The Philistines had always been a rival to the Israelites. Now, they, too, were caught in between the powers of Babylon and Egypt. The exact date of Egypt’s attack spoken of here is not known, but it’s clear God was going to destroy the Philistines, too. I was curious to note that the prophecy’s destruction seemed to be from the north whereas Egypt is on the southern border of the region.
Scholars have looked at how God’s prophecies speak of a major transformation in world power. We can’t help but ask what was God’s purpose in all of this? Wasn’t he simply angry at his own people for falling away and refusing to listen to him? No reason was given as to why the Philistines would suffer in this manner.
We first met Baruch in Chapter 36 when Jeremiah called for him to be the scribe to write down all of God’s messages. We also know that he and Jeremiah were both taken to Egypt, most probably against their wishes. Both Jeremiah and Baruch seemed to be in touch with God’s view of the situation, wanting to be obedient to the one true God.
Having received this message from the Lord long before the trek to Egypt would suggest multiple applications. Baruch, and possibly Jeremiah, would have had a shimmer of hope as they were facing a new life in Egypt (from our last reading). This promise probably also sustained Baruch when he spoke in Jeremiah’s place. God protected them then as well. I don’t think God’s promises have expiration dates.
Because we’re getting nearer and nearer to celebrating Christmas, that means the Advent season is drawing to a close for another year. What are some of your favorite ways to “get ready” for (1) the birth of Jesus and (2) Jesus’ return? Advent is that perfect time to reflect on both since there is a lot to do to “be prepared.”
Today’s reading puts us in that second focus of preparation. Micah speaks of the last days so we can get a picture of what that will look like. What are some of the images we have to look forward to? We see people coming together in one accord seeking more of Jesus. We see God resolving our disputes and bringing peace. An attitude of fear will have no place in those days.
Look around your community. Do you see big houses in one area and smaller, run-down ones in another area? We do see that clear division between people based on their economic standing. God’s love and mercy is available for all, the rich and the poor!
Where’s the wealth? Paul suggests we are wealthy simply by being believers who will inherit the kingdom. “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.” Ponder that verse for just a moment. You may need to put aside your current financial needs for just a moment lest they interfere with your feeling the enormous blessing you have as a follower of Jesus. Great wealth indeed!
Here’s the “out” for the royal family. If only the king had heard this simple message of how the wrongs could be made right. “Give justice each morning to the people you judge! Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors.” I can just imagine the abuse of the hierarchy that was happening at the time Jeremiah spoke these words.
No matter when God was delivering this message, he wanted the leaders of his people to be just. The temptation to abuse the power given to them goes without saying. We see how powerful people in our day take advantage of those less fortunate. It’s almost despicable that such social order chasms still exist.