Based on Micah 4:1-5
We return to the words of the prophet Micah today, as we hear his message foretelling hope and restoration. In the verse just before (3:12), Micah had warned that Zion would be “plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.” This is the law and judgement which would come upon Israel and Judah. In chapter 4, Good News is proclaimed and in the time of restoration, “the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.”
What a stark contrast between these two verses! In one verse we hear warning of judgment and desolation, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, in the next, we hear not only that the mountain of the house of the Lord (the temple in Jerusalem) would now be the highest of all mountains, but that peoples and nations would come to it to learn the ways of God and to walk in His paths. Before, Israel and Judah had turned aside from God’s ways — now, they would be a light to the nations, shepherded and guided by the True Shepherd who was to come, initiating a time of peace, harmony and justice.
It would seem we are not yet in that time. Conflict continues in the middle east and Jerusalem is at the heart of the tension. There is not yet peace among nations and peoples, not yet harmony or justice. Jesus has come and the victory is assured by His death and resurrection. The time foretold in Micah will come with Jesus’ return in power and glory. In the meantime…
Let us continue to go up to the house of God, that He may teach us His ways and that we may walk in His paths. Is this not what we do every Sunday, as we ascend God’s holy mountain, to be in the presence of the Word made flesh to dwell among us — in worship, an experience of heaven on earth?
Prayer: Lord God, teach me your ways, that I may walk in your name forever and ever. Amen.
Lenten response: If possible, go up to the house of the Lord today, to worship!
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about A Lenten Walk Through the Word, visit thenalc.org/lent.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
4:1 And in future days the Lord’s Temple Mount will be the most important mountain of all;
it will be more prominent than other hills.
People will stream to it.
2Many nations will come, saying,
“Come on! Let’s go up to the Lord’s mountain,
to the temple of Jacob’s God,
so he can teach us his ways
and we can live by his laws.”
For instruction will proceed from Zion,
the Lord’s message from Jerusalem.
3He will arbitrate between many peoples
and settle disputes between many distant nations.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nations will not use weapons against other nations,
and they will no longer train for war.
4Each will sit under his own grapevine
or under his own fig tree without any fear.
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has decreed it.
5Though all the nations follow their respective gods,
we will follow the Lord our God forever.(NET Bible)
63:1 A psalm of David, written when he was in the Judean wilderness.
O God, you are my God. I long for you.
My soul thirsts for you,
my flesh yearns for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
2Yes, in the sanctuary I have seen you,
and witnessed your power and splendor.
3Because experiencing your loyal love is better than life itself,
my lips will praise you.
4For this reason I will praise you while I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
5As with choice meat you satisfy my soul.
My mouth joyfully praises you,
6whenever I remember you on my bed,
and think about you during the nighttime hours.
7For you are my deliverer;
under your wings I rejoice.
8My soul pursues you;
your right hand upholds me.
9Enemies seek to destroy my life,
but they will descend into the depths of the earth.
10Each one will be handed over to the sword;
their corpses will be eaten by jackals.
11But the king will rejoice in God;
everyone who takes oaths in his name will boast,
for the mouths of those who speak lies will be shut up.(NET Bible)
2:1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the empire for taxes. 2This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3Everyone went to his own town to be registered. 4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, and who was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: 11Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”
15When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, that the Lord has made known to us.” 16So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger. 17When they saw him, they related what they had been told about this child, 18and all who heard it were astonished at what the shepherds said. 19But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean. 20So the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told.
21At the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
Let me mention at least a few testimonies from the year 1520. In June, Luther wrote to the same Dungersheim, “We wish to be judged by Scripture; you wish to judge it … If the Fathers are to be read without selection and judgment, the Scripture is taken away.” (17–18)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.