Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD. In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.”
His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims. He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, “God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.”
Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”?
But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out. The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You hear, O LORD , the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.
Complaining about the unfair treatment I had received from an unscrupulous businessman, I told a friend how I wished I could do something to get even for the way the man had taken advantage of me. When my friend asked if this person was a believer, I responded that I didn’t think so. “Well then,” my friend replied, “He’s already going to rot in Hell forever. What more would you do to him?”
I’m pretty good at devising evil schemes to get even with people who’ve done me wrong, but the Lord is better. In Micah 2:1-3 He accused the leaders of Israel of lying on their beds at night devising schemes to defraud their subjects which they carried out the next morning simply because they could. “Therefore,” He said. “I’m planning disaster against you.” He did, and it was worse than anything they had done to their countrymen.
Our problem is that we want Him to take revenge right now to give us closure. Like impatient children, we don’t want to wait till some unspecified future time. We want it done now. But He tells us to leave it to Him and move on. He knows the damage anger does to us; how it eats away our insides, ruins our health, steals our joy and in general winds up hurting us more than our intended victim. That’s why he tells us not to let the sun go down on our anger. (Ephes. 4:26) We’re to give it to Him in prayer, keep praying till it’s gone, and ask Him to forgive us for ever having it. Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, He said. (Matt. 5:44) That’s how we rise above it, restoring our fellowship and regaining our victory.
With the Lord revenge is a matter of faith, just like salvation. He’s promised to save us, and in faith we’re depending on Him to do that. But He’s also promised just as clearly to take vengeance on our enemies, (Hebr. 10:30) so we’re justified in having faith that He’ll do that as well.
If we can trust our eternal destiny to Him, believing He has the power and the desire to bring us into His presence to dwell with Him forever, can’t we also trust Him to take vengeance on our enemies? He’s promised to make them bow down before us before he throws them into a burning lake of fire where they’ll have eternity to contemplate the way they mistreated us while they writhe in agony. Like my friend said,” What more would you do to them?”
Prayer: Lord give me the strength to let go of my anger by handing it to you. Let me trust your promise of vengeance like I trust your promise of salvation. Please deliver me from my anger and restore the joy of my salvation. Amen