Vengeance is Mine! says God, but my will is…. (more we don’t want to hear…but need to!)

English: Icon of Jesus Christ

English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotional/Discussion thought of the day….

WARNING – If you don’t like yesterday’s post…read on.. and be challenged some more.

One of the challenges for people who claim to be Christian, is to encounter the entire counsel of God in scripture…and not just isolate passages.  Here are some incredibly timely…

 18  Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. 19  Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God’s anger do it. For the scripture says, “I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord.” Romans 12:18-19 (TEV)

 2  Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; and anyone who does so will bring judgment on himself. 3  For rulers are not to be feared by those who do good, but by those who do evil. Would you like to be unafraid of those in authority? Then do what is good, and they will praise you, 4  because they are God’s servants working for your own good. But if you do evil, then be afraid of them, because their power to punish is real. They are God’s servants and carry out God’s punishment on those who do evilRomans 13:2-4 (TEV)

In light of the recent attacks on Boston, we really, really like these verses.  We want vengeance, and as long as it meats our standard, we are more than willing to let God use whoever He wants, the FBI, local police, my prefereance – the USMC  – whoever.

But if we are to trust God with wreaking vengeance on these horrific sins, then we have to trust Him…(gulp) to do it in a way consistent with His character, with His will….

and that may mean… He will not get vengeance in a way that we will appreciate.  Matter of fact, we may hate the idea.

A couple of other passages:

 8  But do not forget one thing, my dear friends! There is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years; to him the two are the same. 9  The Lord is not slow to do what he has promised, as some think. Instead, he is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins. 2 Peter 3:8-9 (TEV)

 21  It was to this that God called you, for Christ himself suffered for you and left you an example, so that you would follow in his steps. 22  He committed no sin, and no one ever heard a lie come from his lips. 23  When he was insulted, he did not answer back with an insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but placed his hopes in God, the righteous Judge. 24  Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed. 25  You were like sheep that had lost their way, but now you have been brought back to follow the Shepherd and Keeper of your souls. 1 Peter 2:21-25 (TEV)  (see Isaiah 52-53 and Romans 3-5 for more on this)

9  Do not pay back evil with evil or cursing with cursing; instead, pay back with a blessing, because a blessing is what God promised to give you when he called you. 1 Peter 3:9 (TEV) 

I could go on and on – God did get the fullest of vengeance on these sins, and many, many more.  And we have to trust Him at His word – every sin has been paid for, every bit of evil perpetrated by man.  And justice has been done, as Peter noted above.

And proved that God the father is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance, to transformation, to know His love, His mercy and forgiveness.

That is, I guess – where our trust in Him has to be challenged.  Could God forgive these people?  Could God forgive the horrors that have been done to mankind?

I think that is why the old general prayer in the Lutheran Hymnal had us give voice to these words, “May it please Thee also to turn the hearts of our enemies and adversaries that they may cease their enmity (with  God) and be inclined to walk with us in meekness and peace” ( The Lutheran Hymnal p.23)  I am deeply indebted to the pastor who introduced this hymnal to me, as well as the Theology of the Cross.  The Theology that so tells us of the depth of God’s love and providence in our lives – that suffering becomes something where I depend on Him more, trust in Him more… and know even more that He is with me.

How many of us are ready to pray such a prayer?  Whether it be about those who have traumatized Boston, or the neighbor…or maybe our boss?

Are we willing to trust God that far?  Are we willing to be that bold in our faith – that we can God to God and say – Vengeance or Mercy- it is Your call God.  Doing so, pouring our our pain, our anxiety at the altar.

Do we trust Him that much?

For if we can trust Him that much, how assured are we that He has done the same for us.  For every one of our sins, for every one of our failures.

I for one, am not strong enough – even the strength to write this – requires that I depend on Him for it – that He will create in me the strength necessary.

And for this day… so far.. He seems to be providing that strength I need to trust Him.  Even thought I don’t want it, even though I do not like to depend on Him for it, and would rather play God….

But it is there… and in Him, I can find peace.

 

 

 

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God’s saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on April 17, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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