Our Deepest Need at Christmas
He shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace. –MICAH 5:4–5
“He shall be great to the ends of the earth,” Micah prophesies. There will be no pockets of resistance unsubdued. Our security will not be threatened by any alien forces. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess him Lord. The whole earth will be filled with his glory.
And “he will be our peace.” Yes, in this context that in- cludes final, earthly, political peace. Micah spoke of it already in Micah 4:3: He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
One day the ruler—the King of kings and Lord of lords—will return and make that a reality. The great Christmas carol will finally be fulfilled:
He rules the world with truth and grace And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness
And wonders of his love.
But there is another, deeper peace—a peace that must happen before there can be peace on earth. There must be peace between us and God. Our unbelief and his wrath must be re- moved. That is our deepest peace—and our deepest need at Christmas.
Micah knew it was coming. He had experienced it personally (Mic. 7:8–9). He describes it beautifully at the very end of his book, in Micah 7:18–19:
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression
for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.
He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
This was the great work of the Messiah yet to be done. Yes, there are enemies on earth that must be defeated if we are to have peace. But, oh, the great enemy called sin and judgment— that is the greatest and worst enemy. The gospel at Christmas is: Christ has trampled this enemy underfoot at the cross. So for everyone who trusts in him, their sins are cast into the depths of the sea.
Therefore, we say not, “Glory to us,” but, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
This advent reading is from The Dawning of Indestructible Joy – Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper. You can download the entire book as a free PDF or purchase the Kindle or hard copy versions here: The Dawning of Indestructible Joy – Daily Readings for Advent