It is a very comfortable “but” with which this chapter opens; and it is very reviving to those who lay the interests of Christ’s Church near their heart, and are concerned for its well-being. Sometimes when we see the corruptions of the Church, especially among her ministers and leaders when they seek their own things and not the things of God; and when, soon afterwards, we see the desolations of the Church as she is plowed like a field (chapter 3:12) – then we are often ready to fear that she will one day perish! We are ready to give up all as lost, and we conclude that the Church will have neither root not branch left upon this earth. But let not our faith fail in this matter! Out of the ashes of the Church, she shall arise!
In the last words of the foregoing chapter, we left Mount Zion – the mountain of the Lord’s house – as desolate and as waste as the high places of the forest. Is it possible that such a wilderness could ever become a fruitful field again? Yes indeed! The first words of this chapter describe this “mountain of the house of the Lord” as being greatly dignified by being frequented, as much as it had been disgraced by being deserted. Although Zion was plowed like a field, yet God never casts off His people. By the fall of the Jews, salvation was brought to the Gentiles; and so their temporary ruin has proved to be the riches of the world (Rom. 11:11-12). This is the mystery which God, by His prophet Micah, here shows us in the first three verses of this chapter; and He says the very same thing through the lips of another prophet who lived around the same time – namely, Isaiah (Isa. 2:2-4). Thus, from the mouths of these two faithful witnesses, these promises are very well established; and indeed, very precious promises they are! They look far beyond the restoration of the exiled Jews to the city of Jerusalem; for in a spiritual sense, they also relate to the Gospel-Church. In part, these promises have already been accomplished; and they will continue to be fulfilled more and more, for He is faithful Who has spoken them!
Let us observe the various features that are here set forth concerning the blessings of Jesus’ Gospel. We read here that His Church shall be established and set up in plain sight of all the world, in spite of the forces of hell that strive to throw her down. All nations shall flow to it, and every redeemed soul shall invite his neighbor to go with him and enter the house of the Lord (verse 2). As for the enemies of the Church, they shall be judged by the Lord. When the Gospel works within the hearts of lost people, contention ceases among them, and peace is established (verse 3); they take their weapons of war and reshape them into tools for honest labor like farming, and the Church enjoys uninterrupted quietness. In such places where the peace of the Gospel prevails, no advancing armies threaten the safety of the people; they may peacefully sit under their vine-trellises and fig trees on their own properties, without fear or apprehension (verse 4). Such is the blessed condition that exists when people “walk every one in the name of his God!” (verse 5)
In verses 6 and 7, we find sweet and precious promises that are intended especially for the weak and fearful among the Lord’s children. Those who are lame and unable to proceed in the ways of the Lord without halting shall be strengthened, as well as those who tremble under the thought of being cast off. Jesus will be their strength and their confidence, and He will plead their cause! Even the weakest of the Lord’s sons and daughters – like Ready-to-halt and Much-afraid – shall be brought into His mountain of Zion, right alongside the stronger members of His flock, like Great-heart and Valiant-for-truth!
In the latter portion of this chapter, we have a promise of the glories of the spiritual Jerusalem – the Gospel-Church, which is “the tower of the flock,” or that one fold into which all the sheep of Christ are protected under one Shepherd. “Unto thee,” says the prophet, “shall it come.” What does that mean? The Jews in Babylonian captivity would wait and wish for the restoration of the dominion, dignity, and power of David and Solomon, by whom the Kingdom of Israel was built up and established. At the time of the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, that power was taken away from them; but now the prophet foretells that when they were liberated and permitted to return to their homeland, their nation would shine with as much luster among the nations as it ever had. But this restoration of glory by no means had its ultimate accomplishment when the Jews returned under the leadership of Zerubbabel; for that man’s influence was nothing like David’s dominion, either in splendor, sovereignty, or power. Therefore, these precious promises must be ultimately referring to the Kingdom of the Messiah! (verse 8) Truly, His power and authority were established forever when the Father gave Him the throne of David (Luke 1:32), set Him up as King upon the holy hill of Zion, gave Him the heathen for His inheritance (Ps. 2:6), and made Him higher than the kings of the earth (Ps. 89:27; Dan. 7:14).
We may rejoice when we remember the holy triumphs which await the Church in the end (verse 13). It is not enough that Jesus will drive out all the enemies of His people before them, but He will also bring all their enemies under them. Satan shall not only be bruised, but he shall even be bruised under the feet of the poor and timid followers of the Lamb!
Lord, we beseech You to hasten the wonderful, glorious day when “many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord!” Amen.
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illustration by John Kitto, 1855