The Mountain of the Lord
Micah Outline and Overview
A. Promotes Confession (Micah 1-2)
A• Micah convincingly points out the connection between the pain they suffer with their sinful and wayward ways.
B. Fosters Responsibility (Micah 3-5)
B• Micah persuades them to accept responsibility for their difficult situation and to understand where it will lead to if they do not change. He encourages them to adopt God’s ways to find hope.
C. Demands Commitment (Micah 6-7)
C• Lastly, Micah puts a clear assignment before them which helps them to evaluate how they are doing. He summarizes the terrible consequences of continuing in their evil behavior and again paints the hope of those who find compassion with God.
One thing makes the Old Testament prophecies so difficult is what I call the ‘prophetic jump.’ The scene is lifted from the present, though still related to it, and leaps to some future time. In our own Micah 4 passage you will find the hint to this prophetic jump in the phrase ‘the last days.’ This phrase is not defined except an indefinite time in the future. Do not be put off by this. God ‘leaks’ these future pictures in order to shape our present responses. In no case should despair, fear or defeat influence our decisions. They show us that no matter how dark it is, God has complete control of the whole situation. He will comfortably cause ‘all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8:28).
What great news this is! Some of us live under a pessimistic view of the future. Of course, this does not mean that you or I will not suffer or go through difficult times. The key is to understand that God in a real sense has already won and defeated His enemies. He will give us all the strength, wisdom and help we need to live out godly lives in difficult times. But if we succumb to the world and the growing darkness, then fears begin to dictate our decisions, and despair causes us to cease praying in the power of the great Name of Jesus Christ. Our faith is crucial. And so God has dropped these prophetic pictures before us so that we have everything to live godly lives. And it is for this reason we study this passage today. God unfolds His plans before us. We can like any dramatic cinema production be fully engaged in God’s world program. Let us carefully look at Micah 4:1-5 and see what God has to say to us.
Whenever I come to these prophetic passages, I need to slow down. One way to do this is reading it aloud. Another way is to write down questions and observations about each verse, quietly talking to the Lord as you do. Don’t worry about having answers. There is no test. Have fun making up the questions! These following observations all come from Micah 4:1-2a. Personalize your thoughts.
Many more could be stated. Each question or observation is like a road that forms its own path and around each corner holds its own scenic views. As we go through Micah 4:1-5 we will find there are three key components.
And it will come about in the last days
That the mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains
It will be raised above the hills,
And the peoples will stream to it.
The first thing we find is that someone will make sure that some great mountain will be established in the last days. There is no clarity given on when it would happen but just that it would happen. Where the book of Daniel was full of dates, these other prophecies cause us to focus on what God would be doing. They are faith engendering words. They inspire us.
We will come back to the meaning of this ‘last days’ in a moment. We will need to reflect on the whole passage’s meaning and reflect back and forth on the last days part in the whole. For example, “Does the ‘last days’ refer to now? If so, how?” Or “Does it refer to the distant future? If so, how?” Those influenced by the scientific age sometimes like everything cut and dry. But if everything was so clear, it would exclude a lot of meditation, constant perusal on God’s Word.
But first, let us see what will happen. Two things will happen:
In the last days God will be doing something great. It will be fantastic. Why does the Lord represent His house by a mountain? Is it real or just symbolic? Should we look for a time when a literal mountain will ‘grow’ out of Israel or maybe right in Jerusalem? It doesn’t seem to have that sense. If that was the case, I can imagine everyone would run away from it rather than run to it as in this case.
The idea of the mountain is a place in God’s presence. It is something analogous to the kingdom of God. If a person wants to meet God, He needs to go where God is. Mount Sinai for example was a place to meet God. That was one mountain though. In that case people were not to touch it. This is not the image of the New Testament, though. The New Testament says a person can meet God anywhere. Remember Jesus’ words to the woman at the well.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But (an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:21-24).
For you have not come to a mountain that may be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word should be spoken to them….But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18-24).
It says that His people “have come to Mount Zion.” The tense shows it is something that has happened. But we see so much sin around us. Can God’s kingdom really be so present? Perhaps in the future a greater glory of it will shine. In the meantime it does say that every Christian has come to Mount Zion. Evidently this is the same mountain referred to in Micah 4. Even though we are not in ‘heaven,’ we are in the ‘city of the living God and the heavenly Jerusalem.’ These are awesome words. And so it seems that even though the mountain is not something I can very much identify with here in the city, it is a symbol that speaks to our soul. What does it say?
