"Blessed be you who have kept me today…from avenging myself with my own hand."
I Samuel 25: 33, Amplified Bible
"Vengeance Is Mine"
"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God…for it is written, ‘vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite),' says the Lord."
Romans 12: 19, Amplified Bible
What do I believe God means when He says, "Vengeance is mine?"
Have I ever tried to avenge myself?
What were the results?
"You shall not take revenge or bear any grudge against the sons of your people."
Leviticus 19: 18, Amplified Bible
"Rejoice with His people, O you nations, for He (God) avenges the blood of His servants, and vengeance He inflicts on His foes and clears guilt from the land of His people."
Deuteronomy 32: 43, Amplified Bible
As we review the relationship between Abigail and David, we find that the building blocks of good relationships are founded on the ability to show discretion, to take and give advice, which has been infused with heavenly wisdom and then today, we read that David told Abigail, "Thanks for reminding me who is in charge and whose responsibility it is to set things right."
We commonly call the word "revenge," when we decide to take matters into our own hands and level the playing field.
Our attitude may go something like this, "If you do something to me, I'll do something to you." We might even try and quote the Bible, "An eye for an eye." But as Martin Luther King, Jr., so wisely noted, when we choose to use an eye for an eye as our behavior gauge, two people end up without eyes.
Thankfully, in a moment of hot-headed rage, a wise, level-headed woman spoke up to remind the swashbuckling David and his army of 400 men, to let God be the "avenger."
And here is where I want to stop and take a look at what it means to "avenge" or to take "vengeance." The Bible clearly points out, in words from God, Himself, that vengeance is to be left to Him.
If you are anything like I am, you might be asking yourself the same question I asked myself, "Why is vengeance or avenging behavior reserved for God?"
I decided that in order to understand what the word vengeance means and what avenging behavior is all about, I needed to take a look at what these words meant in both the Hebrew and Greek for the word vengeance appears in the Old and New Testaments. I was surprised to find out that the distinct reference is made to "punishment" in defining "vengeance" and "avenging." But in the Hebrew, the word avenge, which was the exact word David used when he thanked Abigail for reminding him that he needed to steady his own hand and not raise it against Nabal or his family, means to "visit or to oversee or to reckon with."
This enlightening piece of information got me to thinking about the way God deals with all His children, even those who flogged His Son and spit in the face of His only Beloved.
To get a clear idea of what the vengeance of God is like when He "visits" or comes to reckon (to settle accounts) with His children, let's look first at Genesis 3: 8 (Amplified Bible), "And they (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." Before Adam and Eve were banished from their garden home God came down to see them. He visited them to discuss the terrible situation that had come about because of their choice to disobey His instructions. This is the first time in Scripture when we find our heavenly Father, before there was punishment of any type, visiting His children.
In Genesis 6: 5 (Amplified Bible), we are again told, "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually." Here again, before the flood, God "visited" and saw the behavior of His wayward children. We have only to go over a few chapters to Genesis 18: 21 (Amplified Bible) where God says, "I will go down now and see whether they (the people of Sodom and Gomorrah) have done altogether as is the cry of it which has come to Me."
When we speak of an avenging God taking vengeance on those who are evil, we need to understand that this isn't someone like David losing their temper, strapping on a sword and in a murderous fit of rage taking off to get even - an eye for an eye!
God's acts of vengeance or reckoning are preceded by His "visiting" and overseeing the ways of His children Himself. This isn't an angry, out-of-control God. It is a loving Father, who goes to every length possible to draw His children to His side, and only when every measure possible has failed and evil is so pervasive that it will destroy all that is good, do we find our Father responding - not from anger but from His protective, loving heart that is not willing any should perish.
This is why David was appreciative. Abigail's words prevented him from avenging himself by his own hand.
As humans, we don't see all. We don't know all. We aren't God. We don't see all that God sees. And furthermore, we don't know all that God knows. When we try to avenge the wrongs that have been committed against us or if we take vengeance into our own hands, because of our distorted view, the results of our behavior may in the end backfire upon us. Just as David said to Abigail, "All of Nabal's men may have died," and I might add, totally without a reason, for they weren't the ones David had a problem with.
This is why our Father asks us to leave the punishment or the overseeing of His children to Him. His complete understanding gives me the ability to trust that in those times when God acts in ways I may not understand, I am able to believe He has done all He can to bring His rebellious children into the fold of His care.
"O my Lord, I discern in my anger a sense of self-righteousness which is much too close to pleasure. And I think of You, Lord. You were never angry in Your own defense, and You took no pleasure in anger: else why the cross? But You were angry for God: You were angry with those who sold Him as a commodity; You were angry with those who used Him for their own status; or who treated Him as belonging only to them.
O Lord, implant in me a holy fear of the wrong kind of anger, which ministers to my own sense of self-importance, or is simply an indulgence of my own frustration. Forgive me, Lord, for all such occasions."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
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