Micah and the Coming Kingdom

This week I led a group in the study of the minor prophet Micah. Several major themes struck me in preparing for and leading this study, but one in particular has been reverberating over the last few weeks. In the midst of internet voices screaming about chicken, homosexual marriage, sex, marriage, civil rights and the oppression of women in the Church, this little book has been quietly whispering to me about the coming kingdom. Chapter 4 describes what the world will look like “in the last days,” a time that often refers to the second time Jesus will come to earth (the first being His birth two thousand years ago). Without breaking all of that down, the first six verses paint a breathtaking picture of what human life will look like when all things are finally set right and the world is healed from all the ravaging of sin.

People will want to live in a right way, free from sin. Things like deceit and abuse, violence and oppression, hatred and disloyalty, will be a thing of the past. We will travel together to meet with God and learn His ways, sit under the tutelage of a holy Jesus and be taught the best, right way to live.

We will fully worship, because we will fully know God. No more misunderstanding or argument or division about who He is, what He requires, or how to honor Him. All of us hold things to be true about the character of God that are not in fact true. We all need a greater, truer revelation of Him. The day will come when that is no longer an issue; we will know Him. And in that knowing we can fully give ourselves to worshiping Him rightly and in unity.

There will be justice for all. No more bribes, no more corruption, no more economic divide when it comes to justice. Oppression will cease. Extortion will cease. The voiceless will be heard, the invisible seen, the proud humbled, the powerful reduced to one human being among equals. Truth will be beyond debate because the source of all Truth will be among us.

All will be welcome and embraced. The new kingdom is one of absolute inclusion. All gender, age, race, ethnic, physical ability, mental capacity, emotional stability issues will be gone. All the things that make me uniquely me will still be true: I’ll still be a white female with INFJ tendencies and a love for words. But none of this will come between us. I’ll be neither better nor worse than a man, a Middle Easterner, a Muslim Christian, or an ESTP.

We will all be pacifists. “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.” When we are all included, we are all equal, and Truth Himself is among us, what reason would there be to fight? Tools of violence will be converted to tools of cultivation, nurture, and life.

It will be a time of provision and security. Each will have what is needed to live a full life. “Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid.” Vines and figs are symbols of long-term and self-sustaining provision. We won’t sit under the shade of our piles of money, or clothes, or toys. We will have what we need to be sustained, to enjoy life, and to rest without fear of lack or attack.

Humanity will be healed and redeemed. Every wound, every injury, every hurt will be treated with the balm of Gilead. No scars or reminders of past pain. And at the source of each wound will spring forth something beautiful, alive, and life-giving. This is what it means to be redeemed. Every single attempt of evil to hurt or scar will be not only thwarted but transformed into a thing of grace and creation.

Right living and worship. Justice and inclusion. Provision and security. Peace. Healing and redemption. These words describe a time that is yet to come. But Jesus also said His kingdom was among us, within us. If we are commissioned by Him to begin the establishment of His kingdom here and now, and if this is what His kingdom looks like, then it stands to reason that we can begin to live out this picture today. What if, instead of screaming at each other about who can marry whom, we sought to heal the wounds of sexual sin caused by the oppression of women and the over-sexualization of humanity as a whole? What if, instead of voting for a particular party and demonizing the other and seeing that as the fulfillment of our civic duty, Christians created churches that care for the poor and marginalized and rejected and forgotten in their cities? What if, instead of talking every news story to death, our first response was to invite God into the conversation, gather together, and pray for our nation? Sharing out of our plenty rather than hoarding for “a rainy day,” embracing without reservation and without discrimination, sitting at the feet of Jesus to learn how to live in His world, choosing a third alternative to fight of flight when conflict arises – these are the marks of the Coming Kingdom. May we help each other along as we seek to live as citizens of this heavenly kingdom.

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