Israel longed for the promise of being made whole again after their internal corruption had ripped them asunder. Micah brought this promise to them but also reminded them that they must remain in the crucible a bit longer in order to reach the necessary purity.
I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel.
I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. (v 2:12)
No matter what our personal situation may reflect now, the anticipation of the birth of Jesus kindles hope within us of a personal restoration. His gift of the Holy Spirit can gather our fractured souls together and restore us to what God had intended for us to be. We won’t be perfect, not in this lifetime but when we are all gathered home. . . that is a gift worth receiving.
Our thoughts in this season must move beyond this personal gift and extend it to others. When we become a part of a single body we move together as the representative of the Savior on earth. We become this face of restoration as we bind up the broken and invite them into the sheepfold to enjoy the love of their Restorer.
The season of anticipation is upon us beginning today. The liturgical year begins anew with the first week in Advent. The break with the old year and everything that may have accumulated during the period is marked with a return to looking forward with a positive sense. Christians look from within the kingdom to the new heavens and new earth to be ushered in by the Lord. For now, we prayerfully look to the record of His coming and to those who pointed the way.
Isaiah often takes center stage in the readings but this year I’d like to turn to his contemporary, Micah. The prophet compresses the cycles of travail and hope and points the way to the coming King.
In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it.
2 Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Mic 4:1-2)
Living in the kingdom after the Messiah has come gives our anticipation a similar focal point. The Spirit guides our prayers in the now but not yet kingdom of God which we inhabit and serve. We too look forward to a peace that can only be realized as the worship of God floods the world and replaces our brokenness with wholeness.