We cannot guess what Micah knew in our modern terms of knowing about his own prophetic message. He wove a tapestry of truth in a language and culture which blended literal and symbolic together because the burden was on the reader to be open to the Spirit of God. We must be careful not to read too much of one, nor too little of the other, into his message.
This chapter opens during the siege of Jerusalem by Assyria. Micah warns the king will be struck by a symbol of another’s authority, a symbolic act of dominance over the kingdom. While Assyria did not do so herself, it was Babylon a short time later who did. The point is, things aren’t looking good for those now living in Jerusalem so deeply embroiled in idolatry. Bringing the troops inside the gates signifies an expectation the walls will breach any moment.
In the midst of this fearful moment, Micah turns to mention a clan so insignificant, everyone was surprised when Samuel anointed one of the men as successor to King Saul. He was already ancient history at the time Micah wrote, but David was a symbol of the coming Messiah. Thus, Jewish scholars knew Micah alone among the prophets named His birthplace. He would be even more ancient than David in the truth He bore. This promise stands in contrast to the current siege. Eventually the people would be taken into exile, and live under pagan rulers for a time. But there would be a day of return, when the nation would be reunited under this Messiah.
It would have been the promise for Israel to claim, but she would not have it. God’s promises cannot be frustrated, though. When He rises to claim His divine throne, the Messiah will lead a New Israel. His name would be known throughout the world, and nothing could harm His domain, because His reign was in the hearts of people. So it won’t matter who thinks to invade His kingdom; they won’t be able to touch it. Instead, those who seek to crush His truth will be crushed by it. As many leaders as it takes, so many will Our Lord raise up to shepherd with Him in the ferocity and effectiveness of David, but in terms of the Spirit. To the very home of the first human empire, they would be able to dominate on Christ’s behalf with His truth.
This new Kingdom, “survivors of Jacob,” would be found among every people of the world. It would seem they fall from the sky like the dew which no man can prevent. They will be like a lion among the flocks of sheep, seizing whomever they see without any hope of stopping them. The powers of men cannot avail against the onslaught of the gospel message.
When the Day of the Lord comes, sin is destroyed. Micah symbolizes it as the cavalry forces Judah had gathered to match her neighbors, in violation of the Covenant. In ancient times, horses were always dedicated to pagan gods, and the Lord commanded Israel should always only have infantry, but with such they would always defeat any foe when they relied on Him. All those mighty fortresses symbolized a commitment to the ground, not to the truth which should have been in the lives of the people themselves. They could have remained in tents eternally and God would have prospered and defended them. For sure, the idols and pagan practices would be destroyed.
The last line in the chapter is a reminder God judges all nations of humanity, and all the people in those nations.
I’m a failure at failing.
God is not interested in your successes. He’s not much worried about your failures, either. There is no success or failure in the Kingdom of Heaven. There is only faithfulness.
I’ve been hitting it hard on the workouts. Not in the sense of pushing until it’s no fun. When I take long rides or hikes, I have time to stop and pet dogs or examine a flowering bush, and other things like that. If I can’t enjoy it, there’s no point. But I have been trying to add a second workout most evenings.
This morning I woke up feeling rather limp. I finished breakfast before 6:00, and was just trying to stay motivated. Twice I stopped and lay on the bed for a few minutes. Not that I was sleepy, but just feeling tired. Still, I knew I was going to hit my upper body workout, one way or the other. So on the ride out to the playground, I gave myself permission to fail. I reminded myself it needed to be more fun than work, and it was okay if I didn’t do so many repetitions of everything. Just go and do something.
The ride itself was mildly invigorating. So I stood relaxed a moment to catch my breath, then plunged in without any concern for performance. And I made gains on almost every exercise. Yeah, it was nice, but it wasn’t important. God said so, and that it was why He gave me some gains to celebrate. I didn’t need rest; I needed inspiration, a reminder it’s okay to fail because it’s more about faithfulness than anything else.
When I was stationed in Europe with Army, I had a friend who bicycled competitively. Not elite, but up there on the bottom edge of the elite, and way beyond anyone else I knew. He would ride 200km for a Sunday outing. But he never had fun with it, because he always obsessed about keeping up with the leaders of his competition class. When I described a Saturday ride in the country and how pleasant it was, he noted with sadness he couldn’t simply go out and ride for fun like that. I said, “That’s okay; I can’t compete.”
When I remember there is no goal, only faithfulness and obedience, it’s easier to refill the cup of joy.