Lenten Day 16: VENGEANCE
TEXT: Ps. 94:1-11
Vengeance is an injured party’s desire for retribution or repayment from those who harmed him or to demonstrate his innocence against false accusations.
VENGEANCE IS GOD’S DOMAIN, NOT OURS.
Like the ancient Hebrews many Christians have misapplied the doctrine of divine vengeance and used it as an excuse for harbouring vengeful feelings against others.
Jesus has clearly spoken out against this: in Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus says “You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.
If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Likewise in Romans 12:17-21 the Apostle Paul, by the Spirit of God, commands us saying “ Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
VENGEANCE; This is one of God’s attributes. MANY THINK THAT IT IS NOT RIGHT TO SPEAK OF GOD AS A GOD OF VENGEANCE.
Yet in Deuteronomy 32:35a God says “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” A few verses later God also says “I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me.”
What is the vengeance of God about?
Justice, retribution, punishment, paying back, balancing the scales of right and wrong, righteous and holy anger, it is God’s response to sin and rebellion.
Vengeance and the punishment of the wicked is God’s right. Vengeance and the destruction of the wicked is God’s duty.
In fact, if God were to neglect the punishment of the wicked He would cease to be a God of justice and holiness.
We need to understand that God cannot be true to His character of holiness and justice if He allows sin and rebellion to go unpunished.
If justice is to mean anything, rebellion, lawbreaking, disobedience, arrogance and all evil acts necessitate punishment.
God cannot and will not let the wicked go unpunished.
As Nahum 1:3 says The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.”
Proverbs 11:21 also says “Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.”
Now, so that we don’t end up with a skewed view of God, we need to understand that the Bible balances the fury of God’s vengeance against the sinner with the greatness of His mercy on those who repent of their wicked ways.
Our God is incredibly merciful.
In Psalm 116:5 it says “The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.”
In 2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Since vengeance and repaying evil is God’s business let’s ask:
-Is there someone you are holding a grudge against?
-Is there someone in your life who you would like to get even with?
-Are you the sort that has this mind-set “If someone hits me, does something against me or insults me, I’m going to hit them back, I’m going to get them, I’m going to repay them, I’m going to insult them in return?”
If such is the case are you willing, are you ready to ask the Lord to forgive you for such? It is a sin to think and act as such.
To carry on is to miss out on God’s blessings for you.
Let me encourage you to drop and repent of your earthly mother’s teaching and your earthly father’s teaching that says, “If someone hurts you, hurt them back”.
If you are struggling with a grudge, with forgiveness, and with a spirit of retaliation confess it now and ask the Lord to forgive you and to give you the mind of Christ, which is to love your enemies, to turn the other cheek, and to forgive those who have trespassed against you.
As much as I or you hate injustice and wrong/sinful behaviour, God hates it a 1000 times more (The fact is, it arouses His anger).
God has made a promise: He will not let the wicked go unpunished.
His holiness and commitment to justice demands this.
The only way to escape the coming wrath of God is to flee to Christ who took upon Himself the punishment for sin that you and I deserve.
On the cross Jesus endured the wrath of God for our sin- that whoever should believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
While our God is a God of vengeance, we need to remember that it is held in perfect balance with His rich and undeserved mercy.
Vengeance is God’s business, not ours. We need to learn to turn the other cheek and to wait upon the Lord- for He will not let the wicked go unpunished.