30. Hebrew Worship: Revenge


I was taught quite early on that it was wrong for me to seek to avenge myself for real or imaginary wrongs.  It was even more unacceptable to succeed in that art form.  After one such success, I was compelled to write “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord” 1,000 times in an attempt to curb my robust carnality.

What if we flipped the verse around?  Instead of focusing on the fact that it is NOT ours, what happens when we focus on God as the One Who DOES Avenge Himself?

Ponder how unambiguous Scripture is on this point.

“It is mine to avenge; I will repay.  In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”  Deuteronomy 32:35  NIV

“Rejoice, O nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people.”  Deuteronomy 32:43  NIV

“The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.  The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies.”  Nahum 1:2  NIV

“For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’, . . . ”  Hebrews 10:30  NIV

I find it odd that the Western church broadly has no theology of vengeance.  It is not part of most people’s prayer life.  Yet David the Mercy had no particular hang-ups on the topic!

“O LORD, the God who avenges, O God who avenges, shine forth.  Rise up, O Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.  How long will the wicked, O LORD, how long will the wicked be jubilant?”  Psalm 94:1 – 3  NIV

Whether you care to indulge in asking God for vengeance is secondary.  We should at least acknowledge that facet of His nature and worship Him when He chooses to walk in that.

We see that so clearly in the Exodus.

God was crystal clear in Moses’ first demand to Pharaoh.  Talk about complying with “full disclosure laws.”  Moses was impeccable!

Then say to Pharaoh, “This is what the LORD says:  Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, ‘Let my son go, so he may worship me.’  But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.”  Exodus 4:22-23  NIV

And God did.  He walked in vengeance.  Tit for tat.

Join me in celebrating other occasions where God avenged Himself on His enemies.

Doing Deliverance on Your Brain30. Hebrew Worship:  Revenge

Copyright November 2015 by Arthur Burk

From Centurion, Guateng, South Africa, where I am recovering from jet lag, which is why this is one day late being released!

Comments

  1. Janis says

    I enjoy this discussion, as well as the knowledge that the Lord is a God of vengeance, not only because He has personally promised it to me but because it reveals a facet of His beautiful multi-faceted nature. In this case, it is specifically justice. How can God be just if He does not take vengeance on the enemy?

    As well, I thoroughly enjoy the idea that restoration is the more subtle but equally as powerful branch of God’s vengeance. Maybe it’s a separate issue from vengeance, but not the way I see it. Pay-back is just, restitution is right, but restoration is just plain beautiful. When God makes the enemy pay back MORE than what he stole, killed, or destroyed, that is powerful love toward His people. “Pay day, some day” is God’s message to His enemies. Vengeance is in the Justice and Restoration family, all aspects of His awe-inspiring nature. And, frankly, it makes me feel very secure.

    “The Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice…. According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment.” (Isaiah 59:15, 18)

    Amen. Thank You, Lord. And thanks SLG for this post.

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  2. Cherie says

    Psalm 149
    TRIUMPHANT PRAISE
    from the Passion translation

    Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
    It’s time to sing to God a brand- new song,
    So that all his holy people will then hear
    How wonderful he is!

    May Israel be enthused with Joy all because of him,
    And may the sons of Zion pour out
    Their joyful praises to their King.
    Break forth with dancing!
    Make music and sing God’s praises With the rhythms of drums!

    For he enjoys his faithful lovers.
    He adorns the humble with his beauty.
    And he loves to give them the victory.
    His godly lovers triumph in the glory of God.
    And their joyful praises will rise even while others sleep.
    God’s high and holy praises fill their mouths,

    For their shouted praises are their weapons of war!
    These warring weapons will bring vengeance
    On every opposing force and every resistant power.
    To bind kings with chains and rulers with iron shackles.

    Praise -filled warriors will enforce The judgment-doom decreed against their enemies.
    This is a Glorious Honor he gives to All his godly lovers.
    Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

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  3. Rebecca Warren says

    I LOVE the vengeance of God! It makes me feel happy and safe and valuable and hopeful. I felt a bit surprised in my journey toward close relationship with my Father that scriptures about vengeance were some of the first to produce real “sparkle”. It makes sense though if you knew my story!

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  4. Trish Smith says

    Thank you Arthur! I see this in the light of Jonathan Cahn’s wake up call to the West concerning God’s judgements and the global Islamification agenda. God will not be mocked. Is it possible that God is using evil as a revenge against the West for the violation of His principles? If so I wonder how He will deal with Isis?