A mountain is something that is first of all very visible. One can see a mountain from far away. If it is the chief of the mountains, then it commands the greatest awe. It is the one a person first looks at. The others are background. Second of all, it is permanent. Anyone who has driven through the mountains realize that we can shave a portion of the mountain off and make a road on the mountain but we cannot move it. We have great difficulty boring holes for traffic through a mountain. But this is just one tiny hole. The mountain is to stay. Thirdly, we know a mountain is high. It is a place people can climb to get a great view. And fourthly, a mountain is a place to meet God on high.
We should take confidence that nothing will stop this mountain of God to grow until it is the chief of the mountains. If you scoff at many things of the Word of God, this you should take seriously. You cannot fight God and win. Join Him and you will be blessed. Now is the time to serve God.
The people in these verses are not only recognizing that there is a mountain but that the mountain is one in which people climb. “And the peoples will stream to it.” The mountain is not just for viewing. It was for climbing. Now they did not have cable cars in that day. I assume that if there were any paths, they were not nice ones like we have today. Climb meant climb. Hands as well as feet were used. Especially, if it is the chief of mountains, then it is the most tremendous mountain. We should expect its height and girth to be magnificent.
It took 1430 years for God’s kingdom to reach 1% of the world’s population. In 1986 the church has reached 11% of the world’s population. Now it takes only 2 to 3 years to gain another percentage point!
What was started by the apostles in the Book of Acts is progressing around the world. What were the disciples doing before Pentecost Day? They were praying. How many were there? Acts 1:15 says there were about 120 people. Now we have more than a million attending a prayer meeting! People are streaming upward to the presence of God.
Everyone on the globe can see the ‘growing’ mountain of God. More and more people are being added to it day by day. This is the upward trend. If we acknowledge its upward flow, though counter to gravity, it is definitely spiritually happening. We should not look for a physical mountain to appear in Jerusalem and the revival of Judaism. This spiritual mountain is the heavenly Jerusalem.
The 20th century has produced more martyrs than the first 19 centuries of Christian history combined. Over the last six years, the percentage of staff that lives in the 10/40 Window rose from nine percent in 1991, to 16 percent in 1997 (in actual numbers from 630 to 1651). We have established a presence in nine more countries within the Window now totaling 41.”
God is calling all of us to re-examine our structures. During my most recent trip to Norway, I learned about the new vision of one of the largest missions there, the Norwegian Santal Mission under the leadership of Torbjorn Lied, who also chairs the Norwegian Missionary Council. Lied spoke of the complete renewal of his mission to focus on the unfinished task. George Verwer, who leads the AD2000 network for mobilization of new missionaries, received a vision concerning the mobilization of 200,000 new missionaries, primarily for the 10/40 Window.
This concept is a breakthrough in missions strategy. It is based on the idea that each life-giving church should be responsible to affirm, support and commission people from their own congregation to go to the mission field.
A friend pastor in India has on his heart to bring the gospel to his whole county. Right now he has fasting and prayer events in each district. He gathers the Christians that are there and then shares the gospel. This is just the beginning. In one of the last districts he discovered that 30% of the people had heard the Gospel. Most had not. But do you see what is happening. The church in Europe and America might be dying out because of their worldliness, but the church is well and alive. We have virtually charted all the areas that do not yet have the gospel. The ends of the earth are in sight. In verse 1 we see it as something that God is doing. Have we recognized this mission? Have we said, “Oh, wow, that is very important. I need to support missions in any way that God wants to use me?”
We can miss what God is doing by allowing myself to be entertained rather than on focusing what most significantly is doing. I have often thought how news should not be on the stock market and local murders but on what God is doing in each country around the world. This perfectly matches what the Lord has said to us, “As you are going into the world, make disciples…” Let’s hear a bit from his journal.
“On 30th of March all the team members went to Gummalakshmipuram mandal by hired vehicle to conduct mandal fasting and intercessory prayer conference. We started by 6 am after closing our prayer and worship in the church (as usual from 5am to 5-30AM early mornings). Lord is so wonderful we reached that agency area by that vehicle by 11 O’ clock, though some hindrances occurred on the way, that is, front wheel of the vehicle punctured in that thick jungle area. We started pray for it, by God’s grace with in a short period, the repair work was completed and reached with all team members by 11am. There the believers are waiting for us with great expectation with prayer. Spirit of God moved in special way in that congregation. We all are united prayed for that mandal (Block) which is having 222 villages. We prayed with great burden for each village name by name duly binding all the demon powers working on the villages through the power in risen name of our Lord Jesus Christ and claim those villages for the Lord Jesus Christ,
When we reviewed all those 222 villages, out of that 222 gospel only reached to 40 villages. The total mandal area is covered with mountains and jungle. When we are preaching the word of God in the conference with the great anointing of the Holy Spirit, God put great burden in their hearts towards the perishing souls in those villages as well as in India. The pastors, evangelists and all the believers in that area started praying with great agony and burden for soul wining and great revival. We have seen great revival in that prayer conference and they testify that we never heard and saw this type of fasting prayer conference.
