October 03, 2018

A Shady Grape Arbor

Micah 4:1-4

Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid. . . .

—  Micah 4:4

When I was young, I commuted to school by subway. I walked through a Greek and Italian neighborhood to the station and would see elderly folks sitting in the shade of a grape arbor in their tiny front yards, houses crowded around them, surrounded by the bustle of the city. There they would sit, glass of wine in hand, enjoying a pleasant conversation with old friends. I imagined it must have been that way for them in “the old country” too, where they had come from.

The word pictures we find in Micah 4 point to full life in the kingdom of God, which Jesus will fully establish on this earth when he comes again. Other Bible passages give us similar pictures of peace and joyful abundance (see Isaiah 25:1-9; 65:17-25; Revelation 21:1-5), and even now we can see signs and catch glimpses of God’s sustaining care and his work among us in this world.

The pressures and hectic pace of life are intensified by the dangers and deep-seated hatred among nations that we hear about in the daily news. But for all who are saved, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). We have a Shepherd who watches over us, and there is no need to fear. We know that although there is enmity between nations and we will face struggles in life, God is sovereign and his everlasting kingdom will prevail.

When we are afraid, Lord, remind us of your loving care and strong presence. In Christ, Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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