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  5. SandyBassie says

    Tough area for me. Your blog post is very timely to how Tuesday went, and I think (for me at least) paragraph two nails it on the head. In fact it’s been part of my ‘homework’ in some healing places the past two weeks. I’m to avoid ‘not’s’ – the places of getting sucked into the negative expression of things – and look instead for how to frame it in the positive. Harder said than done, but it’s a good challenge.

    It’s more complicated than this, which probably means it’s a lot ‘simpler’ than it’s been made out to be (I’ve had a whopping big trudge through some ‘inside out/upside down’ stuff that is maybe more ‘back-to-front’ or something like it. I do love the places where God gets hold of me and layers the answers and examples so deep that they start to focus. He is such a God of Grace in these things.

    I won’t go into details on why these days were difficult; just share a few ‘take-aways’. In the midst of looking at and through the layers to find the focus, I had an opportunity for several conversations where a couple of things were highlighted for me: one was an ‘inability to defend myself’ and the other a picture of the contrasts in how we (and God) relate to … (topic was sharing Jesus) but being harsh/lenient. As it touches on John’s comment and your reply, I’ll comment on it there as well.

    Thanks so much for this post!

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    • peter ffrench says

      Amazing letter Sandy.God bless you this Thanksgiving day!my spirit woke up w some revelation about how All of God’s Word will be done regardless of our response.kind of mind boggling in the face of all the teaching about our responsibilities and action and theologies etc…i think the point is..we get to love Him and get to change and get to choose because he says so.

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  6. Michelle Neely says

    I am unable to hear your prayers until I get my new computer up and running which wont be until Dec.10th, so I have missed your prayers for about a month, will catch up as I’ve kept them all in a file. I do want to comment on this subject matter as OH SO TIMELY!…I thank God for you Arthur, in step with the Holy Spirit and what we need. Thank you and happy thanksgiving to you and yours,
    Sincerely,’
    Michelle

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  7. says

    Timely topic. Regarding the comment about the Western church having no theology of vengeance, it appears that much of it embraces a pacifist view of God that essentially states that Jesus never condones violence and “absorbed” all of the evil and violence of humanity on the cross once and for all. It creates a different God in the OT and NT or in some cases I’ve seen the view that the “violent, vengeance seeking” God of the OT was not God at all but was Satan acting on God’s behalf. Would love to see you address this issue. Is it possible that this theology gives place for the Egyptian Curse to be active?

    Liked by 1 person

    • says

      John, I have never heard that concept before. What do they do with the book of Revelation, all the judgment passages and Matt 23 where Jesus is anything but meek and passive? Doesn’t sound compelling to me. Mark 9:42 is pretty vindictive too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Ffrench says

        Well,some folk are teaching that it already happened.70 a.d. and all that stuff.!?!?!ugh…so weird.lol

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      • SandyBassie says

        Wrote a general post on this blog entry below, but John’s comment and question interest me.

        On Tuesday, following an appointment relating to a struggle I was going through, and a decision that came out of it, I had a conversation (purportedly about sharing the Gospel, but tugging on some old wounds). At one point, the discussion turned to ways Christians misrepresent truth and misrepresent Jesus by focusing only on judgement or on love – being too harsh or too lenient in our attitudes and/or presentation of Jesus. I commented that, “Truth doesn’t lean towards being too harsh or too lenient. God’s Truth stands in the middle, sure of itself, with no need to ping-pong off extremes.”

        Wednesday morning I had a second conversation on the topic. One person commented that in the contrast Harsh – Truth – Love/Lenient that he would have said ‘Passive” rather than Lenient.

        I had a word from a friend before Tuesday’s appointment to put myself in the hands of God rather than the hand of man. The discussions
        and your blog remind me of that word. Interesting. .

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      • says

        I would agree. However, as Peter says, the Book of Revelation is handled as having already happened within the first century. I can certainly see some of this perspective but not all. The Matthew 23 and Mark 9 passages are far more compelling. The most typical presentation I have seen is to state that Jesus is being hyperbolic or metaphoric in these and other passages. I don’t buy that. I remain curious as to whether an overly pacifist mindset regarding Jesus invites believers into the brick pits and under Pharaoh’s brutality under the guise of “absorbing” evil rather than opposing it. After all, Jesus died once on the cross didn’t he? At other times in his life, absorbing evil didn’t seem to be the plan. I’d love to see you take this on.

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        • Beth says

          I am glad to see this issue brought up here, as I have also wondered about Arthur’s take on it.

