He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
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 any more;
but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4: 3-4)
The book of Micah centers around the prophecy regarding the destruction of Samaria and Judah and its subsequent exaltation as a reborn city of God. We see in Micah a very divided Israel, war-torn, falling into the deepest degradation, seemingly abandoned by God.
And yet here, in what is Micah’s fourth discourse, we find hope for Israel and hope for ourselves.
Verse 1 and 2 offer us a view of a mountain where God sits. People of all nations and tongue stream up in order to learn the ways of God. This God judges each person and arbitrates between nations. And suddenly there is no need for weapons, only for the tools of cultivation and the building of lives. There are no more armies fighting against each other, only people, thriving in peace and harmony together.
God’s future for Israel is more than surprising; understanding how far they (and we) have strayed from God’s truth it might be downright ridiculous. And yet this prophecy remains a vision, a hope, the way life should be. It matters not if you or I see it, these words stand as God’s goal for our future. The first step toward that hope comes to us through Jesus, that tiny babe who will arbitrate on our behalf with God, who will settle the conflicts between us and draw all nations to himself. Who will show us how to stop destroying each other and instead build lives of sowing and reaping for God’s kingdom
God of the future, it is difficult to find hope when the world is full of the smell of war and hatred. Help us keep your vision of Zion ever before us as motivations for living as your people. Amen.