The Insulted King

August 24, 2012 - 5:00 am

“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” — Micah 7:18

Moses Cordevero, a 16th century rabbi living in Safed, wrote an entire book on the last three verses of Micah. His book, titled Palm Tree of Deborah, is all about emulating God. The books begins by explaining that man was created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). That means, according to Rabbi Cordevero, in order for man to reach his potential, he must imitate God. The more he can mimic his Creator, the greater a man he will be.

So, where is the instruction manual for becoming godly? Cordevero pointed to the last verses of Micah. In them, he identified 13 character traits of God. The person who wishes to perfect himself will master them all.

Here is a look at trait number one. “Who is a God like you?” asked the prophet. God is unique – no one is like Him. In what way is the LORD unlike any other deity? Was Micah referring to God’s strength?  Perhaps he was referring to God’s glory? No, the trait for which God is most unique is his unfathomable patience.

Jewish tradition teaches that the angels call God “the insulted King.” What do they mean by this? Cordevero explained that at any given moment, God is sustaining the entire world. Nothing could exist if God were not breathing life into it every single second of the day.

And what do we do with the life force that God gives to us? We use it against him! When we sin, it’s like a King who gives his servants food and money and then they use their strength and funds to lead a revolt against him. How insulting!

God is unique because any other ruler would dispose of such ungrateful subjects. But not our God. He patiently waits for us to mend our ways. He waits years – even until the day of a person’s death – for him to repent. God’s love for us is so deep, and His patience is without limit.

In his book, Cordevero encourages us to acquire the patience of God. Although someone may insult you and repay your goodness with bad, we are not to take away our love. We are to wait patiently and humbly until they can fix their ways.

Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t limits. God is patient as long as He sees that the person is still capable of repenting. When it’s obvious that a person will never become better, we are forbidden to let them hurt us over and over again. However, when it comes to an ungrateful teenager or a grumpy co-worker, it pays to wait it out.

God is incredibly patient with us. Shouldn’t we learn to be more patient with each other?


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