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Micah 4:1–5

“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 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'” (vv. 1–2a).

Often, Micah is considered to be a champion of the poor in the ancient covenant community. As a prosecutor of God’s law, which demanded equal treatment under the law for Israelites in poverty (Ex. 23:6), Micah undoubtedly advocated on behalf of the poor. However, we would be mistaken to believe the prophet stood only for the rights of poor people in Israel and Judah. In fact, he also demanded justice for those who had some means, condemning crooked leaders and the ungodly among the wealthy for driving women out of “their delightful houses” and stealing “rich” robes—the outer garments that were worn on top of the basic undergarments (that is, underwear)—from people who were just minding their own business (Mic. 2:8–9). These are references to what would have been considered members of the middle class in the old covenant community. Thus, we see that God expects justice for all people; no one may illegitimately or illegally (defined by God’s law) deprive others of what they have earned or inherited. Micah foresaw destruction and exile for Israel and Judah because of their refusal to preserve justice (chap. 3). Yet in keeping with the words of Moses (Deut. 4:25–31), he prophesied blessing on the other side of exile. Today’s passage pictures this as the exaltation of the mountain on which the temple of the Lord was built above all mountains on earth (Mic. 4:1). Micah is speaking a language his original hearers can understand. The peoples of the ancient Near East built temples on mountains. This was to illustrate the rule of a nation’s god over the territory that a mountain dominated and depict the presence of this deity with the territory’s people. Such construction also showed the god’s triumph over the chaos in the region below the mountain. To exalt the mountain of the house of the Lord over all mountains would make it dominate the whole earth. In turn, this would mean that God would be recognized as the Lord of all creation and that He would be with people from all nations, having triumphed over the chaos of evil. Therefore, we have a revelation of the coming of God’s kingdom, which is the recognition of who He is and the reality of His blessed presence manifested everywhere in the world. This could happen only through a worldwide conversion to Yahweh, the covenant Lord of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Micah confirms this in 4:2–5, wherein we read of the nations going up to serve the one true God and Creator of all.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

The world will worship Yahweh, the one true Lord of all. That is the conclusion of the Bible in many places, including today’s passage. Thus, we must eagerly pray for this day to arrive, and we must never think that any race, nation, or individual is so far gone as to be irredeemable. Death alone marks the point at which salvation is no longer possible. May we long for the conversion of the nations to Christ, and work to that end with our time, talents, and treasures.

For Further Study
  • Genesis 12:1–3
  • Isaiah 2:1–5
  • Luke 13:22–30
  • Acts 10

Hearing What we Want to Hear

The Heavenly Mount Zion

Keep Reading The Shema

From the May 2013 Issue
May 2013 Issue