THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD’S HOUSE
1. Those of you who have been around here a while know that I am interested in statements that are made in the scriptures more than once.
a. When someone repeats a saying, it either means he has forgotten that he already said it to you, or that he thinks you might forget it, or that it is especially important.
b. If God is the speaker, one of the latter two possibilities will be the reason for the repetition, and they may go together.
c. Our text is a wonderful, captivating example of a truth so valuable that it must not be allowed to slip from view. Here is what it says....
2. There must be something about what this text says that has notably rich meaning for hurting hearts.
a. It is recorded twice in almost identical forms (here and in Micah 4:1-5).
b. These are statements of contemporaries who had to address the same circumstances, but in different settings–Isaiah in the city, Micah in the country.
c. In both cases, the beautiful saying rises from very dark ground.
i. In Isaiah, it is preceded by an awful description of the sinfulness of the nation: they are like children who have rebelled against their father; like a sick body full of sores from head to foot; like hands filthy with sin-stains that cannot be hidden (1:2, 5-6, 15, 18).
ii. In Micah, a declaration of the Lord’s judgment upon the land precedes this saying: because they have hated the good and loved the evil, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, and the mountain would grow up with brush (3:2, 12).
iii. Either way, there is something in this early promise of God to relieve the despair: there is some basis here for an appeal to come to the house of the Lord and to walk in his light (v. 3, 5).
3. So what is it in this picture that is so attractive? Where is the relief to be found from the disgusting sinfulness of the culture and the from the dreaded fate of the nation? In the establishing of the mountain of the LORD’S house as the highest of the mountains!
a. The gods of ancient world were supposed to have lived on mountains–each god was thought to have had his own. (ESV S.B. 1243)
b. The LORD, the God of the Bible, made it clear that he is present everywhere, but when the temple was built on Mt. Zion at Jerusalem, it became his holy mountain and his name dwelled there (cf. Joel 3:17).
c. What the prophet announces is that the mountain of the Lord’s house “shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted above the hills.”
i. It was unimpressive physically when compared to other mountains, and it was being spiritually neglected at the time.
ii. But, according to this prophecy, it would become most exalted in honor.
iii. The mountain that God desired for his abode may have been looked upon with hatred (Ps. 68:16), but his house would become attractive even to the nations.
iv. By an amazing, unexplainable magnetism, a river of humanity would flow uphill to learn the ways of the one true God!
v. What a picture of the exaltation of the kingdom of God to a supreme position above all the kingdoms of this earth!
4. But when? And how? Imagined answers to these questions have led to whole systems of thought that have forced the entire message of the Bible into packages, either political or millenial. There are, however, key phrases here which, in the light of the New Testament, lead us to the church of the Lord.
a. “In the latter days”(v.2) is the phrase the New Testament uses to speak of the age which began when God raised up his Son.
i. 1 Peter 1:20
ii. Hebrews 1:2
iii. Acts 2:17
(1) Interestingly, this is a quote from Joel 2:28, which does not have “in the latter days.” Some think the phrase in Acts 2 is borrowed from our text.
(2) We have a time frame, then, for when the mountain of the Lord’s house was to be established as the highest of the mountains.
b. “He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples” (v.4) ties the exalting of the mountain of the Lord’s house to the work of the Messiah.
i. This is the same as what would be done by the branch from David’s family upon whom the Spirit of the LORD would rest and who would rule the earth with the rod of his mouth (Isaiah 11:4, 5).
ii. Isaiah 25:6-8
iii. 1 Corinthians 15:54; Revelation 7:17; 21:4.
c. “Out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (v.3) finds its meaning in the beginning of the proclamation of Jesus as the Christ.
i. Luke 24:47
ii. Acts 1:4, 8
iii. Hebrews 12:22
d. “And all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come” (v.2b,3a; also 4a) is what happened as people from all the world began to receive the gospel of Christ and to draw near to God through him.
i. Galatians 3:8 (cf. Gen. 12:3)
ii. Isaiah 49:6
iii. Matthew 28:19
e. “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” (v.4) is what happens among those who have come to Christ and are ruled by him in all things.
i. It is a way of saying that since their hostility toward God has been removed, they are at peace in his household.
ii. Ephesians 2:19
iii. Under his rule people turn their energies to extending the righteousness, peace and joy of his kingdom (Rom. 14:17).
5. We are in a position, then, to hear and be responsive to the appeal of this wonderful text. It was not then, and it is not now, merely a saying to be investigated. It calls for something to be done.
a. “And many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’” (v. 3)
b. “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.” (v. 5)
6. Both of these are calls for practical personal action. One writer observed that the appeal is “not to dream of a world movement one day, but to respond in the present and on the spot.” (D. Kidner, New Bible Commentary, 592)
7. In John 12:32, when some Greeks came wanting to see Jesus and the cross was very near, Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
a. The word he used for “lifted up” is the same one the Greek version of the O.T. used in Isaiah 2:2 for the mountain of the LORD’S house being “lifted up” above the hills.
b. What attracts people to his church is his own sacrifice and his victory over the ruler of this world.
c. What do you think of him?