          Is the greatest “revenge” not love? Love feels awful to a nasty person (coals of fire) and Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT. They saw imperfectly, but He is God made flesh, the Word Himself.

          If we are to be in the world as he was, then we would follow his example of not seeking revenge, no?

          I think the passages that speak of vengeance would be perhaps directed at the spiritual entities as opposed to the made-in-his-image beloved people.

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          • says

            Well, folks, I am going to have to dig in here and abandon the polite euphemisms. Scripture says in BOTH Testaments that vengeance belongs to God and He WILL take vengeance. There are four New Testament passages that refer to God taking vengeance and some of them refer to His doing it on people.

            With all due respect to those who are uncomfortable with the idea of a God who takes vengeance, I am more uncomfortable with reinterpreting Scripture to make God into the image religion has taught us. I have made my living embracing Scripture the way it says, and I am not going to spiritualize this one.

            And the context in which I presented it was God taking vengeance against His spiritual enemies, and I am absolutely planning to be in the bleachers cheering (and worshiping) with wild excitement when My King takes His vengeance on the Egyptian demons.

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            • Beth says

              At the risk of being a pest, may I ask this: are the passages of which you are thinking (except Revelation) all pre-crucifixion?

              My religious upbringing was BIG on vengeance and hellfire. I am learning about Jesus and his absorption of violence, and asking questions. I’m not trying to do away with Scripture. Jesus is the Word.

              “You have seen me, you have seen the Father.”

              Jesus took ALL sin on himself. Not everyone applies the blood to the door, sure.

              We are operating out of victory, and bringing heaven to earth.

              I am utterly fascinated by this discussion. Thank you for interacting. I am willing to learn and to be challenged.

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              • says

                Beth, in our company we value sweat equity. You need to do some heavy lifting here, not just opining. Why not get a concordance and look up ‘vengeance’ in the New Testament and see whether they are before or after the resurrection.

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              • says

                Arthur, I appreciate your stance on taking Scripture for what it says, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes us. I find it intriguing that Scripture is so clear that we are to leave vengeance to Him. Clearly He knows some things about how it is done right! I will gladly worship Him for what He does with a complexity that is beyond our capacity to implement.

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  8. Nichols Web Management says

    Very good product especially in light of being jet lagged!

    Blessings on your time in South Africa (and Happy Thanksgiving!).
    -Jeff

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  9. Mary-Anne Simpson says

    This topic perfectly frames my Glory Story!
    Some months back we had two matters on the boil, one personal and one public, but both involved offenses against my husband and / or me. The pubic one involved a false “grievous bodily harm with a deadly weapon” charge against my husband by a bitter and I believe damaged person with some influence in the justice system and it resulted in him being arrested, imprisoned and subsequently released on bail followed by a court case.
    Honestly…. I ran begging and crying to the Lord and asked some faithful warriors to join me in a prayer assault. This resulted in remand after remand and no forward movement, we live in a country where the justice system is notoriously slow and with the looming holiday season it was quite possible that the matter could be carried over to next year.
    I asked what now? God said “I will contend with those who contend with you…”
    Two big issues were that we have moved City and every appearance meant a two hour flight the night before to attend the first session of court, the other being that unless found innocent he would have a criminal record and possibly face a jail term. Scary when you know the person is innocent and there are witnesses who uphold his innocence, but it wouldn’t be the first time an innocent man was jailed for something he didn’t do.
    Preceding the most recent appearance a friend said, we’ve prayed, opened closed, done everything we know how….keep us posted.
    So I asked God to head up the court that day, I asked Jesus to be the advocate for my husband and for God to contend with those who contend with me and my covenant spouse.
    The person bringing the charges went first to the witness stand, she refused to answer some questions, disagreed with her own evidence, statement and medical report and kept changing the story.
    The Magistrate adjourned for a brief period of consideration and came back to say that, extremely serious accusations had been made the consequence of which could be life changing for the accused if found guilty, but based on his assessment of testimony of the aggrieved party, his conclusion was that there was neither form nor substance to the case and that he deemed my husband to the innocent of all charges and the case was dismissed.
    3 1/2 months from start to finish in our courts’ system is extremely swift justice, the comprehensive way in which the Magistrate came to her conclusion was amazing, as are the gender factors, a big brawny man was accused of assaulting a petite frail woman, but none of that mattered, God contended with those who contended with us, with GOD SPEED!
    The second private matter ended similarly…. God triumphed and justice was swiftly served!

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    • Peter Ffrench says

      Awesome testimony and faith.Mary -Anne, have you ever heard of Ian Clayton teaching on heaven’s courts?

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