Last Sunday, I came into possession of a note with the distinctively good penmanship of my #1. Upon opening it, I found a clever little poem that ended with a sentiment something like “…you are sick in bed/the world would be better without your big fat head”.
Turns out he had written that note for a girl in his Sunday School class (actually, one of Pooka‘s daughters). Strangely, this was a mere hour after an excellent sermon from visiting preacher John Fesko on Psalm 41, in particular verse 5:
My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die, and his name perish?”
So when we are home for lunch on Sunday afternoons, we try to remember to take some time to go over the boys’ copywork or notes. #3 read his verse, #2 read his verses, and then it was #1’s turn to review his notes. He demonstrated a solid understanding of the sermon, especially when I asked him at the end, “What about this verse 5, where he is on his sickbed and his enemies are wishing he would just die?” He responded, “if those were my enemies and they were wishing I was dead, I would probably just despair and die.”
And so the timing is perfect to spring the trap, 2 Sam 12-style. “Why don’t you tell us about this note?” I pulled it out of my shirt pocket and handed it over. With just a glance at it, he turned ashen, “Where did you get this?”
And so we dealt with it, including reinforcing Fesko’s great point that we tend to want to read ourselves into passages like Psalm 41 as the beleaguered victims, those who deserve to be upheld because of our integrity (Ps 41:12), but it is more appropriate to cast ourselves as the enemies, those who betray Christ like Judas (see John 13:18 for the fulfillment of Ps 41:9).