Monday after the Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Micah 4:9—5:1 (NKJV)
4:1 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; And peoples shall flow to it.
2 Many nations shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3 He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; 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.
4 But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
5 For all people walk each in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.
6 “In that day,” says the LORD, “I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast and those whom I have afflicted;
7 “I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation; So the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever.
8 “And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.”
9 Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in your midst? Has your counselor perished? For pangs have seized you like a woman in labor.
10 Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in birth pangs. For now you shall go forth from the city, you shall dwell in the field, and to Babylon you shall go. There you shall be delivered; There the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies.
11 Now also many nations have gathered against you, who say, “Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.”
12 But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, nor do they understand His counsel; For He will gather them like sheaves to the threshing floor.
13 “Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion; For I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hooves bronze; You shall beat in pieces many peoples; I will consecrate their gain to the LORD, and their substance to the Lord of the whole earth.”
5:1 Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops; He has laid siege against us; They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek.
As Micah had prophesied (in chapters 1-3), the very leaders whom God appointed to administer justice, to teach and to preach His Word faithfully are abusing their authority for personal gain. The Prophet laments in seeing visions of judgment as the Babylonians and Assyrians arrive as instruments of the Lord’s wrath. The remnant of believers are among those who are oppressed.
It is not surprising that leaders, whom God put into place abuse their authority. All of mankind is conceived in sin. Anyone put in high positions of authority would certainly be tempted to abuse it. As Luther explains in the Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, this is why God brings us to pray against ourselves, for His will to be done. We confess: “God’s will is done when He break and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want to hallow God’s Name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in his Word and faith until we die.”
The devil, the world and our sinful flesh, however, scowl fierce on this side of glory. Abuse of authority happens, and God’s people will be subject to its abuse; sometimes being severe oppression. Amidst the on-going suffering of this fallen world God gives His believing/baptized people hope as He keeps us fixed upon Jesus Christ and His fully atoning merits! As Micah words exhort: “There you shall be delivered; there the LORD will redeem you from the hands of your enemies.” (v. 10) As we receive His Word and Sacraments—right in the midst of our suffering—we shall be delivered—by grace alone, because of the merits of Christ alone, through faith alone!
We pray: 1 I cry out to the LORD with my voice; With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication. 2 I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble. 3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk they have secretly set a snare for me. 4 Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul. 5 I cried out to You, O LORD: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. 6 Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I. 7 Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, for You shall deal bountifully with me.” Psalm 142