Advent Devotional | Day 17: Jesus and the Nations


Jesús y las Naciones

Spanish / Micah 4:1–5

Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem
– Micah 4:2

The people of Israel had divided into two nations, Israel and Judah. Both became degraded in their way of life. The people who had been chosen to promote life became an embarrassment to the God who chose them. Both Israel and Judah left God aside and put their trust in other gods, building idols and worshiping at altars where they offered human sacrifices (2 Chronicles 27-28). The rulers fell prey to the lust for power and riches. Religious leaders and prophets became businessmen, giving hopeful messages only to those who paid, telling them what they wanted to hear. Bribery and extortion thrived in the justice system, causing greater deprivation and suffering for the poor and vulnerable among the people. Women and children especially suffered mistreatment as their society was polarized—the rich on one side and the poor on the other, the powerful on one side and the vulnerable on the other. Moreover, the rupture of the relationship between Israel and Judah rose to such a point that wars arose between them, and they made alliances with other nations against each other!

Into this context, Micah spoke the word of the Lord. He denounced all these things and warned God’s people of the consequences of their actions. With pain in his heart, he announced a coming invasion, significant destruction upon these peoples, and their exile.

But the prophet also announced messages of hope, unity, peace, and security for the nations in new times with a new government, if they repented and returned to God. He promised the intervention of the Lord, great in power and mercy, who will mediate and resolve conflicts between powerful and distant nations. He will transform the instruments of war into tools to sustain and promote life. He will teach the way of life in abundance and make those who seek and trust in Him walk in the path of good works.

In Latin America and around the world, many countries are against each other. We hear of bombings, invasions, terrorist attacks, and other tragedies. Several nations are going through internal crises because of division in the population. Some have gone through strong clashes among their own citizens, leaving the whole country in mourning.

My country, Bolivia, is no different. It also has international and internal conflicts. Internally, it is divided into factions thanks to leaders who seek their own interests. We have lived through difficult times of conflict that left us weeping and mourning. Corruption is the worst of the evils in our society because it has taken over the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of our government and even the Electoral Organ.

There is no doubt that looking at this reality is discouraging. But the message of hope of the prophet Micah is also for my country Bolivia and all nations. The Lord will intervene. He will mediate between us and other countries. He is able to bring peace, unity, security, trust, and well-being for those of us who trust in Him because He has opened the way for access to God! And as we find peace with God, we learn to trust Him and walk in His ways, and that is what transforms relationships and families and communities and even nations. We will embrace and share with one another rather than serve our own interests and greed. We can lay down our lives for others because Jesus has laid down His for us. A new era has begun under the reign of Jesus Christ, one who is impartial, righteous, sensitive, equitable, and wise.

So I ask myself questions and invite you to join me, dear reader: How do you convey this message of peace as a citizen of heaven? How can your following Jesus’ ways contribute to peace and reconciliation in your relationships, your family, your country and the world around you? In this Advent season, may we find hope in the peace Jesus came to bring, and may we be agents of that peace as we “walk in the name of the Lord our God now and forever.”

Carmen Urey
Maria del Carmen Urey
Cochabamba, Bolivia

Carmen Urey lives in Cochabamba, Bolivia. She is a facilitator for Langham Preaching, coordinates an escuelita (preaching club) in the church, and serves as a member of the Bolivia Langham National Team.