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Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Preacher's Homiletical
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Micah 4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ phc/ micah-4.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Micah 4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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CRITICAL NOTES.] The salvation of Zion is closely connected with its destruction, and a future glory awaits the mountain, which is a wild forest. Last] The days of Messiah, the completion of all things. Mountain] i.e. the whole city; its elevation, moral dignity, not local situation. Estab.] A permanent foundation. Heb. abidingly established. “An expression denoting continuance and perpetuity, that it shall continually remain on its settlement.”
Micah 4:2. Many] All nations (Isaiah 2:2; Matthew 24:14) a powerful movement in the heathen world. For] The reason for such intense zeal in going up. Law] i.e. instruction in the ways of God; the law as a rule of holy life; the Word as the source of salvation.
Micah 4:3. Judge] Instead of nations going to war (Isaiah 2:4). Rebuke] Convict (Jeremiah 16:8-9); lit. to set right, settle disputes. Many] In contrast to one nation, which formerly acknowledged Jehovah; “who were hitherto for the most part inclined of their own will to grasp the sword” [Hengst.]. Beat] implements of war into implements of peace.
Micah 4:4. Sit] An image of safety even in open fields (cf. 1 Kings 4:25; Leviticus 26:6).
THE CHURCH OF THE FUTURE.—Micah 4:1-4
Mount Zion is not doomed to be a perpetual waste. A glory is here predicted which it has not yet realized; but its chastisement shall end in mercy and moral dignity. It will become the residence of God and the centre of nations.
I. The moral elevation of the Church. The elevation here is not physical, but moral; a spiritual exaltation.
1. Its eminent site. “The tops of the mountains,” &c., “exalted above the hills.” It is pre-eminently above all worldly heights. Above earthly potentates and above idols. Other eminences are insignificant compared to this mountain. Its doctrine and design, its author and its life, are above the wisdom of men. Small in its beginning, it shall grow and shine with greater lustre than kingdoms of this world. Lower than they, it will rise above and overtop them all. “A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”
2. Its impregnable nature. It shall “be established.” Exalted, it shall be established above human institutions. Human elevation is unstable. This is built upon a rock, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. Its foundations are in the holy mountains (Psalms 87:1); its head stands securely aloft, between heaven and earth, and it rests, unassailable and serene, upon the purpose of God. “Mount Zion cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.”
II. The attractive power of the Church. As a dominant, supreme power, it will be attractive to all nations.
1. As the centre of numbers. “Many nations shall come.” It shall not be confined to one people nor locality. “I will make of thee a great nation.” “People shall flow into it;” indicating multitude and eagerness. Like a river, distant peoples shall come and throng in one continuous stream. A flood once covered the highest mountains and destroyed everything on the face of the earth. But this river shall bring spiritual life and fertilize the universe “They shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord.”
2. As the place of instruction. They go to know God and to learn his ways; not to be amused with idle speculations and novel theories. They go for grace, to practise what they know, to “hear of heaven and learn the way.” Religious instruction has ever been connected with Divine worship. The more we know of God, the more anxious shall we be to praise and please him. “He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”
3. As the residence of God. “The house of the God of Jacob.” More glorious than the tabernacle and the temple of old. This is the pavilion of God’s splendour, the place where his honour dwelleth. Here he dwells and displays special signs of grace. “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts.”
4. As the seat of empire. “And he shall judge among many people.” God will here fix his throne and exercise spiritual rule over the world. He will rebuke the proud, convict the sinner, and subdue all things to himself. Tyrants and thrones, idolatries and superstitions, shall fall before the power of the Gospel. “For the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
III. The abiding prosperity of the Church. The Gospel is a rule of order and peace; brings tranquillity and prosperity to all people.
1. Wars shall cease. In the best governed states we see restlessness, suspicion, and insecurity. Kingdoms have been torn by civil and subdued by foreign wars. But here Jew shall not hate Gentile; implements of strife shall be instruments of peace; and nations shall learn war no more.
