MICAH | Lesson 2 | Lesson Notes/Talking Points
Read Micah 4.1-8
I / INTRODUCTION / MAKING THE CONNECTION
1 / In our first lesson from Micah in this current short survey series, we studied Micah, chapter 3.1-12, in which Yahweh hands down a summary indictment against every class of leadership in the nation of Judah at that time. We called the lesson The Curse of Failed Leadership. In that indictment, Yahweh details the failures of their civil leaders [vv 1-4], their religious leaders, particularly their prophets [vv 5-7], and their leaders in aggregate, this time including their priests [vv 9-12].
2 / The priests were particularly guilty because they were the ones who were in charge of administering all the sacrifices and services associated with their Temple. All of their sacrifices, offerings, and services were given to them by Yahweh to teach them and show them who He was. All of the offerings and sacrifices ‘preached’ and demonstrated in some way that Yahweh is Holy and that we, the worshipers, are sinful. But Yahweh is merciful to us in providing the sacrifices that make atonement for our sins.
3 / ALSO, and we must not overlook this, the whole sacrificial system of the Old Testament were designed and prescribed by Yahweh to point to Jesus Christ, the Messiah who was to come in the fullness of time! Every detail of every sacrifice and service was a picture, promise, prequel, and pre-enactment of the Gospel that Jesus would “finish” when He appeared! That goes for all the sacrifices and services that were performed in both the Tabernacle and later in the Temple.
4 / I have given this introductory summary of all these Old Testament things to bring us to the theme of Micah, chapter 3 … because in Micah, chapter 3, all of these services that were being offered to Yahweh by all their leaders were failures. In fact, all of their history from the time that Yahweh had brought them up out of bondage and slavery in Egypt had been a consistent record of faithlessness, disobedience, rebellion, and failure.
* They had failed to love Yahweh their God with all their hearts.
* They had failed to obey His law and commandments.
* They had failed to sanctify themselves and keep themselves holy, pure, and distinct from the pollutions, defilements, and corruptions of the pagan nations around them.
* They had failed to worship and serve Yahweh and Him only.
* They had failed to hallow His Name and reverence His Holiness.
* They had failed to represent Him in their civil, religious, and social lives and conduct.
* They had failed in every way they could fail.
5 / For all these reasons, Yahweh was telling them in Micah, chapter 3, that they were going to lose it all! Their pride, identity, and distinctive ‘entitlement’ was most represented by their beautiful Temple. Their Temple had been the sign and promise of Yahweh’s very Presence and Glory dwelling among them [1 Kings 8.10-13]. But now, Yahweh was promising to plow it under! “Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height” [Micah 3.12]. Micah had delivered this very threat and dire warning from Yahweh to King Hezekiah [see Jeremiah 26.16-19], causing Hezekiah to institute some sweeping reforms during his years as king. But it was only superficial and temporary, and Judah reverted back to their old idolatrous ways shortly after Hezekiah’s death during the reign of his wicked son, Manasseh.
6 / So – the end of Judah’s kingdom, independence, and the destruction of their beautiful Temple was inevitable … as it came to pass in 606/586 BC. Jerusalem and their beloved Temple were desecrated, desolated, destroyed, and burned to the ground, and they were carried off into captivity to Babylon.
7 / BUT – as is always the case in these Old Testament prophecies – when Yahweh promises and brings to pass the judgments He must enact because of their sin, He also promises to fulfill His covenant of sovereign mercy and grace in days yet to come … when Christ comes! Yahweh will be faithful to all the promises He has made to Christ! [See 2 Samuel 7]
8 / In truth, Christ is the only One who can be faithful enough to Yahweh to fulfill all the responsibilities that Israel and Judah had failed to fulfill! That is the story of the Old Testament! [remember again Hosea 11.1 w/ Matthew 2.15]
9 / And so, Micah here – and all the prophets – pronounce the judgments that must fall upon them at that time because of their sins and failures … and then immediately turns their attention to a future time yet to come. At that time, in those days, Yahweh will perfectly fulfill and bring to pass the redemptive purposes He has set out to complete from before the very creation of the world!
* we have already seen numerous examples of this salvation purpose, like for example: Hosea 2.16-23 compared with 1 Peter 2.9-10 & Romans 9.22-26; and Amos 9.11-12 w/ Acts 15.12-17.
10 / It shall come to pass in the latter days… and the ways it will come to pass is through Jesus Christ, His coming into our world, and through the Gospel He will proclaim!
11 / That is what we will explore in this lesson passage from Micah, chapter 4.1-5. So let’s do this first … even before we open up the first words of chapter 4. Read again that last verse of chapter 3 [verse 12]: “Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.”
* ‘Zion’ was that part of the city of Jerusalem where the Temple was located. ‘Zion’ means ‘stronghold,’ and so their Temple was the symbol of their strength, even their invincibility [or so they thought] because Yahweh was among them.
* ‘Jerusalem’ was their capital city.
* ‘The mountain of the house’ was the elevated site of their beloved, beautiful, glorious Temple.
BUT all of this would be plowed under by the invading hordes of the Babylonians. The site of their glorious Temple would be turned over to be overgrown by underbrush. What a sad end for what had been such a site of pride, trust, and confidence. [see Psalm 48].
12 / BUT [again] … Yahweh will raise it up again and establish it as a place where He will be worshiped, obeyed, and served. Here is Yahweh’s promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
II / ‘THE MOUNTAIN OF THE HOUSE OF THE LORD’
We need to observe also that this passage here, Micah 4.1-5, is recorded again pretty much verbatim by Micah’s contemporary prophet, Isaiah, in Isaiah 2.1-5. Maybe one of them repeated what the other prophet had preached or written … or maybe Yahweh gave the same prophecy to both of them independently of the other. It really doesn’t matter. Yahweh delivered it to Judah – and to us – through them both because He is going to do this … and he wants us to know He’s going to do it!
