Micah 4:5
For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
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(5) For all people will walk.—The comparatively near future to Micah, and the still distant future to us, are blended in the prophet’s vision: just as in the prophecies of our Lord the destruction of Jerusalem is described in terms which have their final accomplishment in the day of judgment. Micah’s description of the universal rule of Messiah is primarily applicable to the antecedent prosperity, after the return of the Jews from the captivity. The zeal of the Jews for Jehovah was stirred up after witnessing the example of “the children of this world” in Babylon. The devotion of the Babylonian princes to their god is strikingly evident in the diaries of Nebuchadnezzar and other prophets, as lately brought to light in The Records of the Past. That zealous Society for a national return to the strictness of the Law of Moses at first distinguished and honoured by the name of Pharisees took its rise after the return from the captivity.



Micah 4:5

This is a statement of a general truth which holds good of all sorts of religion. ‘To walk’ is equivalent to carrying on a course of practical activity. ‘The name’ of a god is his manifested character. So the expression ‘Walk in the name’ means, to live and act according to, and with reference to, and in reliance on, the character of the worshipper’s god. In the Lord’s prayer the petition ‘Hallowed be Thy name’ precedes the petition ‘Thy will be done.’ From reverent thoughts about the name must flow life in reverent conformity to the will.

I. A man’s god is what rules his practical life.

Religion is dependence upon a Being recognised to be perfect and sovereign, whose will guides, and whose character moulds, the whole life. That general statement may be broken up into parts; and we may dwell upon the attitude of dependence, or of that of submission, or upon that of admiration and recognition of ideal perfection, or upon that of aspiration; but we come at last to the one thought-that the goal of religion is likeness and the truest worship is imitation. Such a view of the essence of religion gives point to the question, What is our god? and makes it a very easily applied, and very searching test, of our lives. Whatever we profess, that which we feel ourselves dependent on, that which we invest, erroneously or rightly, with supreme attributes of excellence, that which we aspire after as our highest good, that which shapes and orders the current of our lives, is our god. We call ourselves Christians. I am afraid that if we tried ourselves by such a test, many of us would fail to pass it. It would thin the ranks of all churches as effectually as did Gideon’s ordeal by water, which brought down a mob of ten thousand to a little steadfast band of three hundred. No matter to what church we belong, or how flaming our professions, our practical religion is determined by our answer to the question, What do we most desire? What do we most eagerly pursue? England has as much need as ever the house of Jacob had of the scathing words that poured like molten lead from the lips of Isaiah the son of Amoz, ‘Their land is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures. Their land is also full of idols: they worship the work of their own hands.’ Money, knowledge, the good opinion of our fellows, success in a political career-these, and the like, are our gods. There is a worse idolatry than that which bows down before stocks and stones. The aims that absorb us; our highest ideal of excellence; that which possessed, we think would secure our blessedness; that lacking which everything else is insipid and vain-these are our gods: and the solemn prohibition may well be thundered in the ears of the unconscious idolaters not only in the English world, but also in the English churches. ‘Thou shalt not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.’

II. The worshipper will resemble his god in character.

As we have already said, the goal of religion is likeness, and the truest worship is imitation. It is proved by the universal experience of humanity that the level of morality will never rise above the type enshrined in their gods; or if it does, in consequence of contact with a higher type in a higher religion, the old gods will be flung to the moles and the bats. ‘They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.’ That is a universal truth. The worshippers were in the Prophet’s thought as dumb and dead as the idols. They who ‘worship vanity’ inevitably ‘become vain.’ A Venus or a Jupiter, a Baal or an Ashtoreth, sets the tone of morals.

This truth is abundantly enforced by observation of the characters of the men amongst us who are practical idolaters. They are narrowed and lowered to correspond with their gods. Low ideals can never lead to lofty lives. The worship of money makes the complexion yellow, like jaundice. A man who concentrates his life’s effort upon some earthly good, the attainment of which seems to be, so long as it is unattained, his passport to bliss, thereby blunts many a finer aspiration, and makes himself blind to many a nobler vision. Men who are always hunting after some paltry and perishable earthly good, become like dogs who follow scent with their noses at the ground, and are unconscious of everything a yard above their heads. We who live amidst the rush of a great commercial community see many instances of lives stiffened, narrowed, impoverished, and hardened by the fierce effort to become rich. And wherever we look with adequate knowledge over the many idolatries of English life, we see similar processes at work on character. Everywhere around us ‘the peoples are walking every one in the name of his god.’ That character constitutes the worshipper’s ideal; it is a pattern to which he aims to be assimilated; it is a good the possession of which he thinks will make him blessed; it is that for which he willingly sacrifices much which a clearer vision would teach him is far more precious than that for which he is content to barter it.