2. Social quietness shall be enjoyed. Vineyards shall be possessed by the poor; the fig, the characteristic fruitfulness of Palestine, shall not decay; and every one shall sit in domestic harmony. Each will be content and undisturbed in his lot. Abundance of peace shall mark the future Church. In secrecy men will sit securely, and openly walk in perfect safety. “None shall make them afraid.” This glorious future seems almost impossible, judging from the present. But God has purposed, and will bring it to pass. “For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it”
HOMILETIC HINTS AND OUTLINES
Micah 4:1. Flow. The metaphor of flowing importeth the coming of people to Christ by the preaching of the Gospel.
1. Freely (Psalms 110:3).
2. Swiftly, as the waters of the river Tigris; swift as an arrow out of a bow (see Isaiah 60:8).
3. Plentifully, by whole nations turned to the faith, and giving up their names to Christ.
4. Jointly, as Micah 4:2 (Zechariah 8:21).
5. Zealously, bearing down all obstacles that would dam up their way.
6. Constantly and continually, as rivers run perpetually, by reason of the perennity of their fountains; and are never dried up, though sometimes fuller than others; as rivers swell oft with sudden showers and overflow the banks, so, beyond all expectation, many times doth God propagate his truth, enlarging the bounds of his Church with new confluxes of converts [Trapp].
Micah 4:2. Let us go up.
1. The object of their journey. “The mountain of the Lord.”
2. The spirit in which they undertake it. “And say, Come, let us,” &c.
(1) A spirit of fervour.
(2) A spirit of mutual love. “Exhorting one another, as Andrew exhorted his brother Simon, and Philip Nathaniel, and the woman of Samaria those of her city, to come to Christ; and so all since, who have been won by him, by word or example, by preaching or by deed, in public or in private, bring along with them others to seek him whom they themselves have found” [Pusey].
3. The worthy end they have in view. “He will teach us of his ways.” “They come in holy simplicity to learn whatever he will condescend to teach them; in holy confidence, that he, the Infallible Truth, will teach them infallibly.”
4. The practical result. “We will walk in his paths.”
Law out of Zion.
1. The blessing issued. “Law.” Not mere doctrine or religion; not the Jewish law: but law (without the article) as the rule of life (Proverbs 6:23; Proverbs 28:4), which should be revealed to heathen nations (Lamentations 2:9; Isaiah 2:3).
2. The method of its issuing. “Go forth.” A personal, direct act of God; a continual influence of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit in the Church and Christian experience.
3. The centre from which it issues. Out of Zion and Jerusalem.
Micah 4:3-4. The universal spread of the Gospel. Modern theories of the future exposed and refuted. The guarantees for the fulfilment of this prediction and its benefits described. This prophecy is fulfilled—
(1) In the character of the Gospel.
(2) The prophecy has been fulfilled, within and without, among individuals or bodies of men, in body or mind, in temper or in deed, as far as the Gospel has prevailed [Pusey].
The cessation of war an effect of the prevalence of Christianity [Foster’s Lectures, vol. ii.].
“No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eves,
Nor fields with gleaming steel be covered o’er,
Nor brazen trumpets kindle rage no more:
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end” [Pope—The Messiah].
Micah 4:5. Name] i.e. profession, and in the strength of Jehovah (cf. 1 Samuel 17:45; Zechariah 10:12; Proverbs 18:10). Heathen gods can do nothing for them.
Micah 4:6. Halteth] Like sheep wearied in a journey. “Limping denotes the miserable condition into which the dispersed have been brought” (cf. Psalms 35:15; Psalms 38:18). [Keil]. This salvation will not fail, for all the miserable and scattered shall be assembled.
Micah 4:7. Reign] Expresses a perfect monarchy, as it never existed in present or past. “Micah does not mention the descendants of David here, but Jehovah himself, not to exclude the kingdom of David, but to show that God will prove that he was the author of that kingdom, and that all power is his. The prophet therefore indicates a certain difference here between that shadowy kingdom and the new kingdom which God will openly manifest at the advent of the Messiah” [Calvin].
Micah 4:8. Tower] Keeping up the metaphor from sheep, Jerusalem is the tower from which the king guards the flock. Messiah the Shepherd (chap. Micah 5:3); Israel the sheep (chap. Micah 7:14). Unto thee] Affirms more than to thee; expressing the conquest of every obstacle that blocks up the way to the goal [Keil].
