This chapter exhorts us to trust in Jesus as our Rock eternal, who will show zeal for his people and consume his enemies. The nation of Israel will be enlarged, and the righteous dead will rise.
This is a song of Judah that will be sung at the beginning of the Millennium after Jesus has humbled the nations of the earth and delivered Israel from her enemies, as described in chapters 24 and 25.

Verse 1 tells us that the Lord's deliverance, like walls and a rampart, will make Jerusalem secure. This is in contrast to the fortified city of Israel's enemies that is thrown down into the dust at the end of chapter 25. Chapter 24 ended with Jesus ruling from Mount Zion in majestic splendour.

In verse 2 Zion's gates are opened to a righteous nation that remains trustworthy. This is possibly so that its people may join in the wedding banquet that Isaiah mentioned in 25:6. Micah 5:5 tells us that when the Assyrian (the Antichrist) invades Israel, God will raise up seven shepherds (rulers of nations) to resist him. These righteous nations that rise to Israel's defence are not identified, but it is likely that the righteous nation mentioned here is one of them.

Verse 3 describes the peace and safety that people will have who trust in Jesus. In context, this likely relates primarily to God's protection of his faithful followers during the Great Tribulation. The Israelites were present in Egypt when God sent plagues through Moses, but God protected them so they were not harmed. Various scriptures indicate that during the Great Tribulation, Christians and Jews will suffer intense persecution by the Antichrist and his empire. But we should not fear the plagues that God sends during the seal and trumpet judgments. Somehow, God will protect his people from them.

In verse 4, Jesus is our 'enduring protector', (literally 'eternal rock').

Verses 5 and 6 continue the theme from the previous chapter of Israel's enemies being thrown down and humiliated. They will be 'trampled underfoot by the feet of the oppressed, by the soles of the poor'. As Isaiah prophesied in 14:2, "They will make their captors captives and rule over the ones who oppressed them".

Verses 7 to 8 describe the straight path that God makes for the righteous. As we watch his judgments unfold (presumably the seal and trumpet judgments), we should wait upon God, longing expectantly for his fame and reputation to grow. Inevitably the Great Tribulation will be a very difficult time for believers (as well as for unbelievers), but it should also be an exciting time for us as we anticipate the end of the story.

Verse 9 exhorts us to seek God during the night and at dawn, for when God's judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world will learn righteousness. In other words, his judgments should motivate us to pray earnestly.

Verse 10 is an interesting statement about the wicked, who in context are the Islamic nations that fight against Israel in the end times. "If the wicked are shown mercy, they do not learn about justice. Even in a land where right is rewarded, they act unjustly; they do not see the Lord’s majesty revealed". In recent years, many Muslim refugees have poured into Europe, but even when they are treated with mercy and kindness, some of them commit acts of terrorism against their hosts. They are blind to God's goodness that is shown to them through the compassion of their European hosts. Fortunately, this generalisation is not always true. Many Muslim refugees respond positively to the kindness shown to them, and some find faith in Jesus. The KJV translates this verse, "Let favour be showed to the wicked…", so this verse can be seen as an exhortation to reach out to them. In Malachi 3:5, speaking about judgments at the second coming, God says that he will judge those 'who refuse to help the immigrant and in this way show they do not fear me'.

Verse 11 is better translated by the KJV, "LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them." Those who act unjustly in return for mercy (v10) will eventually learn the hard way.

Verse 12 looks forward to Jesus establishing peace for Israel. Verse 13 declares, "O Lord, our God, masters other than you have ruled us, but we praise your name alone". Verse 14 expresses relief that these masters will never again rise to haunt them because God has judged and destroyed them.

Verse 15 tells us that at that time, God will enlarge the nation of Israel, extending all its borders and revealing his majesty. (For Israel's territorial conquests in the end times, also see Psalm 108:7-13, Isaiah 54:3, Amos 9:11-12, Obadiah 1:17-21, and Zephaniah 2:8-10, or search by tags: 'Israel inherits land from her enemies'.