The idolaters walking in the name of their god is a rebuke to the Christian men who with faltering steps and many an aberration are seeking to walk in the name of the Lord their God. If He is in any real and deep sense ‘our God,’ we shall see in Him the realised ideal of all excellence, the fountain of all our blessedness, the supreme good for our seeking hearts, the sovereign authority to sway our wills; the measure of our conscious possession of Him will be the measure of our glad imitation of Him, and our joyful spirits, enfranchised by the assurance of our loving possession of Him who is love, will hear Him ever whisper to us, ‘Be ye perfect as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ The desire to reproduce in the narrow bounds of our human spirits the infinite beauties of the Lord our God will give elevation to our lives, and dignity to our actions attainable from no other source. If we hallow His name, we shall do His will, and earth will become a foretaste of heaven.

III. The worshipper will resemble his god in fate.

We may observe that it is only of God’s people that Micah in our text applies the words ‘for ever and ever.’ ‘The peoples’’ worship perishes. They walk for a time in the name of their god, but what comes of it at last is veiled in silence. It is Jehovah’s worshippers who walk in His name for ever and ever, and of whom the great words are true, ‘Because I live ye shall live also.’ We may be sure of this that all the divine attributes are pledged for our immortality; we may be sure, too, that a soul which here follows in the footsteps of Jesus, which in its earthly life walked in the name of the Lord its God, will continue across the narrow bridge, and go onward ‘for ever and ever’ in direct progress in the same direction in which it began on earth. The imitation, which is the practical religion of every Christian, has for its only possible result the climax of likeness. The partial likeness is attained on earth by contemplation, by aspiration, and by effort; but it is perfected in the heavens by the perfect vision of His perfect face. ‘We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.’ Not till it has reached its goal can the Christian life begun here be conceived as ended. It shall never be said of any one who tried by God’s help to walk ‘in the name of the Lord’ that he was lost in the desert, and never reached his journey’s end. The peoples who walked in the name of any false god will find their path ending as on the edge of a precipice, or in an unfathomable bog; loss, and woe, and shame will be their portion. But ‘the name of the Lord is a strong tower,’ into which whoever will may run and be safe, and to walk in the name of the Lord is to walk on a way ‘that shall be called the Way of Holiness, whereon no ravenous beast shall go up, but the redeemed shall walk there,’ and all that are on it ‘shall come with singing to Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.’4:1-8 The nations have not yet so submitted to the Prince of Peace, as to beat their swords into ploughshares, nor has war ceased. But very precious promises these are, relating to the gospel church, which will be more and more fulfilled, for He is faithful that has promised. There shall be a glorious church for God set up in the world, in the last days, in the days of the Messiah. Christ himself will build it upon a rock. The Gentiles worshipped their idol gods; but in the period spoken of, the people will cleave to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and delight in doing his will. The word halteth, describes those who walk not according to the Divine word. The collecting the captives from Babylon was an earnest of healing, purifying, and prospering the church; and the reign of Christ shall continue till succeeded by the everlasting kingdom of heaven. Let us stir up each other to attend the ordinances of God, that we may learn his holy ways, and walk in them, receiving the law from his hands, which, being written in our hearts by his Spirit, may show our interest in the Redeemer's righteousness.For all people well walk, every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God - Hitherto unsteadfastness had been the very characteristic sin of Israel. It was , "constant only in its inconstancy," ever "falling away like their forefathers, starting aside like a broken bow" Psalm 78:57. The pagan persevered in their worship, because it was evil or had evil in it, not checking but feeding their passions. Israel did not persevere in his, because it required him to deny himself things unlawful. "Hath a nation changed their gods which are yet no gods? But My people have changed their glow for that which doth not profit" Jeremiah 2:11. Henceforth, the prophet professeth for his people, the true Israel, that he will be as steadfast in good, as the pagan in evil; so our Lord sets forth "the children of this world in their generation" Luke 16:8, as an example of wisdom to the children of light.

