I have been reading through Micah recently. For those who don’t know, Micah is a minor prophet who prophesied about the upcoming Assyrian invasion of Israel’s northern kingdom. He was a contemporary of Isaiah and lived in a time when God had had enough of the disobedience of His children. Though God promised a return of the remnant of the captives He also promised a real and certain discipline at the hands of invaders because of the way they had lived. Some might call this taking them out behind the woodshed.
Ever felt like that with your own children? You warn, discipline, rebuke, teach, discipline, yell, scream about some offense and they don’t listen to you. Your heart as a parent is always for their good but they cross the line so much that they force your hand to MAJOR DISCIPLINE. It’s times like this that you are glad the Scripture gives the direction in Proverbs 23: 13-14, “13 Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you beat him with the rod, he will not die. 14 You shall beat him with the rod, And deliver his soul from Sheol.” Now don’t get me wrong: I am not talking about mistreating your children. Heaven knows that there are children who suffer from unreasonable and unbiblical discipline at the hands of out of control parents. I am in no way condoning child abuse. But my point is that there comes a time when MAJOR OFFENSE REQUIRES MAJOR DISCIPLINE (which by the way is not always physical punishment). That is where God was at before the Assyrian and Babylonian captivity. Enough is enough!
But in the midst of His railing through the prophet Micah He gives hope. Hope not only of a return to His favor but hope of the coming Messiah. In the same breath He speaks of certain siege works being built to invade and the next thought was of the leader that He would send. In Micah 5:2 we see the familiar verse about Jesus’ birthplace: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
What does it say about a God who gives hope when He has us out behind the woodshed? The same thing that it says about the committed parent who disciplines their child and then runs to comfort them. He loves us! Even as He had to endure the punishment of the captivity, (and don’t think that the atrocities that were waged against Israel didn’t break His heart) He longed for days where peace and harmony would again reign in Israel. Later in this same passage He describes the rule of the messiah, “4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. 5 And he will be their peace.”
THAT WHAT I CALL HOPE BEHIND THE WOODSHED!