What is this mountain of the house of the Lord of which the prophet Micah speaks?
Some readers prefer to understand this only as the physical mountain of Jerusalem. In the end times, some people say, Jerusalem will be the center of spirituality for the whole world. People of all nations will flock to Jerusalem to learn about God. In some versions of this, Christ will rule there, judging between nations and peoples. That will be an era of earthly peace.
But the defining characteristic of the Mountain of the house of the Lord makes none of that necessary. In fact, identifying the physical Jerusalem as the mountain of the Lord does not fit the text at all. The defining characteristic is that the Word of God is taught there. Verse two says that the reason that the nations go up to the mountain is so ďthat He may teach us His ways, and that we may walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.Ē
Notice that not only is the Word the reason for the gentiles to come to this mountain, but also the Word goes out from Jerusalem. So why would they go to the physical city of Jerusalem if the Word has gone out from that city?
The Word is heard in the house of the God of Jacob, that is, every house of worship where Godís Word is proclaimed. If we fast forward from Micah to the book of Acts, we see the Good News of Jesus Christ going out from Jerusalem to the nations of the world. The Word was flowing outward into the world through the preachers Christ sent.
This may be confusing when we hear Micah identify this period as ďthe latter daysĒ. This is confusing because we are often told to think that the latter days are somewhere in the distant future. But as I said, the Word flowing out from Zion and the nations flowing to the Word all fit the church era in which we now live. The latter days are now.
How can that be? Because the coming of Christ is the heart and center of the ages. Everything after Him is the latter days.
The center of all history is the incarnation of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The event more important than all others is that this God in human flesh suffered and died and rose again the third day. These earth-shattering events shape all of time into two parts: before Christ, and after Christ. All of human life and meaning are in Him.
It is no surprise that His monumental work would establish the mountain of the Lord to which all the nations flow. The mountain of the Lord is the place of the Word, His house, which is found in many physical locations, scattered over the face of the earth. He draws people to His house to hear His teaching, particularly His Gospel of forgiveness and life.
In this place there is peace, as illustrated by changing spears into pruning hooks, and swords into plowshares. In spite of the tumult and chaos of this world, there is peace in Godís house. In spite of the divisions and backbiting that so easily infect the body of Christ, there is peace here, on Godís holy mountain. For the warfare against God is ended. He has purchased reconciliation with His Blood. He became the peace offering so that we are at peace with Him. And if we are at peace with Him, then we need fear nothing.
Peace is more than an end to warfare. It is a wholeness and well-being that includes all aspects of the Christianís life. Although the body may fall ill or even die, God is watching over the body to bring it to eternal rest. Although the mind may be burdened or troubled, the Spirit still directs our thoughts to the true reality, that Christ has purchased peace on the Cross. Whatever else happens, we are safe in Him.
In Him, the lame are healed and the weak are lifted up. This is not only the physically lame and weak, whom He healed during His earthly ministry, and whom He will heal at the resurrection. It is also the spiritually weak. Those who are unable to come to Him, He brings to Himself, and gives them strength by His Spirit to walk this Christian life.
He will also gather those whom He has afflicted. Here He is picturing the Church as those sent into captivity, like Old Testament Israel. He afflicts us with crosses and sorrows. He seems to drive us away when He afflicts us.
But He will draw us back. He draws us to His comfort and peace and healing, here in the house of the God of Jacob. He will draw us to perfect and unlimited healing at the resurrection of the body, when all crosses and afflictions will be gone. He will heal, once and for all, every illness and disability with which we have been afflicted in this life.
In an even greater way, He has gathered together us who are lame and cast off. He has brought back into His Church those who are weak and made them into a strong nation. Even we who were lost sinners He has made His people on this Mount Zion, the place of His healing and gathering.
He does not choose the strong and wise. He does not gather the conquerors and the shrewd. He gathers the lame. He gathers the broken and repentant hearts. The strong and the fat He does not make into His strong nation. In His typical fashion, He does the opposite of what we expect. He makes the weak into the strong.
We, the foolish and unrighteous, He has covered with His Blood. To us, the afflicted and the meek, He has given eternal blessing.
So be weak. That is, admit the weakness of your sinful flesh. Confess your unworthiness and unrighteousness. Instead, claim Christís righteousness as your own. Trust in His merits, who pours out blessings upon you because of His death and resurrection.
For this reason He came in human flesh, to establish the mountain of His house. For this reason He comes in this sanctuary, to gather us lame ones to Himself. For this reason, He will come again one last time, to gather His people to Himself forever. Amen.
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