Bearing the Indignation

I can’t say it’s been easy teaching Micah to young children, ages 3 to 6.  At this age children are trying to figure out how the world works–if this, then that–and they have a heightened sense of fairness, especially when they think they have been treated unfairly.  How can the victim be the perpetrator at the same time?  How does a teacher explain to young children, “I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I shall behold his deliverance. Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will gloat over her; now she will be trodden down like the mire of the streets.” (Micah 7:9-10) In many children’s stories and fairy tales, there is usually a clear hero–innocent and benevolent–and a clear villain–evil and selfish–and justice is executed in the end.  Can anyone think of a children’s story where the hero has wronged another, suffers the shame of his punishment and is chided for it, and comes out the hero on the other end?  It may help in explaining Micah.

Imagine a child who pesters his siblings–cheating at their games, taking their toys, and jabbing his brothers and sisters with his sharp elbows.  As a punishment his mother scolds him harshly and sends him to stand with his nose in the corner.  While he endures his punishment, he begins to reflect on his wrongs and experiences a few moments of contrition.  It feels as though he’s been standing in the corner forever and he resolves to be more kind.  His siblings find him alone in the corner, and while mother is not around, they begin to taunt him, hurling insults and punches.  Knowing he can do nothing because his mother told him not to move his nose from the corner or say a word, he accepts the taunts of his siblings, knowing he probably deserves them.  His siblings continue to berate him, beating him with cruel words and sticks.  As he begins to cry from the pain of the beating, his siblings chide, “You think Mom is going to listen to you?!?”  Suddenly Mother appears and lashes out against all the other children, showing that their brother’s punishment should have deterred them from their greater cruelty.  Not only are they sent to the corner, but all their toys are thrown to the garbage heap, and then they are sent to bed without any supper.  The first naughty boy is told sternly he may eat at the table.  He sits and eats soberly, remembering his past wrongs and the plight of his brothers and sisters.  Poor mother with children who constantly try her patience!  But like the Lord, she does “not stay angry forever, but delights to show mercy.”

*****

Parents, here’s a summary of our Ephesus School memory work, if you’d like to review with your children at home:

Memory verses:  Micah 6:6-8

Hebrew words:

mercy:  chesed חסד

remnant:  she’erit שארית

hear:  shemah  שמע

mountain:  har הר

repent:  shuv שוב

appoint:  menah מנה

walk:  lechu  לכו

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