Cyril: "They who are eager to go up into the mountain of the Lord, and wish to learn thoroughly His ways, promise a ready obedience, and receive in themselves the glories of the life in Christ, and undertake with their whole strength to be earnest in all holiness. 'For let every one,' he saith, 'in every country and city go the way himself chooseth, and pass his life, as to him seemeth good; but our care is Christ, and His laws we will make our straight path; we will walk along with Him; and that not for this life only, present or past, but yet more for what is beyond' 2 Timothy 2:11-12; Romans 8:17; Revelation 3:4. It is a faithful saying. For they who now suffer with Him, shall walk with Him forever, and with Him be glorified, and with Him reign. But they make Christ their care, who prefer nothing to His love, who cease from the vain distractions of the world, and seek rather righteousness and what is pleasing unto Him, and to excell in virtue. Such an one was the divine Paul; for he writeth, "I am crucified with Christ; and now no longer I live, but Christ liveth in me" Galatians 2:20; and again, "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" 1 Corinthians 2:2.

To "walk" is so uniformly in Holy Scripture used of a person's moral or religious "ways" . p. 378, and above on Micah 2:11, p. 35. So again to walk with God, Genesis 5:22 or before God, Genesis 17:1 or contrary to God, Leviticus 26:21.) (as we say), that the prophet here too is doubtless speaking of the opposite religious ways of the pagan and of the future people of God. The "name" was often, in Hebrew, expressive of the character; and, in regard to God Himself, that Name which He vouchsafed to give to Himself , expressed His Self-existence, and, as a result, His Unchangeableness and His Faithfulness. The names, by which it was foretold that Christ should be called, express both His Deity and attributes ; the human Name, which He bare and vouchsafes to bear yet, was significant of His office for us, Saviour Matthew 1:21.

To praise "the Name of the Lord" then, is to praise Him in that character or relation which He has revealed to us. : "He 'walketh in the Name of the Lord,' who ordereth every act and motion worthily of the vocation wherewith he is called, and, "whether he eateth or drinketh, doth all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31" this promise hath its own reward; for it is "forever and ever." They who "walk in the Name of the Lord," shall "walk before Him in, the land of the living, forever and ever" Psalm 116:9. Such walk on, with quickened steps, lingering not, "in the Name of the Lord our God," that is, doing all things in His Name, as His great Name requires, conformed to the holiness and all other qualities which His Name expresseth. "For ever and ever, literally forever and yet, or, more strictly still, for that which is hidden and yet," which is the utmost thought of eternity we can come to. Time indeed has no relation to eternity; for time, being God's creature, is infinite. Still, practically to us, our nearest conception of eternity, is existence, on and on and on, an endless, unchanging, ever-prolonged future, lost in distance and hidden from us, and then, and yet, an ever-to-come yet, which shalt never come to an end. Well then may we not faint, as tho' it were long to toil or to do without this or that, since the part of our way which lies amid toils and weariness is so short, and will soon be at an end; what lies beyond, in joy, is infinite in infinite joy, ever full and still ever a yet to come.

The prophet says, "we will walk;" , "uniting himself in longing, hope, faith, to the sons of the New Testament, that is, Christians, as his brethren, re-born by the grace of the same Christ;" , "ministers of the Old, heirs of the New Testament, because they loved through that same faith whereby we love; believing in the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection of Christ yet to be, as we believe in it, having been."

5. For—rather, Though it be that all people walk after their several gods, yet we (the Jews in the dispersion) will walk in the name of the Lord. So the Hebrew particle means in the Margin, Ge 8:21; Ex 13:17; Jos 17:18. The resolution of the exile Jews is: As Jehovah gives us hope of so glorious a restoration, notwithstanding the overthrow of our temple and nation, we must in confident reliance on His promise persevere in the true worship of Him, however the nations around, our superiors now in strength and numbers, walk after their gods [Rosenmuller]. As the Jews were thoroughly weaned from idols by the Babylonian captivity, so they shall be completely cured of unbelief by their present long dispersion (Zec 10:8-12). For: this is either a reason why they should be so safe, or else.a declaration of their resolution to take this course, that it may be so with them, and so the Hebrew particle may certainly be rendered.

All people will walk every one in the name of his god; it is a received rule that they ought, and it is a constant practice with the nations, they will pray to, depend on, and serve their gods, and think by this course to receive their expected blessings; they are constant to their gods, Jeremiah 2:11.

We will walk in the name of the Lord our God; seek the Lord, embrace his law and worship, wait on him as the Fountain and Giver of all good: as he is the Lord who can give us vines and fig trees, and can give us safety under them; as he is our God, and engaged by promise to do all this for us; in his name we will walk, and so shall we be safe and enjoy all good from him; we will have no other lovers, nor go after them, though we. have done so, Hosea 2:6,7. This was in letter and in part fulfilled, when upon their return out of captivity they did abandon all false gods, and worshipped God alone. And it is fulfilled more eminently in all the Israel of God, who turn from dumb idols to serve the living and true God.

