In That Day
IN THAT DAY
Micah 4:6-8 (RSV)
V6- In that day, says the Lord, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away, and those whom I have afflicted;
V7-and the lame I will make the remnant; and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and for evermore.
V8- And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.
It is said that the 21st century is the day of the rich and the capitalists, where the rich will be getting richer and the poor poorer.
Lately, there is a great dissent among the people against the capitalists and they even staged a demonstration against them in Perth during the Commonwealth Meeting.
But I thank God that there is a day God has reserved for the most wretched and most scattered of men on this earth. I am glad I am serving a God who knows nothing of favoritism. He does not treat men according to their physical condition, social status or temporal circumstances. Christ has respect to SOULS. He is as much interested in the soul of a pauper as in that of the prince, the soul of the slave as in that of the sovereign. Human rulers and government always relate with man in relation to his material possessions. The more wealthy and influential a man is, the more favors will worldly kings bestow; the indigent and the homeless are only regarded as beasts of burden. Not so with Christ as the King. Every soul to him is a matter of profound practical interest and He even sets aside a day where he will address the needs of this group of people.
Micah prophesied in our key text about “that day.” In that day, there will be a New Jerusalem and a rebuilt temple at the heart of the righteous kingdom of the Messiah and the restoration of the most misplaced and displaced people of this earth.
This morning, I would like to share a sermon entitled, ‘IN THAT DAY’.
(I) WHEN IS ‘THAT DAY’
Verse 6- In that day, says the Lord
When Micah uses the phrase “in that day”, he refers to the millennial kingdom.
But we do not have to wait till the millennial kingdom in order to experience these wonderful promises of God.
Christ has already promised in the gospel that He was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and His invitation was to all that are “weary” and “heavy laden.”
If you were to study the history of Israel, you will notice like human life, Israel has its dark and bright side. Before the glory promised is over gained, sorrow and trail must be endured. The gloomy day is always swallowed up by a glorious day.
The hope of the gospel today is given to those who have been going through many gloomy and hopeless days and God wants to tell you that just as He has set aside a glorious day where He will restore Israel, He has also set aside a day for these groups of people today.
Luke 4:16-21 records that Jesus “came to Nazareth where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogues, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
And the good news is “that day” is today. You don’t have to wait any longer to see the power and the glory of God. The day Christ came to this earth, He has already ushered in the Kingdom blessing for all to receive. You can see “that day” today. You can experience what Micah has prophesied in our key text today.
(II) WHO ARE INCLUDED ‘IN THAT DAY’
1. THE MORALLY WEAK
V6 (RSV)- In that day, says the Lord, I will assemble the lame
KJV- In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth
Who are the “lame”?
They are those who are spiritually tired, maimed and disjointed in life.
We are meant for a wholesome life but some where along the path of this fallen life, sin happens or thing happens that maimes us and causes us to be disjointed.
E.g. I see this beautiful girl who was born to the world. She had a lovely home, with a father and a mother. But then her mother contracted cancer and died when she was four. The father sold away the house and used the proceeds to gamble. She grew up in the care of her father but then at the age of ten, something happened. Her father because of gambling lost all the money and had to put up with relatives who squeezed the father and daughter in one room with only one bed. There the father molested her and as she grew older and older, began to have sex with her. Suddenly out of nowhere, she began to hear second voices in her head. She locked herself in her room and refused to go to school. Today, at the age of 20, she is under psychiatric treatment; still living with her incestuous dad; a school drop-out; jobless; still refusing to tell people about this incestuous act but everywhere she goes, she feels that people are staring at her and laughing at her because she feels dirty. This girl has been maimed by her father; maimed by the fallen world of a motherless environment. She is not normal anymore. She has become disjointed emotionally, mentally and even socially.
The promise of God’s intervention and blessing is meant firstly for this group of people.
How about you? Are you disjointed in this life because of sin and people? Today you are limping and you can’t walk this life normally because of what some people have done to you. You are crippled emotionally, financially, socially and even spiritually.
The KJV version uses the word “halt” to describe “lame”. When used in this context, the word “halt” refers to another group of people – those who halt, hesitate and counterfeit in God’s service now. This group of people cannot make up their mind to believe that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth and the only life to God the Father. They hesitate in their decision to accept Christ and to serve him and even though in church, they are still limping between two decisions just as what the children of Israel did during Elijah’s time.
Elijah had to challenge them to come to a solid decision for Christ in 1 Kings 18:21- And Elijah came near to all the people, and said, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.