CHRISTIANITY THE ONLY GUARANTEE FOB BETTER DAYS.—Micah 4:5
The prophet has just predicted a bright future for the Church. But Jehovah alone can bring it to pass. “For” idols are impotent, and those who worship them can do nothing. Christianity is the only hope of mankind. Human systems can never accomplish the work of God.
I. Ancient systems did not bring better days. What have the myths of Egypt, Persia, and India done? What did the religions of Greece and Rome accomplish? Many nations excelled in wealth, intelligence, and refinement, but were degraded in morals. Religion is always more potent than philosophy and culture. The latter can never affect the former. An inferior never changes the character of a superior power. Hence false religions become worse, gravitate to the centre of evil, and lose all influence to elevate and bless the world.
II. Modern systems cannot bring better days. If history and experience determine the fate of nations in the past; if Christianity has been the only power to cope with heathenism and eradicate evil, will the verdict for the future differ from the past? We may advance in commercial prosperity, education, and civilization, without improvement and elevation in morals. The religions of intellect and of emotion, of imagination and sentiment, the theories of philosophy and utility—which are the boast of the present day—will never abolish war and bring the anticipated millennium. In man we cannot trust. In systems half-human and half-divine we have no guarantee for the future. Our faith must stand not in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. With this we shall be safe, happy, and triumphant. God has promised, and will accomplish better days.
“’Tis coming on the hills of time.
And this old world is growing brighter;
We may not see its dawn sublime,
But high hopes make the heart throb lighter.”
THE ZEAL OF IDOLATERS AN INCENTIVE TO CHRISTIAN LIFE
We may take Micah 4:5 as a resolution of Jewish and Gentile converts to cling to God and walk in his ways, exciting themselves by the example and spirit of idolaters, who were zealous and pertinacious in their ungodly course.
I. Every one has a god. It is a trite but true saying that man will worship. If he does not love the true, he will a false god—an idol. Under the Gospel, and in heathen nations, idolatry is prevalent.
II. Every one makes a profession of his god. “Every one in the name of his god”—that is, under the law and in conformity to the will of his god.
1. It is an open profession. They are not afraid nor ashamed of their profession.
2. It is a consistent profession. They “walk” in the fear, and not against the authority, of their god. Their moral conduct does not contradict their religious faith.
3. It is a stedfast profession. They “will walk.” They were constant and persevering in their practice. They were determined not to forsake their worship; for a nation will seldom change its gods (Jeremiah 2:11).
4. It is a universal profession. For all will walk, “every one,” &c. Hence if these idolaters were so earnest and resolute, what should we do? says the prophet. Their ardour should kindle our indifference; their exactness shame our inconsistency; and their numbers provoke our efforts. Our confession and resolution should be, “We will walk in the name of the Lord our God.” This not occasionally, for since there is nothing unreasonable or wearying in this service, it should be “for ever and ever.”
THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST.—Micah 4:6-8
From the salvation promised even those that are scattered abroad and dwelling in misery will not be excluded. God will finally remove all impediments and bring his people together into one glorious and perpetual kingdom in Christ Jesus.
I. The seat of the kingdom. “The Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion.” Zion is the place from which the law went out (Micah 4:2), and a type of the Christian Church (Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 52:7). Jerusalem was the special abode of Jehovah, the seat of theocratic government, and the centre of prescribed worship. The Church now is the Mount of God, for elevation and dignity. Here he deigns to dwell, to bless his people, and rule the world. “The city of the Great King.”
II. The subjects of the kingdom. Jew and Gentile, the distant and most degraded, will be gathered together. Persons that are despised and forgotten by human governments, the indigent, and the poor, will become citizens of the Great King.
1. The morally weak. “Her that halteth.” Men are spiritually tired, maimed, and disjointed. Moral halting had been the chief sin of Israel, serving God and Baal (1 Kings 18:21). Men halt, hesitate, and counterfeit in God’s service now.
