Sermon - Micah 4:1-5 "It Shall Come To Pass
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, 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. 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; 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 of hosts has spoken. For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.
Consider the opening words of our text today, “It shall come to pass...” or the King James says, “But in the last days it shall come to pass...”. There are two things to observe in these words. First, Micah is as bold in his proclamation of the coming days of grace as he has been when he was declaring God’s judgment upon the people.
One can easily see how it would take boldness to speak about judgment from God; but does it take boldness to speak about the blessings in chapter 4? Absolutely. As we have seen in Micah 3:8 the Spirit is emboldening Micah to fulfill his ministry. The Spirit is helping him speak of judgment and of the coming blessings. Similarly, the Spirit is emboldening New Testament believers as we proclaim both the consequences of sin and the gospel that saves us from that sin. (Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.)
Would anyone argue that it would not take boldness and faith to preach about the type of peace that Micah is speaking about in our text today?
Secondly, the ‘But’ in the King James translation draws our attention to the fact that there is a sharp contrast between what was said in the previous chapters and what is being said now chapter four. Chapter three ended with these words, “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.”
Take a moment and imagine what this destruction would look like to someone walking up to Jerusalem (The city of peace) after this occurs. It would be unfathomable and unimaginable that Zion and the Temple would be destroyed.
As I considered what it would be like to walk upon such a sight I thought of Job’s three friends as they came to comfort and show sympathy to Job when he was suffering such a great trial. Job 2:11-13 states, “Now when Job’s friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place...They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.”
Micah’s message to this people has been too much for them to hear. They said, “Do not preach...one should not preach such things.; disgrace will not overtake us.” And in His grace and mercy God will immediately offer comfort and hope to God’s people. God is merciful, gracious and kind to sinners by making such promises.
At the beginning of chapter four we find that the Lord is promising that the Messiah and his reign will be exalted above every other mountain and hill. “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...” (4:1) By the words, “in the latter days”, Micah is referring to sometime in the future which may be fulfilled in various ways. For example, some of this will be seen in the return from Babylon, much of it will be seen in the coming of Christ and his exaltation, and it will reach its total fulfillment at the time of His second advent.
Micah says in verse 2 that this will be a time when the people will say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.” (v.2) Micah had previously told the people in Micah 2:10, “Arise and go, for this is no place of rest, because of uncleanness that destroys with a grievous destruction.” (2:10) Micah speaks of a time in the future when people will wholeheartedly come to worship the Lord. The words in verse two are a reminder that some people may not be in church services today simply because they were not invited. Let this verse also remind us to keep an eye out for those among us who are missing today so that we might encourage them next week to come and worship with us.
What is the motive of those who are coming to the Lord? Is it to see this high mountain? Are they motivated by the enthusiasm of the crowds and the spectacle of it all?
No, they are motivated by the effects true spirituality and grace. “’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.” (v.2) These people will not be like Micah’s generation who did not listen to the Word, they did not do God’s Word, and they did not walk upon the path of righteousness. In contrast to that generation, these people will desire to be taught the ways of the Lord and to obey the Word.
Micah’s generation never said with King David, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me...” (Psalm 25:4-5) Nor could they say with David, “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (25:8-9)
Because Micah’s generation never walked the path that David had walked they would never know the peace that Micah speaks of in our text. They will never know the peace that David came to enjoy.
2 Samuel 22:1 - “And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.” David will go one to write in this song, “The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all the rules were before me, and from his statutes I did not turn aside.” (21-23)
In verse 3, Micah continues to express the devotion that a future people would place upon the Word of God by saying, “For out of Zion shall go fourth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” They will be like the people of the reformation whose motto’s were “Sola Scriptura!” and “add fontes” which is a Latin word meaning [back] “to the sources”. Surely there will be countless blessings bestowed upon a people who will worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth (John 4).