Today, are you still halting in your decision and your commitment to Christ? Are you still limping with two different opinions – Christ or the world? Christ or yourself? Christ or sin?
Make up your mind who you want to believe and serve. To those who are limping today between two opinions, the Holy Spirit will come down upon you today to solidify your decision for Christ.
2. THE HOPELESSLY SCATTERED
V6 (RSV)- and gather those who have been driven away
KJV-and I will gather her that is driven out.
LB- In that coming day, the Lord says he will bring back the dispossessed.
The Jews were driven out of their land by force by the Assyrians and Babylonians. They became dispossessed [as the LB renders it] people till 1948 when Israel became a nation overnight.
Many of us are entitled with certain rights and inheritance both in the natural realm and the supernatural realm.
In the natural realm, we became driven out because of evil men or covetous men.
In the supernatural realm, we became driven out by the devil who always seeks to steal, kill and destroy our spiritual blessing and heritage.
E.g. I look at Pastor Jessie and I feel for his state. His mum left him with large parcels of land but his mum had a step-husband, who conned his mum into transferring all the title deeds to his name. When his mum died, all the land went to the step father and Pas Jessie was disinherited. He was driven out from his natural inheritance.
E.g. Some of you are literally driven out from your home simply because you become born again. Or there are some of you who are dispossessed from your marriage- you have a husband, but you live as if you don’t have one because your husband is with another family or he has abandoned you. You have been dispossessed in your marriage. It is always tragic to see young children dispossessed of their father simply because things don’t work out between the parents. It is so sad to hear real stories of real children driven away from their real parents and having to grow up alone or with grandparents.
E.g. These last few days were quite hard for me to go through especially with Pas Toh Nee traveling to Antique, Passi and Palawan within one week and I was left alone at home most of the time. When you are alone, you think a lot. One breakfast morning, for no reason, tears just sputtered from my eyes as I saw the bottle of Chinese medicine which my mum bought for me. That bottle has been standing there for a long time and yet I have not opened it to consume it because I hate taking Chinese tonic or medicine. Then the words of mum resounded in my memory: “Have you started eating the Chinese tonic that I bought for you? You must eat each time you feel lethargic. That bottle is very expensive. I spent $120 just for that one bottle. If you don’t cherish it, one day, you will have no mum to buy it for you anymore.” And true, sitting there alone, looking at the bottle, I said to myself- Mum truly is no more here to buy this for me anymore. I don’t even know how to go to the Chinese Medicinal Hall in Singapore to ask them to concoct those pills for me. I felt at that very moment that I was dispossessed from my very own mum. I felt like an orphan and that was how Pas Toh Nee “condoled” me. I remember sitting on the chair, waiting for the casket to be carried to the hearse and tears just kept falling from my eyes. Joy saw it and put her arm round me. My second sister saw me and came and hugged me and told me to start taking care of myself. My husband saw me and instead of giving me words of comfort, rubbed salt into my wound, “Now you really are an orphan.”
How many of you, are like me? You feel like an orphan where literally you have lost your parents. You have been dispossessed from your parents or maybe some of you, even though your parents are alive, you still feel like an orphan, driven away from their love and concern.
If so, God’s promise is for you today.
(3) THE GRIEVOUSLY DISTRESSED
V6- and those whom I have afflicted
Men are not merely driven out but are sick and afflicted in body and mind.
Here we note that it was God who has afflicted the children of Israel and this is a truth many of us find it hard to accept.
You see, when God afflicts you, it means you are especially dear to him. “The Lord disciplines him whom he loves” (Hebrews 12:6).
E.g A pastor had a conversation with a Jewish man in front of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem several years ago. He was one of the Jews who had come out of Nazi persecution alive, although he had spent time in a concentration camp. He said that he had become an atheist. He asked, “Where was God during the time of our trouble? Why didn’t He deliver us?”
The pastor told him, “To tell the truth, I think God was around. Maybe you would like to blame Him for the trouble you had.”
He replied, “I certainly do. If there is a God, He would have responded to us.
The pastor said, “No, because you folks had an opportunity to know Him and obey Him ahead of the rest of us. When your nation had a knowledge of the living and true God, my ancestors were heathens. One tribe was in Germany and the other tribe was in Scotland. They were dirty, filthy and ignorant pagans but you had the light. Finally some of your people brought the light to my people and I’m grateful for it. But God has made it very clear in your own writings, your own books that when you have a knowledge of the true and living God, you cannot turn your back on Him without being punished. If you will read your writings, you will find that not only can you blame Him for your trouble, but He is also not through with you as a nation. He intends to regather you. By that time, you will have learned ( and obviously you have not learned it yet) that this is God’s universe and that you cannot reject the knowledge of Himself that He has given you without suffering His judgment.”
Are you the afflicted ones today? Are you grievously distressed physically and mentally today? Is the affliction that you are undergoing a result of your disobedience to God? If so, the promise of Micah is also for you.
4. THE UTTER REJECTS
V7- and those who were cast off
One of the most painful stings in life is rejection. To be rejected or to be cast off means to be unwanted, to be discarded or abandoned.
We are born with a desire to be needed. It feels very good to be needed but when we are cast off, it takes years to recover our emotional equilibrium.
The world is filled with rejects. In the intellectual world, if you are not smart enough, you will be cast off. In the beauty world, if you are not pretty enough, you will be cast off; in the financial world, if you are not rich enough, you are cast off; in the athlete world, if you are not strong enough, you are cast off; in Singapore, if you are not young enough, you are cast off.
E.g. During the funeral wake, Pas Toh Nee’s sister-in-law came and confided her fear concerning her husband who is a sign-on in the army and now they receive news that once her husband is 55, he is expected to file in for early retirement. Also Pas Toh Nee’s brother-in-law came and complained about the harsh and underpaying architecture firm he is working in and he said that he has no choice but to endure the situation because he is already 42 and to find another architecture job is almost zero. He said he applied for so many firms and the first question they always asked was, “How old are you?” When they found out at the time of application that he was 37, they apologized and said they were looking for applicants who are 28 and under. Cast off because of age. Cast off because of lack of qualification. Cast off because of ugliness. Cast off because of your background.
Are you a cast off today?
(III) WHAT WILL GOD DO IN THAT DAY?
To the lame, the driven away, the afflicted and those who are cast off, what will God do to you in that day?
In that day…….
1. GOD WILL GATHER AND ASSEMBLE
V6- In that day, says the Lord, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted.
The word “to assemble” means “to bring together; to put together.”
And the word of hope to the lame, the driven away, the afflicted and the cast off is this- God will bring you together; he will put your lives back together again. What men, sin or this cruel life has disjointed in you or have broken you into pieces, God will assemble you again in order to put you together in one piece again.
He will then gather you by His providence and grace to His church where it will become your asylum, your hiding place.
E.g. Look at the way some of you are gathered today in this church this morning? Can you see that you are gathered here by way of God’s grace and providence? Some one who is your old friend from this church saw you walking on the street and they gave you a call to invite you to this church and you came and God’s spirit touch you. That is divine providence.
Some of you are in dire straits. You have no one to turn to; no one to call upon and someone from this church who is a stranger just casually strike a conversation with you and invited you to our church and now you are here. You have messed up your life badly. But now you are gathered here by the grace of God. God wants to show mercy to your messed-up life. NOW is that day where God wants to gather and assemble your life back to wholeness again.
2. GOD WILL MAKE YOU HIS REMNANT
V6b-7-and those whom I have afflicted; and the lame I will make the remnant.
Never throughout the long history of Israel did 100 percent of the nation worship God. Always only a remnant was faithful to Him. God always preserved a remnant. Actually it was a remnant of those who came out of Egypt that entered the land. Practically the entire generation that came out of Egypt died in the wilderness. It was their children who entered the land. God preserved a remnant. Even in Elijah’s day God had a faithful remnant. Also there was a remnant of believers at the coming of Christ; although the leaders of the nation rejected Him and had Him crucified, there was a remnant that received Him. Later, on the day of Pentecost, a great company turned to Christ, yet it was a remnant. It always has been a remnant. Coming down to our day, there is a remnant even in the church that bears His name. In the church there is only a remnant of true believers in Christ.
Many of us would be surprised if we knew how few church members were genuine believers even though they are quite active in Christian circles and in Christian service. Many people in our affluent society have become church members. We are living in a period that has produced a lot of pseudo-saints. They are not genuine by any means. They have not been born-again. The Book of Hebrews makes it clear that…”those whom the Lord loveth he chastened” (Heb 12:6). And every son whom He receives, He is going to put through the fire. He is going to test him. If you have some metal which you think is gold, you can take it to the assayer’s office. He will put the metal under the heat so that you will find out whether what you have is gold or something else. And God puts the heat to those who are His own. The day of persecution is going to come to the church members and it will reveal quickly who are the true believers and who are not. God has a remnant in the church today.
