IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.: GOD OF VENGEANCE!
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l (LIFOM)
“Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.”
We have to set the record straight on a age old misconception and that being the false notion that God was a God of wrath only in the Old Testament but is a God of love in the New Testament— nothing could be further from the truth. This fails on both accounts. God in the Old Testament is known for His mercy or lovingkindness which endures forever as much as He is known for His justice and wrath (cf. Ps. 136).
God is a God of love, a God of grace, and a God of mercy. These things we have heard more times than we can count. However, what we may not have heard is that the Scripture also refers to God as a God of vengeance. Psalm 94:1 says, “O LORD, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth!” The Psalmist is in agony watching the wicked get away with their evil, hurting the innocent, even the people of God. The wicked mock and scorn God, believing that they have gotten away with their evil. But the Psalmist comes to rest in the fact the God Who made the eye can see and will judge. He says in verse 23, “He has brought back their wickedness upon them And will destroy them in their evil; The LORD our God will destroy them.” Wicked people may fool those in authority in this life, but they cannot fool God. God will make them pay eventually in eternity, even if they do not pay now. God delights in justice, and in His universe, all will eventually balance come judgment time. He will see to it because He is a God of vengeance. This is what He does because it is Who He is.
Being a Christian does not mean that we so emphasize mercy and forgiveness that we don’t rejoice when evil people go to jail or lose lawsuits, for example. A nation can only be as strong as the morals of its justice system, which, of course, stems from the morals of its people. Christians should desire justice and seek it out, but taking revenge when the world’s faulty systems of justice let us down is unbiblical. We can trust God to avenge us and take up our cause one way or another. Isaiah 35:4 says, “Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.’” God is our hope, for He is the God of vengeance.
This is not just an exposition of God’s wrath however, it is a vindication of God’s people that is designed to produce comfort, endurance and joy to those who are being afflicted, “it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well”
Admittedly, we tend to associate vengeance with hatred and cruelty. Those who seek revenge are filled with inextinguishable and unreasonable anger. Scripture uses the term neqama, often translated as “vengeance,” with a different meaning. You can see this in Psalm 94. After referring to the Lord as “the God of vengeance” in verse 1, the psalmist calls him “judge of the earth,” asking him to “give the proud what they deserve” (94:2). These boastful ones “crush” and “hurt” God’s people (94:5). “They kill widows and foreigners and murder orphans,” while claiming that God doesn’t care (94:6-7). Thus, the vengeance of God is not some irrational burst of divine anger, but rather the exercise of divine justice. God gives sinners what their sin deserves. So, the last verse of Psalm 94 observes: “God will turn the sins of evil people back on them.” God’s vengeance is, therefore, a righteous expression of his justice.
In light of such judgment, what hope do we have to offer man? Well there is no hope apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, that’s the point. But if you are feeling the weight of your sin, the terror of God’s vengeance against sin, there is hope for those who are presently excluded but only Christ alone:
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