It shall come to pass in the latter days…
Yahweh has purposed it, and He will do it! It shall come to pass! It is coming. It will happen. And, of course, it has!
In the latter days…
1 / So when are these ‘latter days’? ‘Latter’ is just another word for ‘later,’ meaning it will come in days after when the promise is being spoken. A lot of confusion arises over the timing of God’s prophecies, and a lot of speculation ensues over trying to put dates or at least ranges of dates on when the ‘latter days’ or ‘last days’ are. See again Hosea 2.16-23 & 3.5.
2 / So let’s put a lot of the speculation to rest by just saying what the Scriptures say: the ‘latter days’ or ‘last days’ are the times that began when Jesus Christ came into our world and appeared among us.
* Hebrews 1.1-2: Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
* Hebrews 9.26: But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
* 1 Peter 1.20: He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
* 1 John 2.18: Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
3 / Now, of course, this is not to say that these current days and times are the very last days there will be … because there are many more later and last days after these that are yet to come. But when the Bible speaks of ‘the latter days’ or ‘the last days,’ it is referring to the days from the appearing of Jesus Christ in our world until the very last consummation of all days and time.
4 / So any time we find ‘latter days’ or ‘last days’ in the Old Testament Scriptures, we can understand it as referring to ‘days later than this one’ [at the time of the writing], or ‘later days yet to come,’ or ‘the very last days of time.’ The Bible writers often compressed ages or years of time into a single perspective or reference just because they couldn’t necessarily see the intervening events that would come to pass between the highlights and high points they were looking at. It would be like looking at a range of mountains with all of the peaks of those mountains lined up straight before your line of vision. It might look like some of the peaks even blend into one another. Or it might look like they are really close together. But if you begin pivoting around them and looking at them more from the sides rather than straight on, you will begin to see valleys and space and distance between them allowing for more events to take place in the meantimes. So it is here.
…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…
1 / So what is Yahweh going to do in these ‘latter days’? NOTE that this is the very same ‘mountain of the house of the LORD’ that had been previously plowed under and overgrown by underbrush because of Yahweh’s judgments against their faithlessness and failures. But NOW in these ‘latter days,’ it has been rebuilt and re-established [see Acts 15.12-17 w/ Amos 9.11-12]. Yahweh has firmly established His permanence, prominence, and preeminence.
2 / How has He done this? He has done this by introducing His Gospel into the world in the Person of Jesus Christ. This ‘mountain of the house of the LORD’ is the Temple in Jerusalem – except that that Temple had been desecrated, desolated, and destroyed. The Temple was where the Glory of Yahweh dwelt in the Holy of Holies. The Temple was where Yahweh dwelled among His people. The Temple was where Yahweh was worshiped and where He revealed Himself. But it had been so violated and prostituted out to the worship of all the false gods that Yahweh had to destroy it.
3 / But now, in Jesus Christ, it has been restored, re-built, re-established, and re-inaugurated.
* Remember how Jesus Himself said that His body was the Temple that would be destroyed and raised in three days! John 2.13-22. He Himself is the dwelling-place of God, and He came and ‘tabernacled’ among us.
* Moreover, Jesus established His church during His earthly ministry. The Lord’s New Testament local churches are a holy temple in the Lord…a dwelling place for God by the Spirit [Ephesians 3.19-22].
* And the apostle Paul plainly stated that the New Testament church is God’s temple: Do you not know that you [plural] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple [1 Corinthians 3.16-17].
So God has re-established His Temple in the Person and Body of Christ, both in His physical body and in His spiritual body, the church.
…and peoples shall flow to it, and 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.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
What is this – but the Great Commission of Jesus Christ?
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Matthew 28.18-20
He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide disputes 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;
1 / There is a sense in which we could say that this kind of peace between ‘nations’ is characteristic of healthy churches when they are abiding by the teachings of the Gospel and of Christ our Lord / see Ephesians 3.11-18, for example.
2 / But, it also seems to indicate that this kind of peace between peoples will be universally enjoyed even in a civil and social context – like among real nations of people living in the physical earth at the same time – something, of course, that doesn’t exist is our contemporary world. This universal peace will come only under the immediate and direct sovereign rule of Jesus Christ.
3 / So we have reason to believe that Jesus Christ has established and inaugurated by His Gospel in His churches will yet in the future be realized in a wider, universal earthly context. We may be foggy and uncertain about how, when, and in what order this universal peace will be enjoyed, but as the final fruition and consummation of the proclamation of the Gospel, it shall come to pass in the latter days.
…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 has spoken.
1 / Again, this promise is one of universal prosperity and contentment. It would be like the old campaign slogan from generations past: “A car in every garage, and a chicken in every pot.” In other words, everybody will enjoy the contentment of having enough.
2 / You’ll find this expression in 1 Kings 4.25 where it describes the prosperity, safety, security, and contentment that the people of Judah and Israel enjoyed under the early years of Solomon’s reign. Those days had been long gone when Micah wrote this prophecy of the ‘latter days,’ but it surely was something to long for and look forward to when it came!
For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the Name of Yahweh our God forever and ever.
1 / It is plain from Micah’s admission here that their present and current condition in Judah was no where near what he had just been promising from Yahweh. NO! at that time, they were all still devotedly following their own preferred false god.
2 / But Micah calls on them – and he calls on us – to return to the LORD with all our hearts. Commit to love Him, obey Him, fear Him, serve Him, and worship Him only!