11 Mar Vengeance Is Mine
“Vengeance is Mine, thus saith the LORD.”
Yes! That is what I am talking about! Somebody has to pay. That guy who cut me off yesterday in traffic…YES! Him! Give him a little sprinkling of wrath today, God. Take that vengeance grinder, and crank out a little shower of wrath. Forget grace, I want some payback. You do Your job, and I will do mine—finding people for you to correct.
As much as we may want this to be the exchange when the proper scenario presents itself, it does not…and should not…work like this. This line appears in Scripture in three places: once in Deuteronomy, and that passage is referred to in Romans and Hebrews. The first occurrence comes from God in what is called The Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32.
Moses is speaking as a prophet in his last message to the Israelites before he dies. He tells the people when he is gone, they are going to rebel. He predicts the wheels are going to fall off because they are going to reject God for idols, false gods, and ignore His law. The enemies around them will rejoice, and they will believe the Israelites’ defeat is because of their greatness. But Israel will be vindicated. God will not stand for the posturing of His enemies, and He promises they will be judged for what they have done.
Vengeance is Mine…and payback. Yes, God. I got it. It is your job. I will not think about their punishment anymore. …but they are going to get punished, right?! I need to know this infraction was noticed, and You see everything, so I am good there. Right?! I mean…You are going to do Your part, aren’t You? We all know they are in the wrong, but I also need to know You are going to do something about this. Vengeance is Mine.
Vengeance is God’s responsibility. Only God’s. We are not responsible for pointing out the sins; NO ONE likes a tattle-tale. We are not responsible for remembering the sins; NO ONE likes a walking court recorder. We are not responsible for punishing the sins; NO ONE likes a hypocrite. Vengeance is Mine.
One reason God does not want us worried about vengeance is because it is a distraction. Vengeance is something we can think about and obsess about. Our attention is focused on retribution and reparation and guilty people knowing they are wrong. We feel better about ourselves because the negativity about our own shortcomings has moved from us to someone else, even if for just one moment. Vengeance is Mine.
God does not want us fixated on vengeance, because He knows we deserve it. None of us measures up to God’s standard, and we are all due vengeance. God is always aware of our sin, even when we choose to be ignorant of our transgressions.
Vengeance is a blood sport, and it is not for the faint of heart. While we are due vengeance, Jesus came to take that wrath on His shoulders, so we could live. Moses relays God’s promise to us all: “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance on His adversaries, and will atone for His land and His people” (Deut. 32:43). Jesus atoned for our sins, making us part of God’s family.
In Jesus, we are no longer adversaries of God. We are the redeemed. Maybe we should focus a little more on redemption instead of vengeance…God knows we could all use a little more grace.
Blessings to you,