Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: PROCRASTINATE (08/04/16)
TITLE: A Delayed Sacrifice
By Raymond Bouchoc
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“Why must I sacrifice Jeremiah? It’s not fair! Why can’t I sacrifice my sheep instead?” Micah snapped.
“I wish you would stop calling him that!” Micah’s father snapped back. “You’re just making things more difficult for yourself. God said to sacrifice. So we do. We should want to do it, too, as an expression of our gratitude for His blessings.”
“I am thankful for His blessings, but why does it have to be that one? Why not the sheep?”
“You know the Law. It has to be a one-year-old ram without blemish. Tomorrow’s the day, and that’s the one,” Micah’s father pointed to Jeremiah.
“It’s not fair,” Micah wouldn’t do it. No one understood how he felt.
Micah avoided his dad as best he could the rest of the day. When he had to talk, he answered gruffly. Whenever his father came close, he kicked the dirt, threw things around, and scowled.
For days, Micah avoided his father. He wasn’t going to make the sacrifice. He would put it off as long as possible. What difference would it make, anyway?
A week passed, then a month. Micah’s dad did not say anything, but with each delay, guilt built within him.
Finally, one day, Micah and his father woke and began their errands. Micah’s father hesitated, and then said quietly, “Today is the day for the offering.”
Micah dropped his head, “I know.” He couldn’t put it off any longer.
After a while, Micah couldn’t find his sheep, and went looking for her. Anger washed over him anew. Not only did he have to sacrifice his ram, but he lost his sheep, too. As he traipsed about, he griped and stomped. He kicked at pebbles, sending them skittering away. He swiped his staff at every tree and rock he walked by.
He strayed from the path, flailing and ranting nonsensically and swinging his staff at a bent tree in front of him.
Missing, Micah’s momentum carried him forward, past the tree, and over a ledge. Shocked at suddenly seeing open space below him, he twisted his body, and shot out his arm, snagging a branch of that bent tree, leaving him dangling twenty feet above the ground.
The branch he held creaked, barely able to support his weight. Micah would not be able to hold on much longer. Sweat from his mounting fear poured down his face. Why did he put off doing what was right for so long? Why did he grumble so much?
“Oh, God. Forgive me for not wanting to offer Jere-…, my ram to you. Forgive me for avoiding what I knew I should do. I am thankful for everything. Really, I am.”
“Micah?” his father shouted in the distance. He came scurrying around the hill below and saw him hanging there. “Micah! Hold still. Listen. Behind you on the left, if you stretch out your leg, I think you can reach the side of the hill.”
Gingerly, Micah stretched back his foot. Sure enough, he found the rock face, enabling him to get a grip on the cliff and climb out of his predicament. His father ran up, and they hugged.
“I’m sorry, father.”
“Now, now, son. It’s all good. God has blessed us today.”
With business to attend to, they went off with the ram, and made the sacrifice together. They watched. Then they prayed.
“Come with me. I have something to show you.” Back at the stable, Micah’s father said, “I found your sheep.”
Micah ran inside, knowing what he would find. His lamb lay there with three new lambs at her side.
Coming in behind him, Micah’s dad said, “Son, wasn’t this the first place you looked?”
“I must have let myself get too angry to think right. I guess God needed to get my attention. I don’t deserve it, but God has truly blessed me. I started the day with two sheep, and ended the day with four. Praise be to God.”
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