A Study of Micah 4:5
“For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the Name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.”
The first three chapters in this prophecy are occupied by God in solemn declarations of the iniquities of Jacob and threatenings. Whenever God will show mercy He puts sin first. Sooner or later every one to whom life and grace come will know what the hell of sin is and what is deserved. To talk about religion and leave out the knowledge of sin is to talk vanity. If God will show mercy to us we shall know sooner or later what we deserve under the law which we have broken, and so Zion, that had had God’s favour, shall be as a plowed field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, as the high places of the forest (Micah 3:12). Who would think naturally that the next word that God would utter by this prophet should be a declaration of the most glorious
manifestations of divine grace and love? So it is. “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.” (Micah 4:1)
This is to be taken figuratively, spiritually, above all human conceptions, all good works, all natural ideas of what is right, of what God will do, what God is. The house of the LORD, that is the grace of God in building an assembly for Himself, shall be above them all. No natural idea of what God is and what will please God can enter into the constitution of His assembly. Singular is the word I read just now. I, John, saw holy Jerusalem coming down from heaven, coming from God. (Revelation 21). If our religion is right that is how we got it. It came down from God. A wonderful thing that, and a glorious thing that. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
They all come down from Him. Sin is from hell, sin is in the earth, sin rises against God. Grace comes from heaven, grace works heavenly feelings, gives heavenly knowledge, and brings the subjects of it, sooner or later, to heaven. And this house of the LORD exalted so gloriously is an attraction to some. “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:2)
Gospel days are here announced. Gospel days have been enjoyed ever since that wonderful day of Pentecost and will be more or less distinctly in the earth till the end comes. There is to some an attraction in the Holy Scriptures, in the church of God, in Himself, who has laid the foundation, who is the foundation, who is the builder, who is the building, the habitation for God. And these nations, some of all nations and kindreds and tongues and people shall say each to the other “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the house of the LORD”. There are communications between people to whom God has come by His Spirit and grace and they say each to the other “Come.” Moses said to his father in law, come with us, and what good God shows to us you shall partake of. And there is that kind of inward communion and external communications among the people of God. “Come and let us go up to the mountain”. To go up a mountain is not easy; there are difficulties in religion, solemn difficulties in religion. If you have grace you need not that I should say that to you, you understand them in their nature. Vile reason, a beast that must be slain, as Luther says, corruptions dreadful, devil powerful. These more or less distinctly oppose the climb up to the mountain. You will not find the way to heaven easy, but you will find it safe, and sometimes you will get into one of those arbours of which the pilgrim speaks, and there you will rest and be refreshed. O the greatness of grace, the glory of grace, drawing the sinner. “I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love” (Hosea 11:4). Christ’s bands and cords cast around you will draw you to Himself and up to His house. O the greatness of grace. It is ineffable really and yet the LORD does give His word to His people to speak one to another. “Come”. Cannot you say, at times, to this friend and that, now let us go to prayer, let us seek the LORD in His Word, let us go to the prayer meeting, let us go where we believe His people are. There is an attraction, and this mountain becomes the object of desire. O, whatever difficulties there are, let us go up to it, God is there. Is He the desire of our souls? God is there. Do you desire Him? “He will teach us of His ways”. Ah, wise men, in their own conceit can easily despise those poor creatures who say, we do not know God, we wish we did. We want to know Him. These say, O will He teach us, will He condescend to teach us. And your heart begins to move sometimes, will God teach me, a proud, wicked, corrupt, lost creature? Will He teach me? Then you bend the knee of your heart. If you are engaged in your daily duties, you kneel before Him. “Open Thou mine eyes” is your prayer, “that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law”. And that word “Open Thou mine eyes”, in the marginal reading is “reveal to mine eyes” . What is revealed here must be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. He will teach us that we are lost, that we may lose our lives. He will teach us how we are saved, even by grace. “He will teach us of His ways,” ways of believing, of praying, of hoping, of confessing, of going before Him in matters that He alone is able to deal with. Is this what you want, that God should teach you? Proud men, and who is not proud, proud men despise this, but grace humbles them and they say “That which we see not teach Thou us”. His law is a beautiful law. “We will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem”. There is a word from Sinai, which terrifies and kills. The word from Jerusalem is the word of salvation and this is sent to sinners, sent to sinners. Why do I emphasise this so? Because I am a sinner, I know I am, I am a sinner. There is only one man I would never contradict in regard of being “chief” and that man is the Apostle Paul. Some of you think you are bigger than Paul in sin but you are not and here let me, by the way, speak this to you. If you say you are a greater sinner than the Apostle Paul, you hurt the Scriptures, you break a pattern. How? That in me, says Paul, who of sinners I am chief, that in me He might show forth a pattern of all longsuffering. So if you say you are a greater sinner than the Apostle Paul you destroy the pattern, and God has given a pattern in the Apostle to help us in our convictions. He shall judge many many people. When the Spirit of Christ is sent He judges sinners. “He shall convince the world of sin”, of unbelief . You think of it. Have you been the subjects of that? This is His work to come and judge. “The Spirit of judgment” as the prophet Isaiah says, “The Spirit of burning and of judgment”. Burning conviction, burning into your conscience a knowledge of your sins, and of judgment, whereby you say, God is clear when He speaks against me. He is righteous in His judgment. And yet these people are brought into peace, one with another, and they beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks, and they sit every one under his vine and under his fig tree. Not every man in his own house, to protect himself, but every man sits under his vine and fig tree in sweet peace and prosperity and holy security in God, and the mouth of the LORD hath spoken these things, and what He says is true. If God brings you to sit in this way, the cow and the bear shall feed together, the lion and ox shall eat straw together. This is the gospel in the sweet power and effect of it. Contrary natures are brought down into a holy oneness by the grace of God. Nature is overcome, iniquity is subdued. Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life.
