And many nations shall come - Isaiah Isaiah 2:2 added the world all to Micah‘s prophecy. So our Lord said, “This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations” Matthew 24:14; and the elect are to be gathered out “of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues” Revelation 7:9. All nations shall flow into it. The all might be many or few. Both prophets say that those all should be many. Judah probably knew already of many. The history of Genesis gave them a wide-expanding knowledge of the enlargement of mankind alter the flood, in Europe, Asia, Africa, as they then existed in their nations. The sons of Japhet had already spread over the whole coast of our Western sea, and far North; the Cimmerians, or Cwmry, Scandinavians, Carpathians, (probably Celts,) Armenians; (including the kindred Phrygians,) Scythians, Medes, Ionians, Aeolians, Iberians, Cypriotes, Dardani, Tybarenes, Moschi, and the Turseni, or perhaps the Thracians. On the East, the sons of Shem had spread in Elam, Asshur, Arrapachitis; they occupied the intervening tract of Aram; in the northwest they reached to Lydia. Southward the sons of Joktan were in Arabia. Micah‘s hearers knew how, of the sons of Ham, Cush had spread far to the southeast and south from Babylonia to Aethiopia; Egypt they remembered too well, and, beyond it, they knew of the far-scattered tribes of the Libyans, who extended along the coast of Africa. Phoenician trade filled up this great outline.
They themselves had, in Solomon‘s time, traded with India; about this time, we know that they were acquainted with the furthest East, China. Such was the sight before the human mind of the prophet; such the extent of the nations whom his people knew of.
Some were the deadly enemies of his people; some were to be its conquerors. He knew that the the ten tribes were to be abidingly wanderers among the nations, despised by them; “a people, the strangers and sojourners of the whole world”. He knew many of those nations to be sunk in idolatry, viciousness; proud, contemptuous, lawless; he saw them fixed in their idolatries. “All people will walk every one in the name of his god.” But he saw what eye of man could not see, what the will of man could not accomplish, that He, whom now Judah alone partially worshiped, would turn the hearts of His creatures to Himself, to seek Him, not in their own ways, but as He should reveal Himself at Jerusalem. Micah tells them distinctly, that those who should believe would be a great multitude from many nations. In like way Isaiah expresses the great multitude of those for whom Christ should atone Isaiah 53:12. He bare the sin of many Isaiah 53:11. By knowledge of Him shall My righteous Servant make many righteous. And our Lord Himself says Matthew 20:28; The Son of man came to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 26:28, add Romans 5:15). This is my Blood - which is shed for many for the remission of sins. In Micah‘s time not one people, scarcely some poor fragments of the Jewish people, went up to worship God at Zion, to call to remembrance His benefits, to learn of Him. Those who should thereafter worship Him, should be many nations.
And say - Exhorting one another, in fervor and mutual love, as Andrew exhorted his brother Simon, and Philip Nathanael, and the woman of Samaria those of her city, to come to Christ: and so all since, who have been won by Him, by word or example, by preaching or by deed, in public or in private, bear along with them others to seek Him whom they themselves have found.
Let us go up - leaving the lowness and earthliness of their former conversation, and mounting upward on high where Christ is, desiring righteousness, and athirst to know His ways.
To the house of the God of Jacob - They shall seek Him as Jacob sought Him,, “who left his father‘s house and removed into another land, was a man of heavy toils and served for hire, but obtained special help from God, and, undistinguished as he was, became most glorious. So too the Church, leaving all pagan wisdom, and having its conversation in Heaven, and therefore persecuted and enduring many hardships, enjoys now glory with God.”
And He - , that is, the God of Jacob of whom he had just spoken, shall teach us of His ways They do not go to God, because they know Him, but that they may know Him. They are drawn by a mighty impulse toward Him. Howsoever attracted, they come, not making bargains with God, (as some now would,) what they should be taught, that He should reveal to them nothing transcending reason, nothing exceeding or contradicting their notions of God; they do not come with reserves, that God should not take away this or that error, or should not disclose anything of His incomprehensibleness. They come in holy simplicity, to learn whatever He will condescend to tell them; in holy confidence, that He, the Infallible Truth, will teach them infallibly. They say, “of His ways.” For all learning is by degrees, and all which all creatures could learn in all eternity falls infinitely short of His truth and Holiness. Nay, in all eternity the highest creature which He has made and which He has admitted most deeply into the secrets of His Wisdom will be as infinitely removed as ever from the full knowledge of His Wisdom and His Love. For what is finite, enlarged, expanded, accumulated to the utmost degree possible, remains finite still.
