This is why I lament and mourn. This is why I go around in rags and barefoot. This is why I howl like a pack of coyotes, and moan like a mournful owl in the night. Micah 1:8 (MSG)
This morning, as my daughter prepared to go to school, we had a little "come to Jesus" conversation. I'm not very stern by nature and this was a relatively minor issue. Nevertheless, it sure resonated as I read today's chapter. Parenting, I've discovered, requires a discerning mixture of affection and admonishment. Real love is not always gifts, hugs and pats on the back. Love also requires intervention, crucial conversation and consequences. The tough part is having the wisdom to know the difference and apply the appropriate side of love at the right moment (and realizing that you'll always make mistakes).
The prophets of the Old Testament, like Micah, are sometimes difficult to read and understand in a 21st century context. It helps me to consider that God is simply parenting humanity, and the prophets are his mouthpiece. The prophets were the vehicles of God's intervening, crucial conversations with his rebellious children. They convey a Father's stern rebuke and the warning of disastrous consequences. They also convey the hope and love that every parent has for their children – even when they mess up.