In verses 16 to 18, the 'they' and the 'we' both refer to the people of Israel. During the Great Tribulation, they cry out to God for deliverance, and are like a pregnant woman crying out in the agonies of labour. Micah uses the same metaphor in 4:9-10 and in 5:3. Israel is delivered from her agonies by the arrival of Jesus as her deliverer. Consequently, the second coming is likened to Israel giving birth in Matthew 24:8 and in Revelation 12:5. In Psalm 2:7, Jesus' second coming and installation as king is likened to a rebirth.

Verse 14 expresses relief that Israel's wicked rulers will never rise from death to haunt them again. In contrast, verses 19 to 21 proclaim the bodily resurrection of the righteous dead at the second coming. The righteous dead will rise again to haunt the nations that oppressed and killed them! In verse 20, this calls for God's people to enter their inner rooms and to hide in God's protection until his judgment is over. When Jesus was teaching on prayer, he alluded to this verse in Matthew 6:6, "But whenever you pray, go into your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you".

In response to God's people entering the hidden place of prayer (v20), God comes out from where he lives to punish the wicked, and to unhide the hidden blood of his slain people (v21). In 45:15, Isaiah tells us, "Yes, you are a God who keeps hidden, O God of Israel, deliverer!" Put another way, if we go into the hiding place of prayer, God comes out of his hiding place to deliver us and to unhide what is hidden!
Places: Jerusalem, Judah, Israel
Symbols: Birth
Tags: Israel inherits land from her enemies, Millennium, Resurrection of the dead, Judgment of surrounding nations, Peace on Earth, Jesus as the Rock, Prayer for deliverance, Israel gives birth to Jesus
Judah Will Celebrate
26 At that time this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city! The Lord’s deliverance, like walls and a rampart, makes it secure.
2 Open the gates so a righteous nation can enter – one that remains trustworthy.
3 You keep completely safe the people who maintain their faith, for they trust in you.
4 Trust in the Lord from this time forward, even in Yah, the Lord, an enduring protector!
5 Indeed, the Lord knocks down those who live in a high place, he brings down an elevated town; he brings it down to the ground, he throws it down to the dust.
6 It is trampled underfoot by the feet of the oppressed, by the soles of the poor.”

God’s People Anticipate Vindication

7 The way of the righteous is level, the path of the righteous that you make is straight.
8 Yes, as your judgments unfold, O Lord, we wait for you. We desire your fame and reputation to grow.
9 I look for you during the night, my spirit within me seeks you at dawn, for when your judgments come upon the earth, those who live in the world learn about justice.
10 If the wicked are shown mercy, they do not learn about justice. Even in a land where right is rewarded, they act unjustly; they do not see the Lord’s majesty revealed.
11 O Lord, you are ready to act, but they don’t even notice. They will see and be put to shame by your angry judgment against humankind, yes, fire will consume your enemies.
12 O Lord, you make us secure, for even all we have accomplished, you have done for us.
13 O Lord, our God, masters other than you have ruled us, but we praise your name alone.
14 The dead do not come back to life, the spirits of the dead do not rise. That is because you came in judgment and destroyed them, you wiped out all memory of them.
15 You have made the nation larger, O Lord, you have made the nation larger and revealed your splendor, you have extended all the borders of the land.
16 O Lord, in distress they looked for you; they uttered incantations because of your discipline.
17 As when a pregnant woman gets ready to deliver and strains and cries out because of her labor pains, so were we because of you, O Lord.
18 We were pregnant, we strained, we gave birth, as it were, to wind. We cannot produce deliverance on the earth; people to populate the world are not born.
19 Your dead will come back to life; your corpses will rise up. Wake up and shout joyfully, you who live in the ground! For you will grow like plants drenched with the morning dew, and the earth will bring forth its dead spirits.
20 Go, my people! Enter your inner rooms! Close your doors behind you! Hide for a little while, until his angry judgment is over!
21 For look, the Lord is coming out of the place where he lives, to punish the sin of those who live on the earth. The earth will display the blood shed on it; it will no longer cover up its slain.