2. The hopelessly scattered. “Her that is driven out.” Jews carried away by force, and Gentiles led by dumb idols (1 Corinthians 12:2). All that are dispersed like a flock from the fold of God. “I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out” (Zephaniah 3:16).
3. The grievously distressed. “Her that I have afflicted.” Men are not merely driven out from God, but are sick and afflicted in body and mind. When God afflicts them they are specially dear to him. All grievances shall be redressed, and all distempers healed. “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick” (Ezekiel 34:13-16).
III. The glory of the kingdom. The glory of the theocracy was obscured by the sins of kings and priests. Earthly monarchies decay and undergo eclipse; but the glory of this kingdom excelleth.
1. It will be dignified. The kingdom will come to the Church with a glory exceeding “even the first dominion.” It will shine with a greater lustre than the reigns of David and Solomon.
2. It will be strong. “A strong nation.” (a) Strong in numbers. The remnant scattered and depressed shall be restored and multiplied, like the stars of heaven or the sands on the sea-shore. (b) Strong in victory. It will no more be subdued by petty monarchs or neighbouring confederacies. But its strength is not human might, temporal greatness; but strong in spiritual warfare, in faith, and achievements. “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation.”
3. It will be perpetual. The Lord shall reign over them, “even for ever.” The valour and strength of David, the honour and wisdom of Solomon, were but shadows of this kingdom. The King eternal is not subject to mortality, nor exposed to danger. The glory of the Church and the height of its felicity are the constant presence and prerogatives of Christ Jesus. “The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
HOMILETIC HINTS AND OUTLINES
Micah 4:5. Contrasts in worship.
1. Men of the world reject God.
2. Men of the world worship their own god.
3. But Christians are determined to love and serve Jehovah. That which is the scandal to the world, to them is a motive to firmness and to union. There are different persuasions in the world, let us be true and cleave together in the right way. “We will walk in the name of the Lord.”
Micah 4:6-8. The flock of Christ.
1. The flock in a state of helplessness. Halt, scattered, and afflicted.
2. The flock gathered together by the Good Shepherd. Gathered by providence and found by grace.
3. The flock defended. From the “tower of the flock,” they are—
(3) shielded. The Church is designed to be a defence and tower of spiritual strength. “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered together unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem.”
Micah 4:7. The Lord shall reign. As King, he—
1. Of rebels makes them subjects, willing to be ruled by him.
2. He preserves them in that privilege by his Spirit.
3. He gives them laws far better than those of the twelve tables in Rome, which yet far exceeded (saith Cicero) all the learned libraries of the philosophers in worth and weight.
4. He sweetly inclineth their wills to yield universal obedience thereunto, and to cross themselves so they may please him.
5. He rewards them with comfort and peace here, and with life eternal hereafter.
6. He destroys all the enemies of his Church, and then, at last, delivers up the kingdom to his Father (1 Corinthians 15:24); not his essential kingdom as God, but his economical kingdom as mediator [Trapp].
Micah 4:8. The world is a field, the Church a fold in that field; and a strong fold (strong as a tower), yea, a stronghold; Ophel, as it is styled in the next words; and that of the daughter of Zion, that is, of the Christian Church, the inviolable security whereof is here noted [Ibid.].
Come and arrive. He twice repeats the assurance, in equivalent words, for their fuller assurance, “to make the good tidings the gladder by repeating and enforcing them” [Pusey].
Micah 4:1-8. The kingdom of God.
1. Its central point: the glorified and exalted Zion, the source of the statutes and revelations; and through grace, the ancient, chosen seat of God’s dominion.
2. Its citizens: those who how towards it thirsting for righteousness, longing for salvation.
3. Its order: God’s law and God’s peace (Micah 4:3).
4. Its blessedness: rest, security, prosperity (Micah 4:4).
5. Its duration: eternal, like God himself (Micah 4:5) [Lange].
Micah 4:9.] Zion will lose her king, wander into captivity, but will be redeemed from her enemies. King] Loss of royal government, the cause of lamentation, more painful to Israel than other people; the king a sign of God’s presence, &c.
