The Party Planners
My cousin Sandy and I were seasoned party planners at the age of 7. We took a lot of pride and spent a lot of time planning parties for special occasions and not so special occasions. We enjoyed the “planning” stage as much as the event itself. We spent hours covering all the details and writing them down in our spiral notebooks. The best and most controversial event took place over Christmas break. We planned a huge spectacular birthday party for my younger brother. We made all the huge decisions that are always involved in children’s birthday parties. Should the handmade invitations have red or orange crepe paper? Should we make the “Pin the tail of the Donkey”, happy or sad? Should we blend in some our original artwork with the Donny Osmond posters decorations? Once these final decisions were made, we hand delivered the invites and we were ready to go for Saturday! Unfortunately, with all our enthusiasm we missed a few minor details in our plan.
The first minor detail we didn’t cover was timing. Somehow the fact that it wasn’t my brother’s birthday never entered our minds. In our effort to create a fantastic shindig we overlooked that my brother was born in June not December. The second small insignificant detail that we missed writing down in our notebooks was that we should have told our moms. So, the day of the Gala arrived, and both of our mothers were stunned when children started showing up with birthday gifts for my brother. Once we began playing our homemade version of “Pin the tail of the Donkey”, my aunt went scrambling to the grocery store for snacks and a birthday cake. What else could our moms do but go along with it? My brother, well he won! He had two birthdays that year. On the other hand, me and Sandy? Well, we lost and were forced into early retirement from party planning.
The plan of judgment
The plans of man and the plans of 7-year-old girls with overactive imaginations are never perfect. But God’s plans are, even if the plan means we lose! God’s plans for Israel in the book of Micah is loaded up with losing. The Israelites have been acting pretty bad. The people themselves had been worshipping idols and letting the poor and needy in their communities go without. Their leaders were no better. They had become wealthy through theft and greed. God describes their behavior in Micah 3:1-3, “And I said: “Hear now, O heads of Jacob, and you rulers of the house of Israel: Is it not for you to know justice? You who hate good and love evil; who strip the skin from My people, and the flesh from their bones; who also eat the flesh of My people, flay their skin from them, break their bones, and chop them in pieces like meat for the pot, like flesh in the caldron.” God tells the Israelites through Micah, that He is going to judge Israel because of their sins. His plan is to make Israel a wasteland and then let the Assyrians and Babylonians hold them in captivity. This is God’s plan of judgment.
The plan of mercy
Because God is a just God, He also has a plan of mercy of restoration and redemption. That would be no one other than Jesus the Christ. Micah describes this coming Ruler in chapter 5:1-2, “Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops; he has laid siege against us; they will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” Then Micah tells them more about Jesus. “Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; and they shall abide, for now, He shall be great to the ends of the earth, and this One shall be peace”.
I am sure that Israel felt like they were losing after Micah told them what God had planned for them. I am sure that you too, might think or have thought that you are losing. God loves us though. Even if we are in a bad situation (due to our own sins or not), God offers His hand of mercy out. The Israelites had to lose but God’s ultimate plan is that they win. When we fail or when we fall, pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and getting on with life is admirable, but is that really what God wants us to do? Maybe He wants us to learn something through it all. Maybe He wants us to humble ourselves. Just like the lessons in Micah, maybe we have to lose to win.