DECEMBER 15: The unavoidable price of peace.
When Micah, Jewish spiritual voice living approximately 700 years before Jesus, spoke of God’s big, upcoming peace plan, he was speaking at a time when only the powerful were experiencing peace.
Like so many generations before and since, the privileged, powerful and strong often secure a kind of peace that intimidates or manipulates everyone submit…or else.
In contrast, Micah predicts that God’s peace won’t press down from the top, but start so small that no one (but the prideful or powerful) would be afraid of it.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”*
Bethlehem was a tiny village, but it’s where David was from—the dearly loved King that, oddly, wasn’t what the people were looking for.
But this new Leader of Peace, though found in the same, small place, has an even greater pedigree. He will be “from of old” or, more literally translated, “from eternity”. God Himself will show up…in our backyard.
His small start should tell us that everyone can be included. But we must not make the mistake of thinking everyone can be in charge.
“He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD…”*
We know wars are often the result of the abuse of power. It’s tempting, therefore, to think peace will be the removal of power. But believing we must take charge of our own lives is one of our greatest obstacles to real peace.
Yes, we have been led to war. We have been led to division. But, somebody has to lead us to peace.
Someone has to have a vision that unites everyone who adheres to it. The vision that peace is about respecting differences is an ultimate vision that only creates peace if you pledge allegiance to it.
That’s the most uncomfortable part of peace. Peace requires submission.
Micah said a ruler will bring peace. Isaiah called him the Prince of peace.
When Jesus said, “Love God with everything you are and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself”, it wasn’t a pep talk. It was a command. When Jesus spoke of peace, it wasn’t a suggestion. It was a command. It was something to be…obeyed.
You don’t have to obey Jesus today. You just won’t experience whatever peace he promises without it.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
“PeaceMaker, I will want to rule my own life today. I will want to believe that my plans are best and my future is what I make it. Disarm me so I may trust you. Help me trust you so I may follow You. Let me follow you so I can have the peace you want for my life.”
*The writings of Hebrew prophet, Micah, chapter 5, verses 2 and 4