God Will Crush You Anytime . . . and He Might Just Pick Up the Pieces

200px-Micah_prophetThis was the title the children of Ephesus School named their Micah play performed last week.  Actually, if it were up to them and I hadn’t interfered, they would have kept the tidy title God Will Crush You Anytime.  It was a matter of adding cherry flavor to the medicine . . . it’s a hard pill to swallow . . . apparently harder for adults than it is for children.

One of the children wrote the first scene, carefully using the text from the Bible.  The students were intrigued with the Micah reference to Balaam, his donkey, and Balak, so they decided to add this as its second scene–a bit of comic relief.  The third scene was the Biblical passage the youngest children memorized and recited.  The fourth scene was a narrated pantomime.  This was the scene for which the audience was touched by the heap of sinners, burdened by signs of sins on their backs (greedy, deceitful, faithless, etc.).  The Lord “pardoned the sin” and crumpled the paper record of sins and  “hurled the iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Mic 7:18-19).

Below is a copy of the play, should other classes like to use one or more of the scenes.  Feel free to contact us for more clarification or your comments.

MICAH Play, Scene 1

Narrator – The children of St. Elizabeth present, The Micah Play, as we have renamed:

Everyone– God will crush you . . .  anytime.  And He might just pick up the pieces.

Narrator –  Micah was a prophet in the time of King Jotham, (steps out) King Ahaz, (steps out) and King Hezekiah.  (steps out)

Narrator:  God was mad at his people (the Israelites) because they had turned away from him.  Imagine that your own children decided they wanted to live in a different house because they could eat candy for dinner, play video games all day, and never finish their homework.  God knew how to care for his children and provide the best for them, but his children had turned from him.   They hated the good and loved the evil.  God had a lesson to teach them and bring them back under his care . . . . but it wasn’t going to be pretty.

Micah – Hear you people! The Lord is coming to judge you!  The mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will fill up, like wax before the fire.

Kings and youngest children– Where will we hide?!?

God – I will make Samaria a heap in the open country.

(Kings and youngest children pile into a heap)

Micah – There will be nowhere to hide!

God – I will wail and howl.  I will wail like the dragons, and mourn as the owls.  For her wound is incurable; right at the gate of my people.

Micah – Evil came down from the Lord, to the gates of Jerusalem.

God – Because of your transgressions I will hand you over to your enemies who will take you into captivity.

Narrator 2– It’s gonna be baaaaad! ! !

Micah– Hear, I pray you, is it not for you to know judgment,  who hate the good, and love the evil?

God– I will bring evil upon you to knock you to your senses.

Narrator 2– Now it’s gonna be real bad.

(everyone walks off stage)

MICAH Play, Scene 2

God– My people, what have I done to you?  How have I burdened you?  Answer me.  I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery.  My people, remember what Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered.

Narrator-Balak and Balaam?  Do you remember this story?  Let me refresh your memory.

Balak –I am Balak, king of Moab.  I’m worried about these Israelites who have camped next to us.  I’ve heard their God easily defeats their enemies.  Quite frankly, I’m terrified.

Narrator-He’s shaking in his boots!

Balak to Messengers-Messengers and Princes, go to Balaam and ask him to put a curse on these Israelites because they are too powerful for me.

Messengers walk to Balaam and show him their money– Balaam, come with us and curse the Israelites.

Balaam turns away– What should I do, Lord?

God – Do not go with them.  You must not put a curse on my people because they are blessed.

Balaam turns to the messengers – Go back to your own country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.

Messenger 1-But King Balak will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say.

Messenger 2-Come on, pretty please with an olive on top.  Come curse the Israelites for Balak!

Balaam– Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything to go beyond the command of the Lord my God.

God to Balaam-Since these messengers have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.

Narrator (while Balaam, messengers, donkey, and angel act out the scene) – Balaam saddled his donkey and went with the messengers of Moab.  But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him.  When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, the donkey turned off the road into a field.  Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.  Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead.  When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her.  Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth.

Donkey-  What have I done to deserve this?

Balaam– You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword, I would kill you! You are the donkey, not I!

Donkey– Open your eyes and see the angel of the Lord.

(Balaam bows down when he sees the angel)

Angel- Why have you beaten your donkey?  I have come to oppose you because your path is reckless.  The donkey saw me and turned away.  If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.

Donkey (thumbing to Balaam)- Who’s the donkey now?  Hee-haw!

God/Angel- Go with the men to Balak, but speak only what I tell you.

(Balak sees Balaam and runs to greet him) Balak – Why didn’t you come sooner?  You know I can reward you.

Balaam– Well, I have come now, but I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.  Build seven altars and prepare seven bulls and seven rams.  Perhaps the Lord will come to meet with me and I will tell you what he reveals.

Narrator– King Balak did exactly as Balaam told.  Three times Balak built seven altars and prepared a bull and ram for each.  But each time the Lord refused to curse Israel.

Balaam- God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox.  They devour hostile nations and break their bones in pieces; with their arrows they pierce them.  Like a lion they crouch and lie down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse them?  May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!

Balak (stomping and slapping his fists in anger)– I told you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them!  Leave at once and go home!  The Lord has kept you from your reward.

Balaam-Did I not say even if you gave me your palace filled with silver and gold, I must say only what the Lord says?  I will warn you of what the Israelites will do to your people, the Moabites, in the days to come.  They will crush you!

Narrator pointing to Balak- He’s shaking in his boots!

Donkey– Who’s the donkey now?  Hee-haw!!!

MICAH Play, Scene 3

Stage clears and youngest children come to recite Micah 6:6-8

 “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? 

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you

But to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Scene 4

Narrator (speaking slowly so it may be acted in pantomime)- The voice of the Lord cries to the city, your rich men are full of violence;  (Rich person wearing paper sign of  “Greed and Violence” refuses and pushes aside beggar)

Your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth (one person wearing “Deceit” speaks to beggar with his fingers crossed behind his back.)

Therefore I have begun to smite you, making you desolate because of your sins.  You shall eat, but not be satisfied (the rich person tips an imaginary empty plate to his mouth and rubs his belly in hunger)

You shall put away, but not save (the deceitful person puts imaginary things in his pocket, then turns out empty pockets.)

You shall sow, but not reap (a person wearing “Faithless” takes an imaginary hoe to the ground, and wipes his brow)

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.  I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him.

(All the pantomime actors above fall to a heap while a group of “enemies” laugh and another covers the heap with a dark blanket. The “Lord” stands by the covered heap with hand on hip, tapping his foot. )

He will bring me forth to the light; I shall behold his deliverance.

(The Lord lifts the blanket off the heap.)

Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, “Where is the Lord your God?”  The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; they shall lay their hands on their mouths; they shall come trembling and turn in dread to the Lord our God, and they shall fear because of thee.

(The “enemies,” wearing “arrogant” “gossip” “envious” on their backs look afraid, covering their mouths, and trembling.   They join the others in the heap on the floor.)

Who is a God like thee, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgressions?  He does not retain his anger for ever because he delights in steadfast love.  He will again have compassion upon us.  He will tread our iniquities under foot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

(Both “Israel” in the original heap and the “Enemies” who joined them remain bowed to the Lord while the Lord removes each of the “sins.”  He shows the paper sign with the ascribed sin to the audience, crumples  it up, and throws it far away.  He pulls up each “sinner” to stand aright and hugs each with a hand of blessing on their head. As each one is raised from the heap, join hands across the stage.  Bow together at the end.)

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