Learning from God’s Vengeance, Part 1

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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For it is the day of the LORD’s revenge, the year when Edom will be paid back for all it did to Israel.

Isaiah 34:8

When we read a chapter like Isaiah 34, we can easily feel confused, even distressed. God’s judgment on all nations, and Edom in particular, seems to come with such zeal and violence. How can we make sense of God’s vengeance? Does it give us the freedom to be vengeful people in our own lives?

Not at all. In fact, there is a practical implication of God’s vengeance. Since God will handle it, we don’t have to. Romans 12:17-19 makes this especially clear:

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,”
says the LORD.

We are not only instructed to avoid vengeance, but also to forgive. According to Jesus, we’re even to love our enemies.

So if someone offends you at work, or insults you at school, if someone besmirches your reputation by gossip, or if anything else wounds you, your calling is not to get even, but to love and forgive. Let God handle the vengeance.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever wanted to get revenge on someone who wronged you? What did you do? Are there people in your life whom you need to release to the Lord, rather than scheming how you might get even with them?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I must admit there’s much about your vengeance that I don’t quite fathom. But this much is clear: Vengeance is your business, not mine. When people hurt me, my calling is to forgive, not to hurt back.

I must confess, Lord, that there are times I want to get even with those who wrong me, at least for a while. Theoretically, I’m willing to forgive . . . but later, after I feel better by inflicting a little pain of my own. Ironically and sadly, the people I tend to hurt in anger aren’t my enemies, but my dearest loved ones. If my wife does something that wounds me, somehow it feels good to let my silent rejection make her pay for a while. Forgive me, Lord, for taking vengeance upon myself.

Thank you, gracious God, for your Spirit living within me, who helps me to return good for evil, love for hatred. May I live each day as a living example of your grace. Amen.