Tuesday, November 29
Reader: “I, the Lord, will rule from Jerusalem”
Response: “as their king forever.”
Scripture: Micah 4:6-13
“In that coming day,” says the Lord,
“I will gather together those who are lame,
those who have been exiles,
and those whom I have filled with grief.
Those who are weak will survive as a remnant;
those who were exiles will become a strong nation.
Then I, the Lord, will rule from Jerusalem
as their king forever.”
As for you, Jerusalem,
the citadel of God’s people,
your royal might and power
will come back to you again.
The kingship will be restored
to my precious Jerusalem.
But why are you now screaming in terror?
Have you no king to lead you?
Have your wise people all died?
Pain has gripped you like a woman in childbirth.
Writhe and groan like a woman in labor,
you people of Jerusalem,
for now you must leave this city
to live in the open country.
You will soon be sent in exile
to distant Babylon.
But the Lord will rescue you there;
he will redeem you from the grip of your enemies.
Now many nations have gathered against you.
“Let her be desecrated,” they say.
“Let us see the destruction of Jerusalem.”
But they do not know the Lord’s thoughts
or understand his plan.
These nations don’t know
that he is gathering them together
to be beaten and trampled
like sheaves of grain on a threshing floor.
“Rise up and crush the nations, O Jerusalem!”
says the Lord.
“For I will give you iron horns and bronze hooves,
so you can trample many nations to pieces.
You will present their stolen riches to the Lord,
their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.”
Micah gives us some more thoughts that may seem much removed from what you are thinking about or doing today. This pericope (peh-rih-koh-pee—a passage or section of Scripture) may just seem strange and not very “Christmassy.” Remember, the beginning of advent is all about the Lord’s Second Coming and the final judgment of the world. Micah is prophesying concerning the current fall of Jerusalem in his day and prophesying about the future overrun by the Babylonians which occurs some 150 years later!
This particular description has a double meaning. Sometimes God’s people go through great difficulty of their own making as was the case here with both Israel and Judah. Nevertheless, God does not forsake his people. God’s plans for his people will prevail and other people and even nations will be blessed because of his faithfulness.
At times, God’s ways are puzzling as is the case here. He uses a wicked, godless people to discipline his children, a people as bad or worse than his own! As we look at our own world, that may be something to keep in mind. Do not be fooled. Though Satan is the “god of this world,” (II Cor. 4:4) God is in charge. Satan is a “squatter,” with apparent power which is temporary. His days are numbered at which time he will be destroyed. We do not know nor understand God’s plans. He does not consult us ahead of time but he has told us the end result. Our choice is to trust.
It may be that you or your loved ones have been or are going through very difficult times, sometimes of our own doing and other times because we live in a fallen, broken world where there is sin and disease and unfairness. These words of Micah remind us of God’s faithfulness and the benefit we can be to others as they see God at work in us in how we respond to injustice. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, God’s promises will be fulfilled. “ . . . the Lord will rescue you there; he will redeem you from the grip of your enemies.” As hard as today may be, the last line is very good. Remember, this world isn’t all there is. The “Squatter” is eternally squished, and Jesus rules in his kingdom of which we are adopted citizens. Be faithful in suffering, he will redeem you. Rejoice!
Music: “Rejoice Greatly” from Messiah Jeanine De Bique BBC Proms glorious! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHQpeGzio4k
Prayer:Lord God, our Father and Creator, we long for the day when these words will be fulfilled perfectly. May we have the courage and grace to live through each day until then. We clearly do not know nor often understand your plans. Forgive us when we try to fashion your mind and heart to work like ours. There truly is none like you. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, throughout all ages, Amen. ―Daniel Sharp