Micah 4:10. Pain] Fig. of a woman with child (cf. Jeremiah 4:31). Out of the city, &c] Set forth the greatness and certainty of the calamity. There … thee] Emphatic declaration; the scene of distress, the place of deliverance.
Micah 4:11.] Distant sunlight overclouded by present cloud. Now] Nations gathered not to hear the law (Micah 4:2), but for war. Defiled] Like a virgin.
Micah 4:12. Gather them] To be punished in turn when they have answered his purpose, when fully ripe, like sheaves, lit. sheaf. However great the numbers of the foe, all are but as one sheaf ready to be threshed [Calvin].
Micah 4:13. Arise] Deuteronomy 25:4 Horn] To push the enemies (1 Kings 22:11). Gain] Goods collected by robbery (Judges 5:19). Lord] Not for Zion’s selfish ends (Isaiah 60:6; Isaiah 60:9). Whole earth] Who through subjugating the heathen has proved to be such (Psalms 93, 96).
THE SUFFERING AND TRIUMPH OF GOD’S PEOPLE.—Micah 4:9-13
Israel’s history, like human life, has its dark and its bright side. Before the glory promised is ever gained, sorrow and trial must be endured. This is—
1. A constant rule; and—
2. A necessary order in God’s discipline. But the scene of trial was to be the place of deliverance. The sufferings shall be over-ruled for the salvation of his people and the destruction of their enemies. Notice:—
I. The bitterness of the affliction. “Pangs have taken thee,” &c. Pangs with out remedy, and painful as a woman in travail.
1. The loss of kings. “Is there no king in thee?” A visible king was a protection, and a symbol of God’s presence to them. The loss was most serious and irreparable. It was a condition of helplessness and shame.
2. The loss of counsellors. “Is thy counsellor perished?” Kings and judges were their counsellors and guides; but they were bereft of wisdom to direct, left in the hands of the enemy, and governed by captive nations.
3. The loss of liberties. “Now shalt thou go forth out of the city,” which shall be captured; “dwell in the field” exposed to danger; and be carried “even to Babylon” into long captivity. This was a sad exchange of liberty and luxury for bondage and misery. But it is the picture of many a soul reduced to slavery, bereft of God and writhing in agony.
II. The comforts under the affliction. All is not lost, though they have neither king nor counsellor. God will make up for everything.
1. Affliction will end in good. “Jerusalem’s pangs are not as dying agonies, but as travailing throes, which after a while will be forgotten for joy that a child is born into the world.” Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalms 30:6; Psalms 73:24; Jeremiah 10:24).
2. Deliverance will be granted. “There shalt thou be delivered.” There, where sorrow is greatest and hope is faintest—even in Babylon, the most unlikely place, “the Lord shall redeem thee.” The utmost degree of affliction is often the nearest to the end, and help is not in the holy city, but in the stronghold of the foe. “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” The Red Sea must be the scene of triumph to Israel, and the prison the place of deliverance to Joseph and Peter. This magnifies God’s grace and power. “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.”
3. Enemies will be subdued. “Thou shalt beat in pieces many people.” In their weakness, God will be their strength, and make them victorious over confederate nations. Their horns shall be iron, to push their enemies; and their hoofs brass, to tread them down. The destruction is universal and complete. All enemies shall be put under their feet, as conquered foes, or willing subjects. “Fear not, thou worm Jacob. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument, having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff” (Isaiah 41:13-15).
III. The spirit in which they should bear the affliction. If such be their prospects in the trial, how should they demean themselves?
1. They should cherish a patient spirit. “Why dost thou cry out aloud?” Calm fear and hush grief; though affliction be grievous at present, it shall afterward yield the fruits of joy and peace. Patience defeats the menace of the foe, but passion takes his part
“Patience doth conquer by out-suffering all” [Peel].
2. They should cherish a submissive spirit. “Be in pain,” &c. Grieve, but remember excessive grief, fretfulness, and rebellion, are unreasonable. Resistance is folly, submission is triumph.
“By not opposing, thou dost ills destroy,
And wear thy conquered sorrows into joy” [Young].
