If you have read the fictional series The Chronicles of Narnia then you’ve probably heard the phrase “It’s always winter but never Christmas.” That feeling carries a dark, dreary, cold and almost a hopeless sense to it. As we have been moving through the book of Micah, the first three chapters have felt similar to the description given of Narnia. There may be a sense of where is the good news in all of this? In chapter 4, a hope-filled shift begins to unfold. In this, we see that: The hope of future promises enables us to endure present struggles.
1. God’s Hope for Us in His Future Promise: v.1-8
In the first 8 verses, Micah speaks to the future hope that is found in God’s promise. It’s important for us to understand that future hope changes how we think about and live in the present. Micah begins by highlighting God’s established rule over His people (While it’s not explicit in the text, it is important to understand that mountains in the Old Testament are symbolic for the place where God dwells and where God rules. This is why in verse 1 the comment about the mountain being established as the highest sets the stage for God’s established rule). He does this by reminding them of the hope of His presence and the hope of His transforming peace. These are amazing promises for us! God is present with us. Further, God transforms us! We see this in verse 3, how weapons of warfare are transformed into agricultural tools. No longer needed because of the peace that God brings, He transforms them. In that same fashion, God chooses to transform His people! Praise God for that, right? Could you imagine if God had not transformed us?
In response to that, we see in verse 5 that we commit to a pursuit of God. We are choosing to follow God irrespective of our situation or circumstance.
The second promise of God that brings hope is God’s restoration of His people in verses 6-8. This is accomplished by God assembling His people as well as empowering His people. But we should note, that the people that God is empowering are not the strongest, wisest or most talented. They’re the lame, afflicted and the cast off. While we have an obsession with individual strength, the Bible pushes us to a place of recognizing our weakness. It’s in this that we are confronted with our limitations and inadequacies, and give ourselves over to the Lord! Our hope isn’t in making ourselves stronger, it’s in the infinite power of God empowering us to do and be what God calls us to.
2. God’s Work in Our Present Struggles: v.9-13
As great as the promises of verses 1-8 are, they are future promises. But we live in a present struggle. So Micah returns to that struggle for the people. But the word of hope for them is two-fold. First, God will move us from distress to deliverance! There is distress coming for the people of God. They are going to be taken captive, and Micah clearly articulates that in verse 10. But in that same breath, he utters the rescuing and redemptive work of God for them. There is distress for our sin, but there is deliverance in Christ! God has pronounced the rescue before executing the penalty.
This is the greatest hope that we have. God has removed the punishment and judgment that we deserved in our sin by placing it on Christ in our place. Our sin put us in a position of distress. The mercy and grace of God has moved us into deliverance! Praise God for His work in our present struggle.