“But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.”Micah 4:4
Most of us don’t read poetry on the daily. Most of what we read as adults is either straight-forward, informative content or narrative stories (whether fiction or nonfiction). We don’t usually operate in the artistic mindset that poetry speaks to, so when we come to a passage of poetry in the Bible, we’re left confused.
In the book of Micah, the prophet had just rebuked the leaders and prophets of Israel for “selling out” false teachings and prophecies for personal gain (Micah 3 is quite a scolding!). God declares through Micah that because of their unjust leadership, Jerusalem and the temple would be reduced to a heap of rubble overgrown by thorns (Micah 3:12).
It is on the heels of this scathing indictment that God declares that His temple will not be destroyed forever. Despite the wickedness of the current leadership, God declares in Micah 4 that He will still impact the world. Micah describes the scene through vivid poetic imagery — his temple will be re-established on a high hill and all the nations of the earth will stream to it, seeking God’s will and His ways. His counsel will bring so much peace between nations that they’ll have no more use for weapons or war, and they will be able to sit under their own vines and fig trees in peace.
A mistake we often make when reading poetry is to take the words literally. Poetry is meant to engage the senses and evoke an emotional response. Instead of picturing a literal temple on a hill and literal fig trees, pay attention to the emotions that Micah 4:1-5 evoke in yourself and see the meaning behind the metaphor — God brings peace.
When Jesus died and rose again, He established the Kingdom of God. And as the Gospel has spread, we’ve begun to see this prophecy come true in part. Nations (people groups) have begun streaming to God, seeking His will and His ways. Those who recognize God’s reign in their lives are given “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). And while wars and weapons are still prevalent today, we look forward to the return of Christ that will fulfill the rest of this prophecy and bring full peace to the world.
God, thank you for being in control. Thank you for sending your Son to live the life I couldn’t live, die the death I deserved, and raise to life to defeat death and sin forever. Thank you for the peace you give me, and I ask you to draw more people from every nation to yourself so they can experience your peace too. Amen.