After completion of the prayer conference we came back by same vehicle with our team and reached our head quarters by 10 pm that night with great strain. On the return journey we presented the gospel to that vehicle driver who is belongs to Muslim religion, he is gladly listen the word of God. We are so happy because the Lord blessed our gospel tour.”
We can miss the greater sense of these verses if we misplace their application. You will note that I am applying these verses to our present situation, the time of the church. Jesus did this by saying this mountain was a spiritual kingdom. Hebrews said the same thing. But what about the time phrase ‘the last days?” I am not happy with many people who have bought or seen some of these last days movies and books. You are being misled. I don’t mind if you get excited about Christ’s wonderful return but the problem is that you can be easily misfocused. Many Christians believe they are to sit tight and hope Jesus comes soon to rescue them.
But what we see here is something totally different. We are to catch the vision of what God is doing. We are not to shrink back from fear of the power of the world but to take courage that God’s mountain will indeed be the chief of all mountains. We don't need to worry whether humanism and secularism and feminism seem to grow more powerful. It is nothing compared to God’s kingdom. Praise God!
We are to see that God’s mission is taking place. We don’t have to think that things are out of control. We do not need to have the city be darkened with immorality. We will see more in the second verse. But before you dismiss my worlds, let me show you that the Bible itself interprets the words ‘the last days’ as something that is happening now rather than something at the last moment before Christ comes.
There are ten Bible verses that use this exact phrase “the last days.” Other Bible verses use similar words such as Hebrews 1:2 which uses the “latter days.” From my studies the Bible clearly teaches that the last days refers to the days following Christ’s resurrection. Read with me these two passages and perhaps you can understand where I am coming from.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
“For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: and it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:16-17)
Although we do not deny that there is some future aspect still retained, we do not want to neglect that the Lord has already done significant things today since Jesus’ time. Hebrews 1:1-2 clearly associates the last days with the first coming of Jesus Christ. Acts 2 indicates that in a minimum the last days were already including the very first days after Jesus’ resurrection. Could there be a greater fulfillment of these things in the very last days before Christ’s coming? Sure there could be, but we must not forget that the Lord is already doing great things. His kingdom is being established and the gates of hell shall not hold it back.
God not only will establish His mountain but has through Jesus Christ. This is the Mount Zion that consists of His people. Already there are streams of people going up to God’s mountain. This is what is happening. This is fact. I can be so dulled by the world that this mountain is not in clear focus. Some churches don't have people coming to know the Lord. Although the modern world has become a post-modern world full with depression, we should not discount that many in it would like to take a visit to God’s holy mountain.
We get excited about missions and what the Lord is doing. I know people right now working on evangelism, translation and church planting in every remote place as well as the big urban cities of the world. Even in our own church we just had around fifteen people baptized, most of them from atheistic China. People are streaming toward it.
Many nations will come and say,
"Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD
And to the house of the God of Jacob,
That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths "
For from Zion will go forth the law,
Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
In the prior verse we read that people streamed to God’s mountain. Nothing could keep them back. Up they went. Who cares about he discomfits about climbing the mountain, up they went. I was recently talking to a brother about his trip to Yellow Mountain, the most scenic in China. He says it is so steep that they have rock steps. The path is but steps either up or down. I suppose that there is a counter force that keeps his people from meeting God. What is it in your life? These are counter forces that need to be clearly identified and resolved. For the message in these verses are clear. What is happening in God’s presence is more important than any quest for fame, grab for wealth or hope for recognition. The story is not about society or us but God. God’s mountain clearly defies all attempts by secularism to keep it down and out of the way.
Did you ever try to hide your Bible? You don’t want people to catch you reading the Bible and think you are one of those uncool conservative Christians. This is why we need to understand these verses. Then we will see that a love for God is the greatest and most wonderful thing in the world! Let’s note three responses to what God is doing. We will later look and see whether we are responding so or not?
Verse 2 first of all tells us like the Lord Jesus that it will be many nations that desire to be part of this mountain. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18). People are not just representatives from the different nations. They are, as already was mentioned. But even more significant is that they are all shaped by His Word. They are discipled.
