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SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:

Micah 4:1-5:15

4:1 In the future the Lord’s Temple Mount will be the most important mountain of all;

it will be more prominent than other hills.

People will stream to it.

2 Many nations will come, saying,

“Come on! Let’s go up to the Lord’s mountain,

to the temple of Jacob’s God,

so he can teach us his ways

and we can live by his laws.”

For instruction will proceed from Zion,

the Lord’s message from Jerusalem.

3 He will arbitrate between many peoples

and settle disputes between many distant nations.

They will beat their swords into plowshares,

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nations will not use weapons against other nations,

and they will no longer train for war.

4 Each will sit under his own grapevine

or under his own fig tree without any fear.

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has decreed it.

5 Though all the nations follow their respective gods,

we will follow the Lord our God forever.

6 “In that day,” says the Lord, “I will gather the lame,

and assemble the outcasts whom I injured.

7 I will transform the lame into the nucleus of a new nation,

and those far off into a mighty nation.

The Lord will reign over them on Mount Zion,

from that day forward and forevermore.”

8 As for you, watchtower for the flock,

fortress of Daughter Zion –

your former dominion will be restored,

the sovereignty that belongs to Daughter Jerusalem.

9 Jerusalem, why are you now shouting so loudly?

Has your king disappeared?

Has your wise leader been destroyed?

Is this why pain grips you as if you were a woman in labor?

10 Twist and strain, Daughter Zion, as if you were in labor!

For you will leave the city

and live in the open field.

You will go to Babylon,

but there you will be rescued.

There the Lord will deliver you

from the power of your enemies.

11 Many nations have now assembled against you.

They say, “Jerusalem must be desecrated,

so we can gloat over Zion!”

12 But they do not know what the Lord is planning;

they do not understand his strategy.

He has gathered them like stalks of grain to be threshed at the threshing floor.

13 “Get up and thresh, Daughter Zion!

For I will give you iron horns;

I will give you bronze hooves,

and you will crush many nations.”

You will devote to the Lord the spoils you take from them,

and dedicate their wealth to the sovereign Ruler of the whole earth.

5:1 (4:14) But now slash yourself, daughter surrounded by soldiers!

We are besieged!

With a scepter they strike Israel’s ruler

on the side of his face.

2 (5:1) As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

seemingly insignificant among the clans of Judah –

from you a king will emerge who will rule over Israel on my behalf,

one whose origins are in the distant past.

3 So the Lord will hand the people of Israel over to their enemies

until the time when the woman in labor gives birth.

Then the rest of the king’s countrymen will return

to be reunited with the people of Israel.

4 He will assume his post and shepherd the people by the Lord’s strength,

by the sovereign authority of the Lord his God.

They will live securely, for at that time he will be honored

even in the distant regions of the earth.

5 He will give us peace.

Should the Assyrians try to invade our land

and attempt to set foot in our fortresses,

we will send against them seven shepherd-rulers,

make that eight commanders.

6 They will rule the land of Assyria with the sword,

the land of Nimrod with a drawn sword.

Our king will rescue us from the Assyrians

should they attempt to invade our land

and try to set foot in our territory.

7 Those survivors from Jacob will live

in the midst of many nations.

They will be like the dew the Lord sends,

like the rain on the grass,

that does not hope for men to come

or wait around for humans to arrive.

8 Those survivors from Jacob will live among the nations,

in the midst of many peoples.

They will be like a lion among the animals of the forest,

like a young lion among the flocks of sheep,

which attacks when it passes through;

it rips its prey and there is no one to stop it.

9 Lift your hand triumphantly against your adversaries;

may all your enemies be destroyed!

10 “In that day,” says the Lord,

“I will destroy your horses from your midst,

and smash your chariots.

11 I will destroy the cities of your land,

and tear down all your fortresses.

12 I will remove the sorcery that you practice,

and you will no longer have omen readers living among you.

13 I will remove your idols and sacred pillars from your midst;

you will no longer worship what your own hands made.

14 I will uproot your images of Asherah from your midst,

and destroy your idols.

15 With furious anger I will carry out vengeance

on the nations that do not obey me.”