And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.
In this passage, we find another prophetic promise of the coming messianic kingdom. This time it’s from Micah, likely a younger contemporary of Isaiah. Although there are similarities of deep significance, Micah’s forecast differs from the vision of Isaiah 11:5–9 in one important way. It tells us exactly what kind of person this Messiah will be. As Micah tells it, “He will be the one of peace.” So the ultimate promise is not just of a peaceful kingdom, but of a peaceful King.
Jesus is the “one of peace.” He came preaching a message of peace, and he fully embodied the words that he spoke. To pick one example, Jesus’ discourse in Luke 6 may be the most unflinching articulation of non-violence on record. His ethic of peace was not the result of a mere political orientation, but of a deep encounter with his Abba. Jesus spoke the truth, come what may, because he trusted his Source. He refused to incite violence because he knew that the one who sees all would ultimately right every wrong. He encouraged his followers to have their own encounter, in the hopes that they might reach a similar conclusion. We all rest in the hands of a benevolent God who is more than happy to take care of us. Therefore, we need not expend so much energy trying to take care of ourselves. If the Essence of Existence is actively bringing about the balance of all things, then revenge is a waste of time.
The prophecy in Micah 5 actually begins in chapter 4, where the prophet boldly proclaims that, “They shall study war no more” (4:3) in the coming reign of the Messiah. An end to war is a central theme in a great many messianic prophecies. And now we are reminded again that the Messiah has already arrived . . . in the flesh. In his birth and subsequent life, Jesus has already brought peace. The prevalence of war in our world is an indication of how few of us have actually surrendered to the way of Jesus, who is the ultimate manifestation of God’s character. As we more deeply surrender ourselves to this unprecedented manifestation, I feel that we will find ourselves laying down our weapons and choosing our words with greater wisdom.
God of peace, you have revealed yourself most perfectly through Jesus. Help us, by way of your Holy Spirit, to follow his example in becoming a people of peace.
AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH, AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US.
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