It doesn’t matter what our background. We are all sinners. We categorically though from different races and tongues are all so unworthy of God’s glorious grace. “God of Jacob” is a phrase that reminds us how unworthy we are of God’s great grace. Jacob was a cunning deceiver. He stole and deceived his father. He was so unworthy of God’s grace, but God still gave it to him. This was God’s decision. He can do what He wants. He chose not to give it to his brother Esau but only to Jacob and his descendants. We are his descendants through faith in Christ.
What does this say about our mission? We definitely need to have a focus on reaching internationals. Our focus is good. God loves it. We are hardly the only ones with this vision but we are joining up with other like groups around the world that proclaim that it is really only god’s love that enables us to overcome racial prejudice, despising of those from other cultures or thinking that we are particularly with it.
We find here a tremendous upward flow. The attraction is overpowering. They stream up to it. Why is it that people will want to go up the mountain of the Lord? Why is it that they will take others along? It is because what they have tasted of the Lord. Notice how eager they are to hear of the Word of the Lord!
“That He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” We see that they are excited about God’s Word and that they could obey. Most people that claim to be Christians seem to be the opposite of these and therefore they do not bring others to God’s mountain. A key evangelistic spirit comes from experiencing God’s abounding grace. When we experience God’s best, then we want to share it with others. However, if your hearts have grown dull, then we no longer are enthusiastic about God’s Word and no longer confident in its awesome power in our lives. We ourselves might not even go to church. But let us look more closely at the two things that bring about a strong evangelistic spirit.
They want the Lord ‘to teach us about His ways.” First of all we should note how they want the Lord to teach them. This is not about finding some great teachers but finding the Lord. It is also about the Lord wanting and willing to teach us. How interesting to find that the Lord sent the Holy Spirit to teach us His Word,
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (John 16:13).
We need teachers of God’s Word. He calls us into being and so gifts us. But in the end they are only helping us all to hear from the Lord more clearly. Teaching is often trivialized into just a person teaching another person what he has learned. The Holy Spirit is totally left out of the process. The dynamics are much greater than this. Those who have tasted the Lord’s Word on their heart want to go back for more. They might even have to hear hard words that demand that they repent from some sin, but the point is that they want to hear God’s Words for healing comes from them.
Also notice that they want to obey. “And that we may walk in His paths.” So much for the “Lord Savior” controversy. This is totally unbiblical. God’s people love God and because they love God, they love His Word and love to keep it. If Christ Jesus is not your Lord, then He is not your Savior.
God’s people not only want to hear God speaking His Word but that they desire to obey Him. When Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount, He simply spoke of the difference between the wise and the foolish person. The difference is not in whether people heard but whether they applied the truths of God, that is, if they obeyed.
“For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” We should be assured that God will send forth His word forth. Notice that it will go forth from Mount Zion. This no doubt speaks of the way God will use teachers to proclaim His liberating truth. This no doubt refers to the testimony of holiness that people see in the lives of other Christians. But God’s Word will go forth. That we should not doubt.
God’s kingdom should thoroughly influence our lives. God is not doubtful about the method we should use. It is discipleship. Sure God uses preaching to disciple His people but it is not enough and rarely practical enough. When we meet God through His Word, then we are changed. It is this change that leads us to want to introduce others to the Lord. If we are caught in some sin or neglect, we are no longer meeting the Lord. We just don’t want to change. We don't want to tell others about the Lord. On the other hand, when I am impacted by God’s Word, I get excited about using them in my daily life. I want my mind and body to e shaped by Him. And when we do, we will see God’s Word to go out to the nations.
1) Am I eager to share God’s Word? I am eager among some. It is harder with others. Perhaps I am too busy to share with my neighbors unless some special opportunity appears.
I am very eager for the Lord to teach my through His Word. He is doing it right now in this Micah study. He does it each day when I open His Word. I am not just reading His Word but He is meeting me through His Word. Again, pastors and teachers have their importance. They equip the saints to the work of God. But let me never forget the Spirit’s impact.
If we want God’s work to grow, then we need to get back to discipling others. Discipling is creating the directed entrance into God’s presence to hear God’s Word so that we might better know how to live out our lives. When discipleship is rightly practiced then God’s people live alive in His presence and missions goes forth from the church.
As God’s people we are eager to obey the Lord. We study God’s Word so that
Instead of looking for solutions in fancy worship services, we need to go back to the basics spoken of here. God is speaking of a world church. When God’s people of any nation or language come before Him for teaching of His Word, then they will grow. And this growth will impact their lives and bring about a great testimony to the world. We cannot be too spiritual. God’s Word impacts spiritual people; they feel compelled to carry it out.
