category: Advent

Advent Reflection: Day 3

Tuesday, December 1

Micah 4:6–13; Revelation 18:1–10

The etymology of the name Micah is very interesting. His name means, Who is like Yahweh. It was more an exclamation rather than a question. Micah’s narrative, just as John’s, has several contrasts and approximations, even though they were so many years apart from each other. Both exposed critical situations in their contexts: political, moral, spiritual, and material. Micah describes how Judah, the southern kingdom, with its glamorous capital Jerusalem, was under poor and chaotic leadership. Pride, idolatry, exploitation of the poor, and immorality were prevalent. In fact, there was the belief that Judah’s kingdom would last forever!! What a fallacy! Babylon destroyed them and took them into captivity. However, “in that day …” Yahweh intervened to liberate His people and brought them back to their land. It took place in Yahweh’s timing!! (see 2 Chronicles 36:9–23; Ezra 1:2–4:12). Who is like Yahweh!!

Micah was a native of Moresheth, a village 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem. He was a simple and ordinary man with a powerful message from God. It was a message of hope. “Listen to the prophets; remember; return to God.” The imagery described by the prophet demonstrates Yahweh’s favor toward His people by restoring, healing, pastoring, caring, and making them strong: “I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away … for I will make your horn iron …” (vv. 6, 13).

“After this …” (v. 1). With these words, John shares with us the continuum of Yahweh’s provision, purpose, and plan for his people. Interestingly, in both narratives there is a fallen people and a crooked kingdom with self–indulgent appetites for power, control, immorality, oppression, social injustice, and persecution. Again, there is a plea and a call to ‘leave’ (“come out of here, my people …”) (v. 4). It is a call to repentance. Such a “Babylon,” spiritually or commercially, has been symbolically an attractive, constant, and seductive temptation for all of us. It may be manifested as material or moral instruments, by allying with positions that are directly opposed to God’s principles.

John’s writing is deeply rooted in the Old Testament. According to some exegetes, there are between 275 and 500 allusions to the Old Testament, almost 70% of the entire book!! Again, the parallel message is basically the same: “Come out …” The direct implication is that the opposite brings forward its consequences. Babylon and Judah did not last forever. Both were destroyed. Anything that may take God’s place will perish. Interestingly enough is how John started this writing: “After this I saw another angel … having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice.” (18:1,2a).

As we read both passages, we can see the unified heavenly message of a redemptive God, who has been, is, and will be there for his people. Again, Who is Like Yahweh?! Take it as a question or as an affirmation. No doubt that he is our hope, despite our circumstances!!

Hebert Palomino
Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling

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