DAY 5: THE GLORY OF THE LORD ACCORDING TO MICAH
Слава Господня згідно з пророком Міхеєм
Ukrainian | Micah 5
And he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land and march through our fortresses.
– Micah 5:5
To read this text at a peaceful time is one thing because you read it as a story or as yet another messianic prophecy in the Bible. However, reading it while living in a country with an ongoing war is a different experience because you seek peace for your broken soul or for deeply traumatized people you work with daily. Micah wrote his prophecy about the Messiah when the Assyrians invaded the land of Israel. It was a time of fear, despair, death, and God’s discipline for many people. However, it is precisely at this time of hopelessness that the people of God heard a promise about the hope to come: “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God” (Micah 5:4a). Then Micah continues: “And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land …” (Micah 5:4b–5a).
During war and times of despair, we mostly look for peace as an action to stop the fighting and establish a state of non–war or, at the very least, a temporary cease– fire. Secondarily, we look for peace as a state of our souls and minds. We want to experience peace internally. When the Assyrians invaded, however, the prophet described peace as God being present among frightened and suffering people and being the source of their shalom. “I am Emmanuel. I am with you. I am your peace. Trust me. Follow me, not other gods.”
As followers of Christ in a country with an ongoing war, we often challenge Him in the depths of our souls and minds. Probably as a result of our profound internal and unresolved pain which tears us apart at our core, we are afraid to entrust ourselves and confess to Him because we think of Him as someone who is far away from us now. We think He is away because the war hit our lives, so we are afraid and experience a lot of pain. But He is present with us whether we feel it or not.
The story of Jacob struggling with God encourages me to live and serve the Lord in a context where many things seem to tear our souls apart. Jacob did not know what awaited him the next day on the other side of the stream: war with his brother or a life of peace. And I find myself shouting with Jacob, wrestling with the Lord: “I will not let you go unless you bless me!” I am crying to Him, overcoming poignant pain in my hip: “I will not let you go unless you give me peace!” Perhaps we cannot appreciate the discipline and blessing of the Father, even during a war, without Him striking us and humbling us in the dark depths of our souls where we often do not allow access even by those we love immensely. This darkness can only be dispersed by the presence of God, even if we try to struggle with Him like Jacob. I ask only one thing in the darkness of the night when I lose peace and am overwhelmed with fears or panic regarding tomorrow: “Father, I prefer to struggle with you like Jacob rather than serve you like Annas and Caiaphas in the temple. You hurt my thigh, struck, and humbled me. But you bless me and give me yourself as the peace. And I firmly confess that the dawn will come inevitably.”
We, in Ukraine, meet this Advent season having the war in our country. We learn not only to pray for peace but also to acknowledge that peace is not just about war or battles. It is about God’s presence in our souls and minds as the source of His shalom over the hopelessness and His light over the darkness, regardless of the pain we experience. Therefore, Jesus, let us never forget amidst any invasion—whether by sin, pain, suffering, or war—that our peace is you, Emmanuel, God among us.
Peace be with you.
Taras Dyatlik was the project manager for the Langham Literature–supported Slavic Bible Commentary and Central Asian Bible Commentary. He lives in Rivne, Ukraine, and currently serves as Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Overseas Council International.