Revival starts with a seeking of God's face. We need to turn to Him and repent of our ways. We have lost hope in His truth and His ability to speak to our hearts. Because of this, we live in darkened days. We rarely if ever bother to put our walking shoes on and climb to the peaks to meet God. But if we would, we then will see Him and hear His wonderful words and then obey and tell others. And even if we are resistant, God is rising up another people that will for God’s Word will go forth. “For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” The question is not if it will go forth but whether it will also be through our lives.
3 And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations
Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they train for war.
4 Each of them will sit under his vine
And under his fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid,
For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
5 Though all the peoples walk
Each in the name of his god,
As for us, we will walk
In the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.
We only have time to briefly discuss the impact that the church has on the world once it seeks God’s face. We have seen this happen when revival breaks out. The society around it is influenced by it.
Yale was once so secular that there was not thought to have more than a handful of Christians in it. But when God’s Spirit breathed upon the people, the school radically changed. In the Welsh revival the policemen had nothing to do so they went to the revival meetings and sang in quartets. The mules of the mines were so unaccustomed to the changed language of the miner’s pure language that they wouldn’t obey the miners anymore. Many people are looking for solutions apart from God’s Spirit. They want to bring peace to this world. But verse three clearly states that peace only comes from the result of a people who have come before God. The person of God has become more important than their own agendas. Once one has surrendered to God, he realizes that he has already given everything over to God.
When we seek God’s perspective, things work.
Violence and deceitfulness will be put aside. You can only sit down and enjoy your book when there is no one to threaten you. People are alarmed when people are willing to be ruled by their desires rather than by justice and righteousness. Sure we can hire more policemen, and put up all sorts of security measures at our airports but we are fools if we think this solves the problem. The real problem is in lack of restraint on ones desires. This always brings fear, injustice and oppression.
The mountain is there for all to see and climb but only so many will climb. They can’t see beyond their own desires. And so they live day to day with hopes that their idol will help them through their tougher times. In the end the decision comes down to our own commitment. Will we climb the mountain? Will we be touched by the Lord? Will we be used of the Lord to bring His good to the world?
God has His program. He has defined it. This is the sovereign God speaking. But we need to fully realize that before us we have a choice too. Our decisions will impact our lives. If you sense a desire to climb to God’s mountain, why don’t you decide that right now. Do you sense God drawing you? First ask the Lord to forgive you through Jesus Christ’s work on the cross and then go. Go now. Run. Don’t stop climbing.
Some of you are confused. You more than likely have been stained by the world. You want the Lord. There is no doubt about that. But you have stopped climbing. You want to stay close enough to the plains of the earth so that you can have the supposed best of both worlds. But the choice to stay in the world keeps you from ascending before God. Your worldliness is a stench to Him. Why not now put it off? Seek the Lord. Seek forgiveness. And go meet the Lord.
Our whole lives as God’s people is considered a climb. We are stepping closer and closer to the Lord. We have no other good. No other purpose. No other aim. What He wants is what we want. Where He leads, we will follow. What He asks us to give up, we give up. We are His and we delight in being His.
I need to ask myself, first of all, though I have traveled many places in this world, have I gone to the Lord’s mountain? Have I gone where it is most important that I go? Have I stayed there? Has its beauty worn off? Has its glory been taken for granted?
What am I doing to work along this spiritual trend of the building up of the kingdom of God and the ‘raising’ of this mountain? How much percentage of money am I giving to mission projects? Do I have any particular skills I am using to contribute to this purpose of the Lord?
The question is not if the Lord will establish this mountain. It is great and worthy of my attention and all. It is after all my home. Does the Lord want me to go on any mission trips, long or short term? I reminded my children that we need to be ready to move anywhere in the world. A village in India or a great city in China. It doesn’t matter. We need to want to be where God wants us to be. Am I sure I am where God wants me? And am I doing what God wants me to do?
A.) God’s Resolve to Establish His Mountain (4:1)
Nothing is going to stop God’s great program. It is written. Should we not make ourselves available to what God is doing? What if God wants me a missionary?
B.) Our Response to Climb God’s Mountain (4:2)
Are you climbing? What if you find yourselves stuck somewhere? It is only from an onward climb and our meetings with God come forth His love and good works.
C.) Various Outcomes to Meeting God (4:3-5)
What things do you not like the most about our society? Are you willing to make a stand? Are you like Daniel going to walk in the Lord’s ways?
 Louis Bush in ‘Paradigm Shifts in World Missions’ found in Missions Frontiers (www.ijfm.org).
 Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 23:20, 49:39, Ezekiel 38:16, Hosea 3:5, Micah 4:1, Acts 2:17, 2 Timothy 3:1; James 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3.