In Micah’s day, God is saying that of the afflicted ones He will make a remnant.
Today, if you are undergoing fiery furnace of trials and sorrows, take heart, God is making you His remnant. There is no other way to test the sincerity of your profession except through the fire. Once you pass through the fire with your faith intact, you will belong to the remnant of God.
So to those who are afflicted and to those who are lame, be encouraged. God is in the process of making you his remnant- the very few that is left.
3. GOD WILL MAKE YOU A STRONG NATION WITH HIM AS YOUR RULER
V7 – and those who were cast off, a strong nation and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and for evermore.
To those who are the lame, the driven out, the afflicted and the cast off, in that day, God will break into your life His kingdom glory. This kingdom glory is God’s reign and authority. When the kingdom glory comes into your very lives, it will be a dignified kingdom, eclipsing any earthly and demonic kingdom. The glory that God wants to shine through you will exceed that of the reign of David and Solomon. And this kingdom will be a strong one- “strong kingdom.”
The word “strong nation” carries the promises of God to make all the lame, the driven away, the afflicted and the cast off strong in numbers. The remnant scattered and depressed shall be gathered, assembled, restored and multiplied like the stars of heaven or the sands of the sea-shore. Not only that you will be strong in victory. You will no more be subdued by petty sins or earthly dominions. Your strength will not be that of human might but you shall be strong in spiritual warfare, in faith and achievements. ‘A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation.” And this reign of God in you will be perpetual. The Lord shall reign over them “even for ever.”
4. GOD WILL BE YOUR WATCHTOWER, THE GUARDIAN OF YOUR SOULS
V8 (KJV)- And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
Notice the two different places mentioned here: Tower of the flock and the stronghold of the daughter of Zion.
To understand the allusion to the tower of the flock, it is necessary to go back to Genesis 35:16. There Jacob was on his way south from Bethel to Bethlehem when his wife Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin. Jacob buried his wife north of Jerusalem and continued south where he camped south of “Tower of the Flock” or “Migdal Ader.”
According to Church father Jerome, this Tower of Ader was about a mile from Bethlehem. Assuming this to be true, the Tower of the Flock” refers to David’s birthplace, marked by a tower out in the field amidst the flock.
The second site is the well-known “Ophel” or “stronghold” that formed the acropolis on the eastern slope of the old city of Jerusalem. A reference to this part of the city stands for the whole of it.
Both Bethlehem and Jerusalem are then put on notice that their former dominion and prominence, having served, respectively as the birthplace and the seat of the royal government, will now be restored to them.
Micah christens the “Tower of the Flock” as the emblem of the future kingdom of Messiah, He who is the new David. It is also a symbol of the royal house of David, since he was a native of Bethlehem and “kept the flock”. Once again, Zion would turn to the flock to find her king. Jerusalem would turn to David’s heir and the nations of the earth would turn to Jerusalem.
The tower of the flock implies that Christ will watch over us as the Shepherd of our souls. Only Christ the Great Shepherd of our souls knows all his sheep and only He has ample provision for all his sheep. Only He has the power to protect all his sheep.
To the lame, the driven away, the afflicted and the cast off, you are not alone. There is a God watching you. He is guarding your soul. Every path that you are taking now is guided by Him. He is your strong Tower, watching over you constantly.
Are you the lame, the driven away, the afflicted and the cast off today? If so, today is THAT DAY which God has appointed to gather you, to assemble you and to make you His remnant. He will reign over you as your King and He will release within you His kingdom glory to make you strong in numbers, in victory and faith. He will watch over you as the Tower of the Flock and He will restore your royal might and power again just as before.
While flying back after the funeral of my mother, I felt very down and I was reading the Bible in the plane. I literally felt very lame, driven away, afflicted and cast off until God quickened me this promise from Micah 4:6-8: “Lily, that day is coming soon. If it seems slow, wait for it for it will surely come. In that day, I will bring you back, my punished daughter –sick and lame and dispossessed and I will make you strong again in the land I have called you and I will raise from you a mighty congregation and I the Lord myself shall be your King forever. I have been watching over you like the Tower of the flock. Your royal might and power will come back to you again just as before.”
What are the dominion and the prominence you have lost? This is that day that the Lord wants to restore that very dominion and prominence to you.
END OF SERMON
SERMON OF PASTOR LILY
PREACHED ON OCT 30 2011 AT EFC 1ST SV IC