Monday, December 05, 2011

Nation Shall Not Lift up a Sword Against Nation,
Neither Shall They Learn War Any More

This passage quoted from Isaiah 2:4 is also stated in the Old Testament reading appointed for the Second Sunday in Advent, Micah 4:1-7.

How wonderful it would be if this passage engraved in stone on this wall were understood as the prophets proclaim it. Sadly, on this wall across the street from the United Nations building in New York City it is used as though these words are to refer to the actions of mankind rather than what the Lord promises to work on our behalf.

At the end of World War II mankind formed the United Nations as their presumptuous answer to the world’s problems. History shows how far short their attempts at peace have fallen. History teaches us that peace is not possible through the efforts of mankind.

But peace is effected through the means that the Lord has established and ordained.

These wonderful words as they are declared through the prophet Micah were appointed for the Second Sunday in Advent for very good reasons. More on this is presented in Sunday’s Sermon.

What these words declare is really very deep. Yet the message is not at all complicated. It is really very straightforward when one hears what is proclaimed from the perspective from which it is given. This is the way of the Gospel. It is not a complicated message. It is really very simple, even though it reaches to heaven and makes the blessings of heaven available on earth. The message of the Gospel is given to us through very simple means, the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. Yet even the simplest message loses its power when those who proclaim it change it in any way. The Gospel is clearly defined. It is the very power of God unto salvation to all who believe. But when it is altered, it is no longer what God declares, but what someone else declares, and its effects are changed.

The peace that the Gospel declares is the peace that Christ works and administers through His Church through the pure administration of His means of grace. Seeking peace through any other way results as the false application of the quote from Isaiah on a stone wall in New York City. Surely New York City itself stands as a powerful witness to this fact. For example: New York Crime Rates 1960 - 2010. Of course, the tragic events of 9-11 are hard to ignore. Then also are the so-called responses that have followed.

In the fuller context, both Isaiah and Micah say:

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Even this gives a very different perspective to how peace is achieved. This still is not the full context, but it sets a person looking in the right direction. The perspective presented by the full context is far more glorious.

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1 comment:

Gary Cepek said...

Pastor Siems,

The sermon flowing from Micah 4 for Adv. 2 is demonstrates the continuation of the sound exegesis which the LORD God has enabled you set forth. Those whom the Spirit has washed into the Communion of Saints are being nourished unto eternal life. The Triune God will continue to cause His Word to be taught in its truth and purity that the lives of His people be sanctified by it.

Thank you,

Gary Cepek