He shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace.—Micah 5:4–5
A Deeper Peace
“He shall be great to the ends of the earth,” Micah prophesies. There will be no pockets of resistance unsubdued. Our security will not be threatened by any alien forces. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess him Lord. The whole earth will be filled with his glory.
And “he will be our peace.” Yes, in this context that includes final, earthly, political peace. Micah spoke of it already in Micah 4:3:
He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and 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 anymore.
One day the ruler—the King of kings and Lord of lords—will return and make that a reality. The great Christmas carol will finally be fulfilled:
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness
And wonders of his love.
But there is another, deeper peace—a peace that must happen before there can be peace on earth. There must be peace between us and God. Our unbelief and his wrath must be removed. That is our deepest peace—and our deepest need at Christmas.
Micah knew it was coming. He had experienced it personally (Mic. 7:8–9). He describes it beautifully at the very end of his book, in Micah 7:18–19:
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love.
He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.
There must be peace between us and God.
This was the great work of the Messiah yet to be done. Yes, there are enemies on earth that must be defeated if we are to have peace. But, oh, the great enemy called sin and judgment— that is the greatest and worst enemy. The gospel at Christmas is: Christ has trampled this enemy underfoot at the cross. So for everyone who trusts in him, their sins are cast into the depths of the sea.
Therefore, we say not, “Glory to us,” but, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
This article is adapted from The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper.
The Advent story is a hope story because it chronicles the coming to earth of the One who is hope, Jesus.
Celebrate the beginning of Advent season by reading these passages either on your own, with a friend, or with your family.
How do you pray to prepare for Advent season?
Although we cannot bequeath God to our children, we can help them know him and understand him in ways that prepare them to believe in his name.