As we read the book of Jonah the last few days, you may have grasped again God’s heart to bring the nations to Himself. Nineveh was a pagan Gentile city, not part of Israel. Right from Abraham’s call in Gen 12, God’s heart is that the people of God reach out to gather the nations to the Lord.
Micah is prophesying the same in these verses. Mercy is coming, justice is coming, peace is coming. Not from the EU in Brussels, the UN in New York, or the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Mercy comes from Jerusalem – the mountain of the Lord. Is he prophesying a new Temple being built? No! Micah is referring to a much more important event – the turning point in history when God would accomplish his purposes for the world in Jerusalem.
Mercy will come and go.
Nations will stream to meet with the living God – this was fulfilled at the cross. John 12 explains how. “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.” (John 12:31-33). When Jesus was lifted up on the cross he literally drew all the nations to himself. He broke down the wall of hostility between Jews and non-Jews (despite the fact the far-right keeps trying to erect it!) The cross is where we find grace and mercy. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16).
“For out of Zion shall come forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” The word “Law” here is Torah – literally teaching. Often the Old Testament refers to itself as the Law or the Law and the Prophets. This begun to be fulfilled at Pentecost when the Spirit came. Thousands were saved from the nations. As the book of Acts progressed, the early Jewish believers began to be convinced by the Spirit that grace is for all, the power of the Spirit is for all and so mercy goes out to all the nations.
Then Micah sees the future – he sees a time when mercy is the common currency. Where poverty is history and where war is but a distant memory. Soviet Russia, probably somewhat ironically, donated a bronze statue of man beating a sword into a ploughshare to the UN in the 1950’s. It’s pictured above. Micah is prophesying that one day this will properly be fulfilled. There will be…
- No more war v3
- No more poverty v4
- And no more fear v4
For now though v5 applies – Many walk in the name of their god – whether that be organised religion or the false gods of money, sex and power. We, we will walk in the name of the Lord our God. We walk in God’s mercy and grace.
As we walk our daily walk, we are to be merciful because the Lord is merciful.
When someone at work says a harsh word, criticises you unjustly, humiliates you or puts you down – what does walking in the name of God look like? How do we respond?
When at home you are ignored , under-appreciated, or taken for granted by the your partner or kids. When voices are raised, what does “walking in the name of the Lord” look like?
What does it look like with your spouse, children or parents?
In the New Testament we walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:16). The Holy Spirit gives us power to walk the walk, to walk in the name of the Lord.
Marinate on that.