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Micah 3:12-4:8 – The Mountain of the House of Yahweh

Babylon (Babel) was a city that boasted in its technological accomplishments, wealth, beauty and as being the gateway to heaven’s god-like prosperity which towered over the nations and peoples ‘streamed’ to. In this passage, because of Israel’s sin, Zion will become a field that is ploughed, Jerusalem a heap of ruins, and the mountain of Yahweh’s house a wooded height. It is like Babel the false gateway to heaven has won and the mountain of God’s house which was the true gateway to heaven was devoted to destruction.

Micah speaks of a future day when the mountain of Yahweh’s house rather than being a decimated wooded height would be raised to become the highest of mountains. In other words, the place of the presence of God would be raised above all the earth in such a way that Yahweh would be first and foremost in all the earth. In that day rather than the peoples flowing like a river to Babylon, they would flow to Mount Zion.

The nations will come to Mount Zion in order to be instructed in God’s ways and learn how to walk in his paths. As God speaks his word, peoples would be transformed. They would trust in his wisdom and no longer make war – peace will ensue. This peace would be the kind that allows people to sit in peace and comfort under one’s own vine and fig tree enjoying the fruit of their labors with none to make them afraid. Babylon ultimately results in confusion and strife, but the new Jerusalem would be peace for all nations.

Ultimately, Mount Zion being raised above all hills points to Jesus being raised above all other religious systems. Jesus is the true Mount Zion – the place of God’s presence. To him all nations stream for instruction that they might follows him in his ways and experience peace. There is a sense in which this is “now” in the conversion of the Jews and Gentiles in the church – and a sense in which it is “not yet” as we wait for the New Jerusalem to descend from heaven in a new earth. We must be careful to make sure that today we are streaming to Jesus to hear and learn his word.

The passage concludes by returning to Micah’s theme of a gracious and compassionate God who is a shepherd-king. Specifically, we are told that the Shepherd-King gathers the lame to himself – those who could not come of themselves. He also gathers those who were scattered (exiled) to even the most distant of land. The sheep are renewed and strengthen. Once again, the Shepherd is also the King. Jerusalem is compared to a tower from which the sheep are watched over by the shepherd. And yet just when we have gotten used to the idea that God is the Shepherd-King of Israel we are introduced to a ‘former dominion’, a ‘kingship’ that will be restored – implied is a human rule. This will be the theme of the next passage.