Daily Reflections November 29, 2017
Micah 4 contains an incredible prophecy that points to the coming reign of the Lord.
The context of this beautiful promise is striking. Chapter three is filled with God’s scathing rebuke for the political, economic and religious leaders of Israel They oppress the people and practice extortion, and as a result the poor and the needy live in utter hopelessness.
But in today’s text Micah proclaims that the days of wicked rulers will soon come to an end. In fact, God will lift up His nation like a high mountain for all to see and the peoples of the world will come to benefit from His wisdom. In this kingdom, there will be a righteous ruler and he will be none other than the Lord himself:
“and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion
from this time forth and forevermore.” (Micah 4:7b ESV)
On that day, Micah says, the swords and spears will be broken down and transformed into garden tools (v.3). God’s people will finally and ultimately be safe and secure. They will enjoy the perfect reign of God and experience all of the benefits that come with it.
Unfortunately, that glorious day resides in the future. If we are to enjoy the promised blessing, we must first wait in trusting obedience. This was particularly true of the Israelites, as verses 9 and 10 make clear. For Israel, the present day was to consist of writhing and agony. The immediate future included an exile to Babylon. The promise of a coming day when the Lord would reign over his people stood behind an awful season of judgement.
But God’s plan is good, and His salvation is sure. Even when Babylon’s army appears over the horizon. Even after the city is conquered and the captives look back longingly to the former days of peace. In spite of the present calamities and hardships, God’s people must look ahead to the kingdom that is to come. We are still exiles, living in a foreign land. But, thanks be to God, Micah has preserved for us a beautiful promise:
“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” (Micah 4:1 ESV)
On that day, Christ will be our King and we will throw away our weapons. On that day, every knee will bow and every tongue will acknowledge God (Rom. 14:11).
Come Lord Jesus! Strengthen us as we wait.
Pastor Levi denBok
The Lord Jesus turned his face like a flint towards Jerusalem (see verse 33) and was preparing his disciples for life without him. Their path would not be easy. They would be called to walk through a narrow door and along the narrow way. However, Jesus told them of the power and scope of the Kingdom of God. At times it looks like we ‘losing the game’ and there is little to no hope. The Bible is full of such scenarios, the most poignant of all seen on Good Friday. The Kingdom of God is larger than we can imagine and WILL permeate the whole world. Though it starts small and seems insignificant, all the nations of the earth will be brought in, and no human or spiritual powers will be able to stand against it. GOD WINS!
Jesus openly and directly confronted the Jewish leaders. They were hard-hearted and unfaithful to God. Jesus’ greatest lament was not for himself and the cross he would bear but for Jerusalem and the people of Israel who rejected him. Jesus repeatedly warned the Jews and called them to repent. God wanted to gather them but they refused him (see John 1:12).
Jesus was asked about the nature of death as it related to a Palestinian political tragedy and in the course of the teaching, he brought up another natural disaster. In both cases, people were killed. The question put to Jesus was whether or not these victims were simply receiving the just consequences for their sin. We need to remember that Jesus addressed this same question in John 9:1-3. Human tragedies are not always divine punishments. However, that was not the point of Jesus’ teaching in this instance. All humanity is under God’s wrath and whether or not one dies in an unjust way or due to a natural disaster, we all will die. None of us is righteous. We will all face the judgment of God. That is, unless we repent.
God had every right to bring judgment upon his people Israel. They were a barren fig tree and God warned them they would be cut down. Yet, he is a merciful and patient God (see 2 Peter 3:9). God warned his people through his prophets. He sent his Son, and even gave the Apostles more than 30 years of Gospel witness. Yet God’s patience comes to an end and Jerusalem was levelled by Rome in A.D. 70.
Jesus showed compassion to a woman who for 18 years had been bound and bodily broken by a crippling spirit. The synagogue ruler, indignant because of this Sabbath healing ignored the mercy of God, ignored the power of Jesus and ignored the wholeness brought to the woman. By healing her, Jesus put his opponents to shame and heightened the animosity of Jews toward him. People were given a choice: follow Jesus the miracle working Suffering Servant who sets the captives free, or follow the Jewish religious leaders who keep people bound by their traditions.
The ultimate life question is, “What have we done with Jesus Christ?” Have we recognized his Lordship and bowed our knee? Have we recognized his glory and repented of our sin? We should not assume that we are IN the Kingdom of God because of mere outward allegiance. Asuperficial familiarity with Jesus will not save us. We need to repent and know him personally. We embrace Jesus and the Kingdom of God with a cost and reject him and the Kingdom to our eternal peril.
Associate Pastor Jody Cross