Summary: Where does one find peace in this "unpeaceful" world?
HE WILL BE THEIR PEACE
Are you happy with your life? Is your life exactly the way you would like it to be, right now? If there was one thing you could change about your life, what would it be?
If only, some people say. If only I had a different job, or more money - then I would be happy with my life. Then I would be at peace. If only I had a spouse and children - or a better spouse and children - then I would be happy with my life. If only - have you ever had these thoughts before? If only I had better health. If only things I had better friends. I only things were different in my life, then I would finally be happy. Then I would be at peace.
I bring this up because especially this time of the year, as we head into the Christmas season, you hear a lot about being happy. You hear about peace and contentment and joy. The Christmas music tells you that it is the most wonderful time of the year, the hap, happiest time when, at least for a little while - you will feel a sense of peace. Do you think that's how the Christmas season will be for you? A lot of people are looking for this feeling of contentment and joy and satisfaction, this feeling that everything is finally right - you can sum it up with one word - the word peace. Will I finally find it this Christmas season? Or, after it's all over and it's time to put everything away, will I be left with that empty feeling that I missed something, that the season didn't live up to what I was hoping for?
In Micah 5, there is a little phrase that helps us, as we look for peace. Did you hear it? After the prophecy about the Messiah being born in Bethlehem, after the description of the Messiah as a shepherd whose greatness would reach to the ends of the earth – there is a little phrase that is so easy to skip over, but there it is - did you hear it: “And he (Jesus) will be their peace.”
Jesus will be their peace. For the believers back in the days of Micah. And for the believers today, in the 21st century - Jesus is our peace. Today we will talk about what that means, and how Jesus brings real and lasting peace into our lives, even as we live in a world that seems to be the opposite of peace.
Back in the days of Micah the prophet, there was a lack of peace. The verse right before our text talks about how the people of Israel were under siege. The massive nation of Assyria was in the process of destroying the country and taking all of the people away into captivity. There was no peace, politically. God was allowing this to take place as a judgment of Israel - they were going down the drain morally, and a lot of social injustice was taking place. The court system was stacked against the little guy. The kings were getting richer. The regular people were getting poorer. A lot of people were in a great deal of need. All of these things were symptoms of the bigger problem that was developing among God's people - they were sick spiritually - they had gotten involved in all kinds of idol worship, and were in the process of leaving the true God. This was causing their visible sins. And this was bringing the judgment of God.
People were searching for answers - looking for stability. Looking for peace. And in that situation, the prophet Micah came onto the scene with a message from God. Yes, difficult times were ahead, politically, socially, financially. But there was hope - a ruler was coming, someone who would shepherd the people, someone who would offer the people real and lasting security, eternal spiritual security, and "he will be their peace," Micah says.
How different is our world from the world that existed during the prophet Micah? They had a lot to be concerned about. And so do we. People were looking for answers, for peace and security back in those days, and so are we today. Why is it, that especially during the Christmas season, there is such a loud and emotional cry for peace in our world? One reason is because God has placed inside of every person a desire for peace, a desire for contentment and satisfaction and joy and happiness. We all have that - to be at peace with yourself, to be at peace with others, and ultimately to be at peace with God. Some people have described this as the “God-shaped hole” that exists in every human heart. Tragically, most people try to fill that void, especially this time of the year, with all the wrong things. And sometimes we can be guilty of that as well.