Summary: The book of Micah is well worth reading. It’s a book relevant to us today, and Micah offers a peep into the future when God will bring peace, disputes between nations will be settled. They will no longer prepare for war but will worship the one true God.
When you are reading a book do you always start at the beginning? Do you always, without fail, read the book without flicking forward a few pages? Do you ever get so excited that you just can’t resist having a look at the last page? I have to confess that I often flick ahead and then return to where I’d got to, and I do sometimes find that I just have to look at the last page! I can’t resist it! Of course, lots of you are probably far too sensible to do something like that.
When I come to the Bible I don’t have to flick forward in the same way, because throughout the Bible there are many references to the end of the story! At times prophecies about the future come thick and fast, and the book of Micah is a good example. Micah is a very short section of the Old Testament. It was written about 700 years before the birth of Jesus, in other words about 2700 years ago; and the name Micah means “Who is like Yahweh”. Who is like our God?
Micah was written at a time when people throughout the earth were worshipping a variety of man-made and hand-made gods (Micah 1:7). God was angry that men and women were plotting evil (2:1), angry that men and women were jealous of their neighbours and angry that people were being defrauded of their homes and their inheritances (2:2). Religious leaders and political leaders were not lovers of justice (3:1). Religious and spiritual leaders were open to bribes (3:5); they were quick to prepare to wage war (3:5); and they even thought that what they were doing was done in the name of God (3:11).
To me that all sounds rather familiar! Micah looked out upon a nation which had lost sight of its mission to be a blessing to the rest of the world. Micah looked out upon a nation which was misusing God’s name and declared God’s displeasure and God’s judgment upon such a situation. God looks at the UK like that right now.
God also declares his judgment upon any religious leader who misuses the name of God, whether that leader is Christian, Muslim, Jew or any other.
The president of Iran recently called for the annihilation of Israel and he has welcomed a clash of civilisations between his Islamic republic and the west. He has also said that Iran intends to destroy Anglo-Saxon civilisation! No wonder we are suspicious about their nuclear programme! The Iranian president has also said that he believes his mission is to prepare for the end of the world, and the final battle between good and evil.
God stands against such evil because those statements are evil. However, God also stands against the injustice, the double standards, and the evil which is present in the UK. God loves his world, but he will not allow evil to continue forever, and this is where Micah gives us a peep into the future.
Now this is not some kind of crystal ball gazing, and it is not the end-of-the-world predictions which Jehovah’s witnesses became known for during the 20th century. There is not a specific future date to be attached to Micah’s words, but they are a glimpse of what life will one day be like when the kingdom of heaven becomes a reality here on earth.
In those future days to come peoples will stream to worship God (4:1). People from many nations will worship the one true God (4:2). They will say of God, “He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” God will settle the disputes between nations (4:3) which currently rage without an end in sight, and the wonderful future news is that nations which are currently at war will throw away their weapons of war. No longer will nations train for war (4:3). Ordinary men and women will have peace and security: “No-one will make them afraid” (4:4).
Today we give thanks for and remember men and women who lost their lives in the Great Wars, defending us against invasion, and liberating Europe, but as we do so we do not glorify war in any way. As we give thanks and remember we also look forward to God’s future promise of a day when warfare will be a thing of the past (4:3).
Now you may be thinking something along the lines of, “So what? What does the bit of the Bible known as Micah say to us today? Does it apply to how we live and behave right now?” Well, I believe it is very relevant.
Lots of people are concerned, frightened and worried about the state of the world. Where is religious terrorism going to strike next? When will it end? How many more lives will be cut short? The Bible gives us hope! The coming of Jesus into the world gives us very real hope for now, for the future and for eternity!