“Many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
4 Everyone will sit under their own vine
and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid,
for the Lord Almighty has spoken.
5 All the nations may walk
in the name of their gods,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord
our God for ever and ever.”- Micah 4:2-5
The above verses speak of a time of peace when wars will cease and there will be unity amongst all brethren. These verses preface Micah 4:6-13 that prophesied the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. Micah 4:12 “But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.” shows us that we can’t know when God has timed peace or tribulation. We must trust God’s plans. God will judge the earth. He rules it. We can have the hope that he has orchestrated a time when peace will descend and there will be unity.
As I read through Isaiah with Frank and Micah in my personal devotions I am drawn to the recurrent theme of God’s reign, God’s will, and God’s justice vs. humanity’s, especially my own. In discussing these topics with my husband, we have decided to try and focus this year on God’s justice and how it fits into his will and reign. I’ve been meditating on the theme of justice.
When I read Micah 4 this morning, my heart wept for the wars breaking out on the Gaza strip, Russia and Ukraine, and other conflicts between races. I’ve often heard people say that we are progressive, we’ve reached a time without racism. I disagree. We silently judge individuals who don’t agree with us all the time. Our ideals are comfortable with our worldview. Anyone we see as threatening our beliefs we cast aside or mock rather than choosing to be challenged and grow. I regret to say I’ve done this more often than I should. Part of my desire for this year’s “resolution” (I’ll pray more for the lasting transformation) is to stop judging others and exerting my “justice” in situations and letting God’s judgment reign supreme.
It is much more difficult to act according to Christian love than it is to wish it exercised within a human will. However, the more I walk in pursuit of Christ, the more I will learn what it means to walk in Christ’s ways, to be taught by him rather than flesh. When I let God settle disputes, rather than futilely defending my positions, I’ll begin to experience peace in my own relationships. I will no longer attempt to impose my will or expression of faith on my neighbor when I trade my judgement for God’s in a situation.
When we choose to reside under our fig tree, bearing fruit through unconditional love rather than decaying with the fertilizer of self-espoused manure, we will experience peace. It is when we stop exerting our justice and allow room for God’s judgement that we will see nations united, not divided. It is my prayer that we would see world peace. Peace must begin with our individual resolve however. We must choose to let God’s love rule in our sphere of influence and in doing so we will see significant ripples. God’s people will begin to experience unification when we choose to let Christ judge us and others, when we stop using our tongues for slander and division and instead choose to worship God and live in a loving, even though challenging, community.
FYI: I am not entirely certain what God’s judgment looks like or how it will play out in my relationships. As I study the Scriptures more this year, with the emphasis being on God’s justice vs. man’s, I believe I’ll gain a greater understanding on his justice. I am certain though that as we let him judge there will be a peace in relationships and in humanity.