For ever and ever; unchangeably, through the succession of ages, among the restored Jews and the redeemed Gentiles. For all people will walk everyone in the name of his god,.... Till those times come before described; when many nations and people shall flock to the church, and there shall be such general peace and tranquillity as here promised; till then the nations of the earth shall retain their former religion, and the profession of it, with constancy, till they are otherwise instructed, as Aben Ezra; or till the Messiah shall turn them into the right way, as Kimchi; till that time comes, the Pagans will worship their idols, and continue in the idolatry of their ancestors; the Papists will retain their image worship, and hold to their lord god the pope, as they call him; the Mahometans will cleave to their prophet, and walk according to the rules he has left them to observe. Jarchi's note is,

"they shall go to destruction because of their idolatry;''

with which he says the Targum agrees, which is,

"all nations shall go according to the idols they have worshipped;''

or, as the king of Spain's Bible,

"they shall be guilty or condemned because they have worshipped idols:''

and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever; both in the mean while, and when those happy times shall come, and so through all generations as long as the world stands. This is the language of those that know the Lord, believe in him, and sincerely serve him; who determine in the strength of divine grace to continue in their profession of faith of him, in his worship and service, in his ways, truths, and ordinances, whatever others, do; and indeed are the more animated to it, when they observe how constant and steadfast idolaters, Pagans, Papists, and Mahometans, are in their false worship, both in the profession and practice of it. The Targum is,

"we will trust in the Word of the Lord our God for ever and ever;''

in Christ the essential Word; and so the phrase is expressive of faith, and a profession of faith in him; and of constant attendance upon his word and ordinances.

For all people will walk {g} every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.

(g) He shows that the people of God ought to remain constant in their religion, even if all the world should give themselves to their superstition and idolatry.

5. Transition. For all people will walk …] Rather, For all peoples walk, &c. The ideal time described in Micah 4:1-4 is still far distant. ‘The nations abroad all worship gods of their own; let us therefore all the more steadily walk in the name of our God.’ The ‘name’ of God is that side of His nature which can be revealed to man (sometimes spoken of, even in the Old Testament, as a Divine Person, e. g. Isaiah 30:27; Isaiah 59:19); and to walk in this name means to live in mystic union with God as He has revealed Himself, and under His protection. ‘To walk for ever and ever’ is opposed to the temporary ‘walking’ of the idolaters. ‘The everlasting God’ (Isaiah 40:28) confers the attribute of everlastingness on His people.’ Comp. Isaiah 45:16-17 (contrast between the destruction of the idolaters and the ‘everlasting salvation’ of Israel).Verse 5. - This verse gives the reason why Israel is thus strong and safe. In the parallel passage in Isaiah (Isaiah 2:5) it is converted into an injunction to the house of Jacob. All people will walk; rather, all nations walk. Everyone in the name of his god. "To walk" is generally used of moral and religious habits (e.g. 2 Chronicles 17:4; Psalm 89:31; Ezekiel 5:6, etc.); so here the meaning is that all other nations adhere to their false gods, and frame their life and conduct relying on the power and protection of these inanities, and, by implication, shall find their hope deceived. And we will walk in the name of the Lord our God. This is the secret of Israel's strength. The heathen can never prevail against the true believers who put their whole trust in the Lord, and live in union with him. By saying we, the prophet identifies himself with the faithful people. Forever and ever. The Church shall never fail. Heathen powers last for a time; the kingdom of Messiah is everlasting. The king appears to have commenced no proceedings against the prophet in consequence of this denunciation, probably because he did not regard the affair as one of so much danger. Amaziah therefore endeavours to persuade the prophet to leave the country. "Seer, go, and flee into the land of Judah." בּרח־לך, i.e., withdraw thyself by flight from the punishment which threatens thee. "There eat thy bread, and there mayst thou prophesy:" i.e., in Judah thou mayst earn thy bread by prophesying without any interruption. It is evident from the answer given by Amos in Amos 7:14, that this is the meaning of the words: "But in Bethel thou shalt no longer prophesy, for it is a king's sanctuary (i.e., a sanctuary founded by the king; 1 Kings 12:28), and bēth mamlâkhâh," house of the kingdom, i.e., a royal capital (cf. 1 Samuel 27:5), - namely, as being the principal seat of the worship which the king has established for his kingdom. There no one could be allowed to prophesy against the king.
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