“For all people will walk every one in the name of his god.” The modernist walks in the name of his god. His god is his reason. What I cannot understand, what is not within the measurement of my reason, I reject. And therefore, because Christ in His glorious eternal deity and in His sweet, sacred, complex Person is beyond the reason of the modernist, the Socinian, the Arian, this Christ is rejected, and the reasoner walks according to the rule of his corrupted reason. If grace should come and conquer any modernist, that beast reason must be slain. The covetous man will walk in the name of his god. A covetous man is an idolator, a hard hearted man. Woe be to the poor creature who owes a covetous man a debt. He walks in the name of his idol. A wordly man walks in the name of the world and does not believe, does not know or think that the world, the friendship of the world is enmity against God. If you are a friend of this world you are the enemy of God, and if you walk in the world you will be judged and condemned as an enemy of God. Yea, your will is this way, we will do it. That religion we hear is loathsome, no sense in it. Well, it is quite right. Your meaning, in the word “sense” indeed can be applied to the work of God. There is no human sense in it, but there is infinite wisdom in it which you do not understand. Every one, all people in the world, dead in trespasses and sins, will walk in the name of his god.
But there is something else here, and we who have been brought to sit under the vine and fig tree, we who have seen Christ as the apple tree among the trees of the wood, have admired Him and delighted and have sat down under His shadow and partaken of His fruit, “we” who, lost without Him, have been found by Him, and distant from God have been made nigh by Him, and through Him, by the Spirit, “we”, though we know very little of Him, “we will walk in the Name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” This is not a legal promise or view. It is a holy, humble, believing resolution of a godly person,of the church of Jesus Christ. You understand it who have some experience of it. You may humbly say:
Let worldly minds the world pursue,
It hath no charms for me.
Once I admired its trifles too,
But grace has set me free.
O the wonder, the mercy. O, if you have been worldly minded, if by nature you are a worldly minded person, and grace has conquered you, though you keep that worldly disposition, how beautiful it is to you at times to be enabled to say, I will walk in the name of the LORD. I hope in His mercy, and I will do it for ever and ever.
Let us look a little at the name in which we say we will walk. There is a great deal in the prophecy of Zechariah that is rather mysterious, not easily understood, but there is one passage in it that is very beautiful. “I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in His Name, saith the LORD.” (Zechariah 10:12).
A very beautiful passage. “They shall walk up and down in His Name, saith the LORD.”
“Thou shall call His Name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:23) What is that Name to you? What is it to me? A Name that has in it infinitude. A Name that is relative, a Name that is beautiful beyond all expression, ineffable. A Name that comes down from heaven to earth and goes into the lowest parts of the earth and goes into the darkest parts of the earth where the habitations of cruelty are, and goes to the lion and tames him, and brings him to feed with the cow. This is the Name. O what a Name. All the wisdom and goodness of grace and love and power and purpose of God in salvation, that Name contains. “He shall save His people from their sins.” My brethren, this Name fills heaven and it fills the assembly with holiness, with goodness. It fills the sinner with salvation. Well it is a wonderful thing if you have ever received it and felt you could sing; “Jesus, I love Thy charming Name, ‘Tis music to my ear!”
No Name like it. O when you kneel before God to confess your sins, if this Name drops into your heart you will begin to move in hope and you walk in faith, pleading it. If, when you are distressed by your enemy, an evil heart of unbelief, you plead before God this Name, hope rises. If, when you are driven here and there, when circumstances are adverse and when impossibilities stand before you, this Name is brought to you by the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, then there is a change, there is a living hope, there is a quietness of mind, there is a committing all things to God. You walk in this Name. You walk in this Name of jealousy. “My Name is Jealous.” Christ is a Son over His own house. Will He allow the names of idols there, and
idols themselves? He says He will cast the names of idols out. I have often asked Him to do that for me, in me. The names of idols. But jealousy; if you walk well, you will walk humbly; you will walk tremblingly, at times before this Name lest you should offend and provoke the eyes of His jealousy by some worldliness or by maintaining some evil thing.
His Name is Love. Can you sing it?
“O Love divine, how sweet thou art!
When shall I find my willing heart.
All taken up by Thee?
For this I sigh, for this I pine;This only portion, Lord be mine;”
I cannot quite correctly quote it, but it is Love divine, sweet.
His Name is the Almighty God. “I am the Almighty God” and that is translated by one “I am God all sufficient”, and that is true. Walk before Me, I am sufficient for your case, sufficient for your troubles, sufficient for your sins, sufficient for your fears, sufficient for your circumstances. Whatever you may be, whatever you may fear, whatever you may need, bring all before this Almighty God.
“We will walk in His Name.”
“I am the faithful and true witness”. That is Jesus Christ again, faithful to His promise, faithful in His covenant, faithful to His people with whom He enters into covenant and who make a covenant with Him by sacrifice. Does your heart say, by the help of the LORD I will walk in this Name? I will know no other confidence, no other refuge, no other strength, no other safety, no other peace, no other delight. God is sufficient for us, for our bodies, our souls, our circumstances. All the vast desire you can have He is more than able to fill it. I will shake all nations and the desire of all nations shall come, that is the Lord Jesus.
Just a word about walking in it. This is by faith. We walk by faith and not by sight. When you walk by sight you walk in darkness, your eye is not single and your whole body is full of darkness. I
remarked the other evening what I will repeat. Your feet do not guide you when you walk. Your eye guides you, and if there is no light you do not know where you are going. When you walk by faith you walk in the light of life. “I am come a light into the world that whosoever believeth in Me should not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” There is a light that shines into the soul sometimes whereby you know where you are. This is a walk by faith. It is a walk by love also.
“Love is the golden chain that binds,
The happy souls above.
And he’s an heir of heaven who finds,
His bosom glow with love.”
Spiritual love has first of all for its object, God. Second, the truth as the truth is in Jesus, this holy inspired Word of God. Then it has for its object righteousness. Then it has for its objects the LORD’s people. “A new commandment give I unto you that ye love one another.” Do you walk in this? If you get near to God you will know it. That is a sorry religion that consists in saying you are dark and cannot get into the light. You are distant and cannot get near. If that is only your experience you are wrong. It will often be your experience if you are favoured. God’s people do get access to Him. “Through whom”, that is Jesus Christ, we both”, Jew and Gentile, “have access to the Father by the Spirit. O professor if you never get near, woe be to you, but if you get near the devil will contradict you. Sins will be against you often. Circumstances may seem to be against you. You may often be in trouble. But mind this, you will get near some time. “We will walk in the Name of the LORD our God”.
Well dear friends, what can I say more? This Name is the power of God. Christ is the power of God. His weakness brought Him, or in weakness He was crucified, but He liveth after the power of an endless life and by that power His people stand. We stand in weakness, conscious of our own weakness. We stand in weakness, but sometimes, sensible of the holy touch of Christ and His Spirit, we stand, we move, in power. We will walk in this Name for ever and ever. “If any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him” says God by the Apostle Paul. But these gracious people (and the Spirit of God), saints, speaking thus, say “we are not of them who draw back unto perdition but of them that believe to the saving of the soul”. O for faith to hang here, to feel a cleaving to this mighty God and a love to Him and to His ways,finding at times His ways to be ways of pleasantness and His paths to be paths of peace. O there is a peace in God and He gives it to sinners.
Now in conclusion let us look for a moment at our own cases and hearts. What do they say? I know what some say. Some here perhaps mentally say, O we know nothing about it, and it does not appeal to us. Would to God you had a change of heart. I know then your irreverence and unbelief and worldliness would depart. But it is not so with all of us. What is foolishness to you is wisdom to us, is an attraction to us, is our hope in life, our hope in trouble, our hope for death, our hope for eternity. “How stands the case my soul with thee?” Is Jesus thy hope? Dost thou walk or wouldest thou walk in this Name? Then climb the mountain as God helps you by humble faith and come to the throne of His heavenly grace with boldness and all will be well. “All people will walk every one in the name of his god” and we who are climbing the mountain, to whom God is dear, “we will walk in the Name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.” Here I must leave it. May the LORD in His great mercy be with us and cause us to know and feel that Holy and Reverend is His Name and that holiness becomes His house for ever.
James Popham – 1936