Reflections on the prophet Micah 4

Continuing my thoughts on Micah. Today we’re on chapter 4.

The first 5 verses contain a prophecy of what will happen in the last days or latter days. This is a time to come. There is some beautiful imagery in these verses, viz.

And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war. (Micah 4:1-3 from the NASB®1)

It is clearly pointing to a time in the future - I would suggest during Jesus’ millennial reign on earth - because nations will “hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” and never again train for war. Neither of those eventualities look at all likely in the current geopolitical environment. Quite the reverse, actually. The time the prophet Micah sees is one of peace, of cooperation, of learning, of prosperity. This is a time of genuine shalom - wholeness, wellness, rest and prosperity.

Verses 6 and 7 continue and build on the picture of these first 5 verses. In verses 6 and 7, the Lord gathers the lame and the outcast. There is no explicit mention of physical healing, but there is reference to the Lord’s protection and governance. Healing and deliverance is implied for the Lord will turn the lame, the outcast and the remnant into a strong nation which lasts forever. This idea of lasting forever reinforces the idea that the picture is formed during the millennial reign of Jesus - an actual, physical kingdom and reign on the earth before the new Jerusalem descends from heaven.

Verses 9 to the end of the chapter bring the original hearers back to the present. Before these things can happen Judah must ‘cry out loudly’ (verse 9), ‘go out of the city … and go to Babylon’ (verse 10) and suffer siege and pillage (verse 11).

But the kicker is in verse 12: “But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, And they do not understand His purpose; For He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.” All this - the siege, the exile, the return are the thoughts, plans and intentions of the Lord. It was avoidable had Judah been responsive and obedient to the Lord, but they weren’t and so judgement and exile had to come. But restoration and redemption is possible. The lame, the outcast and the remnant can be redeemed and restored. The doom and gloom of verses 9 through 13 need to be seen in the light of verses 1 through 8. It’s very much a “good new, bad news” scenario but the good news was told first otherwise people would be lost in the despair of the bad news.

  1. Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation. ↩︎