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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, March 29, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Micah 4:3–5; 5:1–5

He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. For all the peoples walk, each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.

Now you are walled around with a wall; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the ruler of Israel upon the cheek. But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. 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. If the Assyrians come into our land and tread upon our soil, we will raise against them seven shepherds and eight installed as rulers. (NRSV)

I am by no means a biblical scholar, so a little research revealed to me that Micah was a prophet, (and a contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea), who prophesied during the years surrounding the fall of Israel to the Assyrian Empire (722 BC).

The book of Micah most significantly foretells Christ’s birth in Bethlehem and depicts for the reader a beautiful, peaceful, and secure future under the reign of the Prince of Peace. A future kingdom—which scholars call “The Millennial Kingdom”—within which nations peacefully coexist as followers of Christ.

Within Micah’s verses, God’s people are promised future peace and security, resting under the shade of their own fig tree even while their walls are under siege.

Fast forward to present day twenty-first century and we find ourselves still grappling with walls, both literal and figurative! Physical walls, social barriers, being “apart” from one another.

But, as Micah foretells, then Jesus comes, and in choosing to follow our Christ, we are all set free, to live amidst one another in peace and harmony, delivered from fear.

Jesus the Christ is the great unifier. Our choice to follow Christ binds us to one another and transcends our differences. In and through Christ, we are compassionate, tolerant and loving people.

Loving Creator God, thank you for sending us Jesus who, then and now, leads by example and teaches us how to love and care for one another. Forgive my missteps when I lose sight of what your grace and salvation mean for me. Remind me that you are always holding me, safe and secure, freeing me to live joyfully and with unique, intentional purpose. In my walk of faith, help me to reflect Christ’s light and love to all living beings. Amen.

Written by Holly O’ Mara, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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