3. They should cherish a spirit of hope. What a bright prospect opens up before them! Why doubt or despair? God will accomplish his word. Hope will sweeten trial, and, like the sun, paint the rainbow on the clouds. “Black though our side of the canvas be,” said Sir Harry Vane, in going to be executed, “the Divine hand paints a beautiful picture on the unseen side.”
THE DESTRUCTION OF ZION’S FOES.—Micah 4:11-13
Those who exult in Israel’s fall, and seek to defile and outrage her, will be disappointed. Inscrutable wisdom will correct the children with the foe, and then destroy the foe with the children.
I. They are frustrated in their design. “Let her be defiled,” &c.
1. They sought her injury. They desired to defile her with blood, and condemn her in guilt. The wicked delight in the fall and inconsistencies of God’s people. They often become tempters, then accusers; “first desecrators, then sanctimonious justiciaries,” says one.
2. They feasted their eyes on her misery. “Let our eye look upon Zion.” The world always hates the Church and rejoices in its sorrow. Edom delighted in the chastisement of Israel (Obadiah 1:12); and the sufferings of the martyrs were a spectacle to the heathen. Malice is blind to all virtue, and eyes can always see what hearts can wish. “Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.”
II. They are crushed in their efforts. “Many nations are gathered against thee.” The powers of earth and hell are sometimes arrayed against the Church, but all in vain. They are against God when against his people. They may have wickedness to imagine, craft to devise, but are not able to perform (Psalms 21:0). God knows their thoughts, but they cannot defeat his purpose. Pharaoh’s counsel to extinguish issued in the increase of the chosen people. The wisdom, power, and counsel of man signify nothing, if they oppose the decrees of God. “He taketh the wise in their craftiness.” Learn—
1. The folly of designing against God.
2. The security of obedience to God.
III. They are ruined in their numbers. “Many nations” combined against Zion. The armies of Babylon, with their subject nations, the forces of Edom, Ammon, Moab, and others, who exulted in Judah’s fall, were types of the anti-Christian powers of the latter days. Neither numbers nor craft avail before God. They only ripen themselves for God to “gather them as the sheaves into the floor.”
HOMILETIC HINTS AND OUTLINES
Micah 4:9-10. I. The moral condition of men. Kingless and restless, in captivity and misery. Unable to cope with sin, evil habits, and the world. Without the privileges of that city, whose builder and maker is God; exposed to danger, tumult, and the distractions of life. II. The purpose of God concerning men. To redeem, to govern, to guide, and to exalt above all misery and opposition. He will shortly bruise Satan under their feet, and every power of body and mind shall be consecrated to him.
Micah 4:11-12. The enemies of Zion.
1. Their number.
2. Their purpose,—to defile and rejoice.
3. Their spirit—proud and determined.
4. Their helplessness. “They know not the thoughts of God.”
5. Their ruin. “He shall gather them,” &c. God’s people begin, and he will finish, the work.
Gather them as sheaves. Persecutors.
1. Ripened by their own conduct.
2. Gathered by the providence of God.
3. Threshed by the judgments of God. “This prophecy received a primary and partial fulfilment in the victories of the Maccabees (1Ma. 5:1). But its adequate accomplishment is in Christ. It is to be applied to the work of the apostles, and apostolic men, missionaries of Christ, who are compared by St. Paul to oxen treading out the corn (1 Corinthians 9:9; 1 Timothy 5:18; cf. Isaiah 32:20). Their work is indeed one of bringing the nations into subjection (2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Ephesians 6:12); but it is in subjection to the law of love, in order that the good grain winnowed from the sheaves on the floor may be gathered into the garner of heaven” (cf. Psalms 149:8) [Wordsworth].
Micah 4:13. The very image of the threshing implies that this is no mere destruction. While the stubble is beaten or bruised to small pieces, and the chaff is far more than the wheat, and is carried out of the floor, there yet remains the seed-corn. So in the great judgments of God, while most is refuse, there yet remains over what is severed from the lost heap, and wholly consecrated to him [Pusey].
The Lord of the whole earth.
