But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
A very peculiar use is made of missions in our text. The heathen are surveyed, not as abandoning their falsehood and superstition, but as adhering to them with the greatest earnestness and tenacity. False gods they have, but they refuse to forsake them; dark and oppressive is their service, but they will not abandon it. And from this steadfastness of the heathen the argument is drawn for making the resolve, "and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever," as though it had been urged: If the pagan adhere to what is false, shall we forsake what is true? If he serve his idols with constancy, inexcusable must we be if we turn aside from the Lord our God.
I. What the missionary ascertains is, not that idolaters refuse to add to the number of their idols, but only that they will not exchange their idols. If they admit new, they nevertheless adhere to the old. Shall the pagan adhere to his idols, because they were the idols of his fathers?—and shall we virtually revolt from that God whom our ancestors served, and whose truth, though at the cost of substance and life, they handed down to us as the most precious possession? Shall the pagan hold that his idols are the tutelary deities of the land, and therefore not to be forsaken; and shall we turn away from that Almighty Being, who hath mercifully spread over our land the shield of His protection, or kept us within the hollow of His hand.
II. Far-off islands preach to us. The vast districts of the earth, which are yet darkened by superstition, assume the office of counsellors. Cities where the Cross of Christ has no place; mountains whose summits are yet altars to the stars, forests whose recesses shroud lying vanities; rivers whose waters are thought to wash away sin,—all these combine to give forth an utterance which chides the wavering, rebukes the unstable, and warns the indifferent. The heathen are not to be persuaded to forsake what is cruel, and oppressive, and galling; whereas we scarcely need persuasion to induce us to forsake what "hath the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." They observe with all vigour what is stern and revolting, and we too often treat with all carelessness what is as gracious as it is glorious. Let us take a lesson from idolatry, and be shamed by it into zeal for our religion and faithfulness to our God. There are other spectators of our course besides angels, other witnesses than the noble army of martyrs. The millions of China look on; the untold tribes of Africa take the post of observation; the broad Pacific bears upon its bosom a multitude of watchers, and if we fall away from the faith, a cry shall be heard from heathen lands, a cry against which there will be no appeal.
H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1,704.
References: Micah 4:1.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. v., No. 249. Micah 4:2.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xvi., p. 222. Micah 4:3, Micah 4:4.—G. Carlyle, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxii., p. 213. Micah 4:9.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 13. Micah 5:1.—G. Lewis, Pulpit Analyst, vol. i., p. 318. Micah 5:2.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii., No. 57; Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 58; Preacher's Monthly, vol. x., p. 328. Micah 5:4.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x., No. 560; Ibid., Morning by Morning, p. 232. Micah 5:4, Micah 5:5.—Archbishop Benson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiv., p. 225. Micah 5:6-8.—Pulpit Analyst, vol. iii., p. 652. Micah 5:7.—W. Lindsay Alexander, Christian World Pulpit, vol. i., p. 248. Micah 6:2.—R. W. Evans, Parochial Sermons, vol. iii., p. 112. Micah 6:2, Micah 6:3.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xvii., p. 225. Micah 6:3.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes to Malachi, p. 342; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 167; R. W. Evans, Parochial Sermons, p. 103. Micah 6:3-8.—A. P. Stanley, Christian World Pulpit, vol. x., p. 289; Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 299. Micah 6:6, Micah 6:7.—J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes, 2nd series, p. 50.
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
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.
In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;
And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.
And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counseller perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.
Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.
Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.
But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.
Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.