Monday, December 16, 2013

The Best Days are Yet Ahead

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, December 15, 2013:  Micah 1:1-4:13

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it.  Many nations shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.”  For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; 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.  But everyone shall sit 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.  For all people walk each in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.  Micah 4:1-5 (NKJV)


Two times in the Old Testament, almost identical prophecies are given.  Isaiah 2:2-5 and Micah 4:1-5 are remarkably similar.  Bible scholars have gone back and forth over whether Isaiah quoted Micah or vice versa.  The important point is that God thought it was important enough to give the same word through two different prophets.

Because of this, some have said that Micah 4 and Isaiah 2 are two of the highest points in all Old Testament prophetic literature.  All Scripture is authoritative, but He is saying something very important here. God is repeating Himself.


There is a remarkable shift when we move from Micah 3 to Micah 4.  Micah 3:12 says, "Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest."  Then in Chapter 4 we read that Mt. Zion and Jerusalem are going to be established, exalted, and incredibly fruitful.  It's a picture of REDEMPTION.

Many have written off the church as corrupt and carnal.  Many have said that the church is under God's judgment and has been "plowed like a field" leaving only "heaps of ruins" and "barren forests."  But God says a great day lies ahead!

While the world falls apart, I believe God is restoring His church to New Testament vitality and power.  "The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills."  Paul wrote about the Body of Christ rising up to "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:13).

There is a day of vitality for the Body of Christ that lies ahead.


Both Micah and Isaiah say this restored people of God will rise up "in the latter days".  When is this?  Does this mean the end of time, or after Jesus comes again?  When is Micah going to be fulfilled?

Some have said this prophecy involves the restoration of the nation Israel during the Millennium.  While that may be possible, I believe these words are spoken to a powerful Church that shines the light of the Gospel into a world of darkness now.

The Apostle Peter actually said this in the Book of Acts.  When he stood up to preach on the Day of Pentecost, he quoted Joel 2:28 which says, "And it shall come to pass in the last day, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams." (Acts 2:17)

"The last days" began on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out to empower the world-wide witness of the Gospel.  Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 began to be fulfilled that day.


Despite the seeming decline of godliness and righteousness in our day, I believe Jesus wins!  I believe days of blessing lie ahead.  Here are some things Micah says will happen:

1. God's church will be firmly founded (vs. 1).  

The word is "established" (vs. 1).  In warfare, each side seeks to establish a firm base from which to operate. God wants His people to be firmly rooted in Him so that we can shine a powerful light.

2.  God's people will rise to an eminent position (vs. 1).

The mountain of the Lord's house will be the highest mountain.  This is not political.  It will be, however, authoritative.  Jesus said that His church will hold the keys of the Kingdom (Matt. 16:19) with ability to "bind and loose".

The prayer power of God's people in virtually unlimited.  A day lies ahead in which the Church will take seriously the commission to "ask what you will and it shall be done." (John 15:7)

3.  The church shall be accessible to a vast diversity of people (vs. 1-2)

Because of God's power present upon His people, a great river shall open up.  In Ezekiel 47 and Revelation 22, the river flows FROM God's throne.  In Micah 4, the river flows TO Mt. Zion.  It is a river of people who come flowing into the kingdom of God.

4.  Within the church, true reconciliation shall take place (vs. 4).

While nations make war in the world, we will see different kinds of people learning to love one another in the church.  It can only happen in Jesus.  Only in Him, can Jew and Palestinian find unity.  Only in Christ, can East love West.  Only in the Lord can the Japanese find peace with the Chinese.  In Christ!


So, both Micah 4 and Isaiah 2 end with the same invitation.  "Let us walk in the light of the Lord." (Is. 2:5)  "We will walk in the name of the Lord forever." (Micah 4:5)

The world at its worst needs the church at its best.  A great day lies ahead.

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