In the Last Days….
Prayer for Understanding
Lord of Peace, Lord of Glory, we have come and gathered in the House of God to listen to Your words. Teach us Your ways, thus we may walk in Your path and walk in Your name all the days of our lives. Amen
Let me tell you a story. A story you’ve probably never heard before… or forgotten.
April 23rd, 1951, the 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Regiment (2 PPCLI) and an Australian Regiment established a defensive position at Kapyong Valley, Korea. It was less than three kilometers wide, surrounded by hills.
On that night, the Australians came under heavy attack but were able to hold out until the next morning before being forced to withdraw. After they left, the Canadians were all by themselves. At 10:00 p.m. on April 24th, heavy assaults of the Chinese began.
The Canadian soldiers held their position tight in the midst of the horror of close combat. Yet, besieged by waves of attackers, our Canadian soldiers were almost run over. Do you know what they did? They called in artillery strikes on their own location to hit the enemy amongst them.
The Canadians took cover while the artillery strikes struck the Chinese troops. Thankfully, the risky and suicidal move worked. The enemy was driven off, and our Canadian soldiers were able to protect Kapyong Valley. Their determination and courage contributed significantly to South Korea and the UN to defeat the enemy that year.
The Battle of Kapyong is one of Canada’s greatest, yet least-known, military achievements. For those two days in April 1951, roughly 700 Canadian troops helped defend a crucial hill on the front lines of the Korean War against about 5,000 Chinese soldiers.
But it came at a cost. Ten Canadians were killed and 23 were wounded, even though it could be considered relatively light in view of the fierce fighting while the Chinese force suffered an estimated 2,000 casualties. Our fallen soldiers at Kapyong were among the 516 Canadians who died in service during the Korean War.
A conflict once regarded as ‘the forgotten war’ is an important part of Canada’s military history. With each passing year, the roll call of veterans gets shorter. The average age of a Korean War veteran is 92 years old. My father is a Korean War veteran, and he is 89 years old.
After the First World War, the primary hope on Armistice Day in 1918, was that it would have been ‘the war to end all wars’. Unfortunately, even more than 100 years after 1918, that hope seems still a distant dream.
Soldiers and civilians, including children, are still dying or suffering from severely wounded minds and bodies from wars. World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Russia, and Israel & Hamas ... The list of vicious conflicts and misery is long and depressing…
The wish to end all wars was not just ours but it was the desperate hope and longing of the war-weary people of Israel and Judah in the prophet Micah’s time.
Micah was a prophet in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, who carried out his prophetic ministry around the time of Isaiah.
Micah predicted the fall of Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the future destruction of Jerusalem. As he predicted, the Northern Kingdom fell before the vigorous attacks of the Assyrian enemy in 721 B.C., and its people were taken to a foreign land as captives.
During this dark time when the sins of the northern kingdom of Israel were being punished by Assyrian invaders, Micah could see that the same sinful activities, such as idolatry (unfaithfulness to God), Baal worship, child sacrifice, and sorcery were creeping south to Judah and Jerusalem.
In the previous chapter of today’s text, he focused on the crimes of the political officials, priests, prophets, and judges who were found to be self-serving and corrupt in all their ways.
At the end of chapter 3, Micah prophesied, “... because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.” The image of the future Jerusalem he predicted sounds dreadful and hopeless.
However, the message of Micah was not just about judgment and destruction upon Judah for unfaithfulness and disobedience, but a declaration of God’s deliverance and restoration.
Even in the midst of strong warnings to Judah, Micah included the hope that God would relent on the foretold judgment IF they turn from evil. He proclaimed not merely the restoration of the nation, but the transformation and exaltation of Judah and Jerusalem.
Micah announced very auspicious and reassuring visions of peace in the future. V 1 starts with "In the last days" Although the people might have anticipated this would happen in the near future, no one in Micah’s generation was able to see it coming.
It certainly took place partially in the coming of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and it will reach its total fulfillment at the time of His second coming.
In his vision, Micah saw four things happen. First, the mountain of the Lord’s temple will dominate all mountains, and it will be exalted above every other mountain and hill. His Name will be above all names.
Eph 2:20 says, “God has put Christ over all rulers, authorities, powers, and kings, not only in this world but also in the next. God put everything under His power and made Him the head over everything.”
Secondly, Micah speaks of a time in the future when people will wholeheartedly come to worship the Lord not because they are told to or have to, but gladly come to worship God. These people will desire to be taught the ways of the Lord and to obey the Word.
V 2, “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.”
When many nations gather together in the House of God, He will teach them, and teach us His Words. And we will know how to live God’s ways, how to live together in harmony and love.
In the following verses Micah begins to give some of the blessings and freedom people would enjoy. He says, “He shall judge between many peoples, and shall settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.”
