Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.”
Psalm 121: 5
“There cannot be shade without sunshine. There is no night without day. There are clear skies above the clouds. Only (she) who has rested in the shade, kept vigil through the night, or walked under the clouds can light the path for others.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel…And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin. And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon…And it came to pass, when he (Baasha) reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him.”
1 Kings 15: 25-29
“Revenge – The Ungodly Way To Even The Score”
“There is no passion of the human heart that promises so much and pays so little as revenge.”
Henry Wheeler Shaw
Have I ever taken revenge on another individual?
What were the results?
How have I learned to handle the situations in my life where someone has done something against me?
“You can’t get ahead if you’re trying to get even.”
L. James Henry
“Revenge, at first thought sweet-
Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils.”
In his book, Hope Again, Pastor Charles Swindoll tells the story of a fellow who was informed by his physician that he had rabies. Having heard this drastic news, the patient pulled out a pad and pencil and began to write. Thinking the man was making out his will, the doctor said, “Listen, this doesn’t mean you’re going to die. There’s a cure for rabies.”
“I know that,” said the man. “I’m making a list of people I’m going to bite.”
After reading this anecdote, I got to thinking about the book of 1 Kings, especially Chapters 14-16, and I came to the conclusion there was a lot of biting going on, for revenge was in full force. While it was frequently the case that whenever a new king took over the throne in a country, they would eliminate any threats to their power, one would like to believe that God’s children, His chosen people, would live up to a higher standard. But this certainly wasn’t the case. Frankly, we shouldn’t be surprised, for throughout all Israel, both kingdoms had fallen into such degrading behavior that any measure of spirituality could hardly be detected. Thus, the qualities we find defining God’s children were similar to those found in the nations surrounding Israel. And sadly, revenge was near the top of the list.
It seems we haven’t learned much down through the years, for revenge is still a “go-to” characteristic when we want to even the score. Yet, our Father in heaven, calls on us to leave the avenging of ourselves to Him. In turn, He asks us to do something which is difficult even for the most sanctified among us. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 12: 19-21, KJV and NIV, penned these words, “’Vengeance is mine I will repay,’ says the Lord. ‘No, if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Much too frequently, as God’s children, we fall into the trap of “giving as we get.” It’s easy to do. It’s tough to be treated unfairly; to be accused falsely; and to be harmed by evil. But as John Southard so beautifully expressed, “The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.” As Jesus expressed in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5: 7, Amplified Bible, “Happy, to be envied and spiritually prosperous with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Those who show mercy rather than revenge are promised they will receive great mercy from our Father in heaven.
Author Mary Southerland observed, “Revenge always results in destruction of some kind.” This is true for in our study text, King Baasha murdered the entire family of Jeroboam. Unfortunately, all of Israel was witness to this act of brutality and what a tragic legacy was left behind.
It would do each of us well to reflect on the words from William Arthur Ward. “We are most like beasts when we kill. We are most like men when we judge. We are most like God when we forgive.” In the words of the poet Christina Rosetti, “O Lord Jesus, because, being full of foolishness, we often sin and have to ask pardon, help us to forgive as we would be forgiven…loving our brother freely, as You freely loved us.”
“The noblest vengeance is to forgive.”
“Do not say, ‘I will repay evil; wait expectantly for the Lord, and He will rescue you.”
Proverbs 20: 22
“Dear God, I find it so hard to forgive those who are unkind to me, or who blame me for the things which are not my fault. I go on bearing a grudge against them and even when they try to make it up I feel bitter and hard.
I know this is wrong. When Peter asked Jesus how many times he ought to forgive someone who had wronged him, Jesus said he must go on and on forgiving. Jesus even prayed for forgiveness for those who crucified Him. Please help me to be more like Him and be willing to forgive.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional is posted everyday, Monday through Friday on Facebook, too.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.