It has no proportion to the Infinite. But even here, all growth in grace implies growth in knowledge. The more we love God, the more we know of Him; and with increased knowledge of Him come higher perceptions of worship, praise, thanksgiving, of the character of faith, hope, charity, of our outward and inward acts and relations to God, the unboundedness of God‘s love to us and the manifoldness of the ways of pleasing Him, which, in His love, He has given us. Since then the whole Christian life is a growth in grace, and even Paul Philemon 3:13-14, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those which are before, pressed toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, then Paul too was ever learning, in intensity, what he knew certainly by revelation, of His ways. Again, as each blade of grass is said to differ from another, so, and much more, each soul of man which God has created for Himself. No one ever saw or could imagine two human beings, in whom the grace of God had unfolded itself in exactly the same way.
Each saint will have his distinct beauty around the throne. But then each will have learnt “of His ways,” in a different proportion or degree. His greatest saints, yea His Apostles, have been pre-eminent, the one in one grace, another in another. John the Immerser came as a pattern of repentance and contempt of self; John the Evangelist stood out pre-eminent in deep tender burning personal love; Paul was known for his zeal to spread the knowledge of Christ Crucified; Mary Magdelene was famous for her loving penitence. Even the Blessed Virgin herself, under inspiration, seems, in part, to speak of her lowly lowness, as that which God specially regarded in her, when He made her the Mother of God. Eternity only will set forth the fullness of the two words “He will teach us of His ways.” For eternity will shew, how in all 1 Corinthians 12:11 worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will; and how the countless multitude of the redeemed have corresponded to His gifts and drawings.: “The way of the life to God-ward is one, in that it looketh to one end, to please God; but there are many tracks along it, as there are many modes of life;” and each several grace is a part of the way to God.
And we will walk in His paths - o“By believing, hoping, loving, well-doing, and bearing patiently all trouble.” Rup.: “For it sufficeth not to believe, unless we act as He commandeth, and strive to enter on His ways, the strait and narrow path which leadeth unto life. He Himself then, when He had said, “Go, teach all nations,” baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, added, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” Matthew 28:19-20. They say too, “we will walk,” that is, go on from strength to strength, not stand still after having labored for a while to do His Will, but hold on to all His ways and to Himself who is the Way, until they appear before the Lord in Zion.
For the law - (literally, law,) shall go forth from Zion These are the prophet‘s words, declaring why the nations should so flock to Zion. For he says, “shall go forth,” but the nations were not gathered to Zion, until the Gospel was already gone forth. He speaks of it as law simply, not the Jewish law as such, but a rule of life Man‘s better nature is ill at ease, being out of harmony with God. It cannot be otherwise. Having been made in His likeness, it must be distressed by its unlikeness; having been made by Him for Himself, it must be restless without Him. What they indistinctly longed for, what drew them, was the hope to be conformed by Him to Him. The sight of superhuman holiness, life, love, endurance, ever won and wins those without to the Gospel or the church. Our Lord Himself gives it, as the substance of prophecy Luke 24:47, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem. The image may be that of a stream, issuing forth from Jerusalem and watering the whole world. Theodoret: “The law of the Gospel and the word of the Apostles, beginning from Jerusalem, as from a fountain, ran through the whole world, watering those who approached with faith.” But in that it “went forth,” it may be meant, that it left those from among whom it “went forth,” and Cyril, “Zion was indeed desolate of the law and Jerusalem bared of the divine word.” Jerome: “The word of God passed from Jerusalem to the Gentiles.” Rup.: “For the shadow was done away, and the types ceased, and sacrifices were abolished, and everything of Moses was, in the letter, brought to a close.”
He does not say here, through whom God would so teach, but he does speak of a direct teaching of God. He does not say only, “God will give us a law,” or “will make a revelation of Himself.” He speaks of a Personal, direct, continuous act of teaching by God, carried on upon earth, whether the teacher be our Lord‘s word spoken once on earth, which does “not pass away” Matthew 24:35, or God the Holy Spirit, as teaching in the Church and in the hearts which receive Him. The words which follow speak of a personal reign, as these speak of personal teaching.
“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 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. CT 455.1
The Old Testament Scriptures were the lesson book of Israel.... There are practical lessons in the word of God, lessons that Christ would have teachers and parents present to the children in the school and in the home. That word teaches living, holy principles, which prompt men to do unto others as they would have others do unto them—principles which they are to bring into the daily life here below, and carry with them into the school above. This is the higher education. No learning of human origin can gain these heights; for they reach into eternity, and are immortalized. We know altogether too little of the greatness of the love and compassion of God. CT 455.2
Let students put to the stretch their mental faculties, that they may comprehend the forty-fifth chapter of Isaiah. Such chapters as this should be brought into our schools as a valuable study. They are better than romance and fables. Why have our schools been so dependent upon books which tell so little of the city we claim to be seeking, whose builder and maker is God? Our lesson books should contain the loftiest themes of thought. Heaven is our home. Our citizenship is above, and our lives must not be devoted to a world that is soon to be destroyed.... CT 455.3Read in context »