Today, when nations have disagreements, what do they do? When two or three groups, parties, tribes, or nations have disputes that cannot be resolved over the table, what do they do? They fight, kidnap, kill, and fire up the guns.
Even now, look at Ukraine and Russia. Look at Israel and Hamas. It seems like they will fight to die. Until one nation or a group of people is totally destroyed.
But in the last days, the Prince of Peace will be the Judge of the nation’s Supreme Court. With His wisdom and authority, He will be the Mediator and settle disputes as the Ultimate Judge for us all. We don’t need to bring guns out, send fighter jets out, or press the nuclear button.
The next verse is the well-known verse. “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”
In the garden of the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York, there are several sculptures and statues that have been donated by different countries. One of the sculptures was a gift from the then-Soviet Union presented in 1959.
Inspired by today’s text, a prominent Soviet sculptor and artist Yevgeniy Vuchetich made a bronze statue that represents the figure of a man holding a hammer in one hand and, in the other, a sword which he is making into a plowshare, symbolizing man's desire to put an end to war and convert the means of destruction into creative tools for the benefit of all mankind.
Micah prophesied that nations would quit fighting each other, and quit learning how to kill one another. There will be no need for training for war, it says.
Every Thursday evening, I go to my unit - which is the 39 Combat Engineer Regiment - for a weekly training, called parade night. On parade night, reservists do weapon training, weapon cleanings, rucksack marches for physical fitness, etc.
Even last Thursday evening, these young soldiers, in their 20s, the youngest one is only 16 years old, were learning how to shoot C7s and C9s - light machine guns- and how to clean them.
I’m incredibly proud of these men and women who are committed, disciplined, and trained to defend our country and protect world peace. However, at the same time, I’m sometimes saddened that they have to be trained for war. But, how comforting Micah’s vision is. It will not be necessary for anyone to be trained for war in the last days.
V4 continues, “Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken.” People will be able to rest sitting under their own shade tree in safety, free from terrorist attacks, free from gun violence, free from bombs, and free from war.
As I was watching the news about the Israel & Hamas war, the story of one Israeli reporter caught my attention. His name was Roy Eden. He strongly believed that peace could take place between Israel and Gaza, and lived near the Iron Wall - the border barrier located on the Israeli side of the Gaza–Israel border.
He used to say that if there was no fence, the Iron Wall, the people on both sides could live in peace. He truly wished for peace between his country and Gaza. Sadly, he and his wife died on Oct 7th, when the Hamas terror group broke through the border.
Everybody wants peace. Is peace still achievable in our day? We may be hesitant to say ‘yes.’ It seems too unrealistic and impossible. Perhaps this is one reason why we need to hear Micah’s message today.
Micah speaks of a peace that is only achievable if God accomplishes it by His power and by His grace through Jesus Christ His Son. The peace that Micah speaks of is the result of love, grace, and hope to work upon the hearts of the believers in a profound way.
God invites us to dwell in His Peace and share it - share the peace of God that the world cannot give, that the world cannot understand.
Perhaps, today, Remembrance Sunday is an opportunity to remind us of God’s command. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12). Jesus Christ laid down His life for each of us to save us.
Those 516 Canadians who died in service during the Korean War; those 165 Canadians who died and those more than 2,000 members of the CAF who were injured during the war in Afghanistan; all our veterans, those who are now deployed; and those who serve and protect our communities are clear examples of Christ’s love and peace. They sacrificially gave up their lives, faced fears, and carried the scars that we might live as we are.
I’m not telling you to lay down your life now. But remember that the Lord has called us to become a channel of God’s peace and love so that our families, friends, community, city, and country may be strengthened, healed, renewed, and transformed.
Where there was once division, conflicts, and war, there can now be a lasting and abiding peace through you and me. Through words of peace, acts of kindness, sacrificial giving, nonjudgmental acceptance, and voluntary commitment. These little acts of peace can make a difference in the world.
Our special offerings for the Hummingbird Ministries, our gifts to the unfortunate families in Langley through the Christmas Hamper program… Believe it or not, those heart-filled gifts can bring peace and healing.
And I pray that the day may come when war itself shall be no more; guns may be converted into ploughshares. Armoured vehicles may be turned into combines, fighter jets into passenger aircraft, and battleships into cruise ships. And every nation gathers together in the house of God and exalts His Name, and we all walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.
Let us pray.
Today, we remember all our proud Canadian women and men who served and who are serving our nation. We especially ask that You hold forever all who have suffered during war, those who returned wounded, those who mourned, those who are at the battlefield, those who wait anxiously at home.
And as You remember them, remember us, O Lord; grant us peace in our time and a longing for the day when people of every language, race, and nation will be brought into the unity of Christ’s kingdom. This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen