Thursday 09 July 2015

Bible Book:

“They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (v. 3)

Micah 4:1-8 Thursday 9 July 2015

Psalm: Psalm 38:1-9


If there is one experience that is common to almost every era ofhistory, it is the existence of war and conflict. The prophet Micahaddressed a people who were all too familiar with it, and for whomit would soon become a very present reality. Micah is brutallyhonest about the immediate prospect of war, but he is also able tosee beyond those circumstances to the dawning of an age whenhumanity will dwell in peace and common accord.

The words that he cites were probably a great poem or hymn thatwas already familiar - identical stanzas appear in the book ofIsaiah (Isaiah 2:4). They express a longing that would be in thehearts of any people who were scarred or threatened by war.

The peace of which Micah speaks is not a tentative ceasefire;weapons are not confiscated or mothballed, but willingly re-forgedinto the tools of agriculture and shared provision. And in a worldthat still yearns for peace, we might well ask whether Micah'sprophecy is one of confident promise or vain hope.

Christians are called to be peacemakers, and Micah makes clearthat peace cannot be achieved in isolation. His vision begins withthe peoples of the earth abandoning political and racial division,and instead embracing their common humanity. And this is not theoutcome of mere human aspiration, but by recognising and beingdrawn afresh into relationship with their creator. Christian peoplehave begun to experience this reality, able to embrace fellowbelievers as sisters and brothers despite huge differences inlanguage, culture and national identity.

But peace is deeply intertwined with justice, and Micah's wordsrecognise that God is a God of justice. It is when God's lawsbecome the benchmark, and disputes and differences are settledaccording to his principles, that strong and sustainable peaceemerges. It is a peace founded on justice for all, where thebroken, afflicted and marginalised are included and valued. It isthis vision of God's kingdom which centuries later, Jesus declaredthat he had come to establish - this is the eternal hope and futurefor those who believe in him.

But this is a promise given to a people who still had some toughcircumstances to face in the immediate future. Our life's journeycan also be one of pain and struggle, but through Micah's words,God offers us a cause for hope and a challenge to work for peaceand justice even in the midst of struggle.


To Ponder

  • What would need to happen in today's world for people to bewilling to "beat swords into ploughshares"?
  • How can we work for peace in our world by embracing God'svision of justice for all?


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