1. God the supreme ruler of the world. Not merely the God of Israel, but ruler “of the whole earth.”
2. All things governed in the interests of the Church. The nations subject to Zion, not for selfish aggrandisement, but for her good and his glory (Isaiah 60:6; Isaiah 60:9; Isaiah 23:18).
3. The glory of victory should be given to God. All gains of merchandise, all achievements of intellect, all success of spiritual efforts, spring from him, and should be consecrated to him. Holiness to the Lord should be written on all things we do.
Micah 4:9-13. Of the struggles of God’s congregation. They must be maintained:
1. Under heavy sorrow, in secure expectation of their final redemption (Micah 4:9-10).
2. Under the mighty assaults of the foe, in sure confidence that the Lord sits upon the throne (Micah 4:11-12).
3. In constant self-examination. For although the victory must certainly be given to God’s cause (Micah 4:13), nevertheless, until Christ is born in the congregation (and in each individual, Micah 4:1), the result of every contest is deserved disaster and disgrace (Micah 4:13) [Lange].
The whole chapter sets forth—
1. The glory;
2. The peace;
3. The dominion; and,
4. The victory of the Church.
ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 4
Micah 4:1-2. Last days. God’s promises are dated, but with a mysterious character; and for want of skill in God’s chronology, we are prone to think God forgets us, when, indeed, we forget ourselves in being so bold to set God a time of our own, and in being angry that he comes not just then to us [Gurnall].
Micah 4:3. War. There must be peace when the art of war is laid by as useless, and shall be learned no more. That will be a blessed time, indeed, when the art military shall be out of date, and (being itself the greatest interrupter of learning) shall be learned no more. When soldiers shall turn husbandmen and vine-dressers. When a man casts away his sword we may well conclude he intends to be quiet. Thus the Lord gives quiet to nations which have been engaged in war, by causing wars to cease [Caryl].
Micah 4:4. Peace of country life.
“In all things grew his wisdom and his wealth,
And folk beholding the fair state and health
Wherein his land was, said that now at last
A fragment of the Golden Age was cast
Over the place, for there was no debate,
And men forgot the very name of hate.” [Wm. Morris.]
Micah 4:6-8. As the pleasures of the future will be spiritual and pure, the object of a good and wise man in this transitory state of existence should be to fit himself for a better, by controlling the unworthy propensities of his nature and improving all his better aspirations; to do his duty, first to God, then to his neighbour; to promote the happiness and welfare of those who are in any degree dependent upon him, or whom he has the means of assisting; never wantonly to injure the meanest thing that lives; to encourage, as far as he can, whatever is useful and tends to refine and exalt humanity; to store his mind with such knowledge as it is fitted to receive, and he is able to attain; and so to employ the talents committed to his care that, when the account is required, he may hope to have his stewardship approved [Southey].
Micah 4:9. King.
“Kings are like stars—they rise and set—they have
The worship of the world, but no repose.” [Shelley.]
Micah 4:8-10. The kingdom shall come. Observe, it is a kingdom that is to come to us; we are not to go to it. Also, it is not to be a kingdom of the dead, but of the living. Also, it is not to come all at once, but quietly; nobody knows how. “The kingdom cometh not with observation” [Ruskin].
Micah 4:10-11. It belongs, in truth, to the Church of God to suffer blows, not to strike them. But at the same time let it be remembered that the Church is an anvil which has worn out many a hammer [Beza].
Micah 4:12. Thoughts of the Lord. To those, the eyes of whose understandings are enlightened, and the avenues of their hearts opened to discern and adore the perfections of God, how manifold are the instances which occur of the providence of God interfering to direct the course of human events towards a salutary end; to make afflictions of men the by-path to enjoyment; out of evils, temporal and transitory, to produce substantial and permanent good [Bp. Mant].
Micah 4:13. Hope doth three things: it assures good things to come; it disposes us for them; it waits for them unto the end, each of which will be of singular use to fit us for pious sufferings [Polhill].
Arise. When God has conquering work for his people to do, he will furnish them with strength and ability for it; will make the horn iron and the hoofs brass: and, when he does so, they must exert the power he gives them, and execute the commission; even the daughter of Zion must arise and thresh [Matt. Henry].