelation 16:16) to be smashed to pieces.

They could not be so easily and completely destroyed if they were not assembled against Zion. In the same way, the plans of the enemies against the church also turn out to be the means to their own destruction. They work their own destruction when their foot is caught in the net they have hidden for others.

Verse 13

Zion Pulverizes the Peoples

He will leave the threshing, that is to say the judging, of the wicked nations to the oppressed inhabitants of Jerusalem. He will make them strong to do so. This judgment is not a vengeful expression of insult, but will be made for the honor of God. The spoils of war will be consecrated to the LORD through the ban (Leviticus 27:28). This can happen, for example, by decorating the temple with it. In any case it will serve for the glory of His kingdom.

“The LORD”, Yahweh, the God of the covenant with His people, will be known in that day as “the Lord”, Adonai, the Commander, “of the all the earth”. Everything belongs to Him. He takes back everything that the people in iniquity have appropriated themselves and with which they have lived in rebellion against Him.

Zion will have the honor of triumphing over the peoples when they are gathered together like sheaves on the threshing floor. Instead of being afraid of them and fleeing from them, she will act forcefully against her enemies. Fear will then reign with her enemies and they will try to flee.

Against her enemies the LORD will make their horn – the horn is a picture of power – of iron. She will repel them with it. He will also give her hoofs of bronze to trample them with it. In this way she will crush many peoples who have trampled her for so long.

When God’s time has come, the daughter of Babylon will be made like a threshing floor (Jeremiah 51:33). And the worm of Jacob will be the threshing sled, with which God will thresh and crush the mountains and treat the hills as if they were chaff (Isaiah 41:14-Ezra :). The situation is then reversed, because at first Jacob was the threshing floor and Babylon the threshing sled (Isaiah 21:10).

When God gives His people the prospect of victory, He also arms it with strength and skill. The daughter of Zion must make use of that. In herself she has no strength. But she also has to stand up. It is her responsibility to thresh. The honor of victory belongs to God. Zion will bring the threshed corn on God’s altar as a grain offering. The spoils of Zion’s victory will be brought into the sanctuary and devoted to God (cf. Numbers 31:28; Joshua 6:17).

On everything we have, it must be written “HOLY TO THE LORD” (Zechariah 14:20-Ecclesiastes :). Extraordinary blessings call for extraordinary gratitude. God has made it possible for us to actually obtain everything we possess. That is why He must be glorified with all that has become our part.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Micah 4". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/micah-4.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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