Study from God’s Word… Ezekiel 25: 1 – 17; 29: 1 – 16; 30: 1 – 26; and chapter 31: 1 - 18 … Passage for Reflection: Ezekiel 25: 15 – 17 … NIV 15 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'Because the Philistines acted in vengeance and took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah, 16 therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Kerethites and destroy those remaining along the coast. 17 I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.' "
My Journal for Today: Today’s Bible reading and Dr. Smith’s devotional entry focuses on the nature of vengeance; and we note man’s tendency to want “justice” when he feels hurt or wronged in some way. Of course, the reality is that most of the time we humans are really out for revenge rather than God’s justice.
Dr. Smith rightly attributes the desire for vengeance in our hearts to the degree of maturity of our faith. If we, born-again Christians, are deeply steeped in God’s truth (i.e., the Bible) then we know that vengeance is God’s business, not ours. And so, to the degree we have a deep and abiding relationship with God, in Christ, we’ll leave the business of vengeance to our God; because only HE can see all of the truth and all of the circumstances; and only HE knows exactly what should be done in any circumstance to “make it right.”
But somehow, deep in our humanity, vengeance is our reaction to being wronged, isn’t it? Admit it, you’re probably like me when you go to a movie and you see Wyatt Earp, the protagonist hero, make it right with Doc Holliday and his brothers, gunning down the antagonists, the Clanton gang at the O.K. Corral. It just feels good; doesn’t it? And that’s our measurement of immaturity in our relationship with Christ, … that our faith is not developed enough to let go and let God.
Dr. Smith challenges his readers today, writing, ”If I have somehow managed not to throttle people who deserve throttling, can I move to the next step of not even WANTING to throttle them?” And I must admit that I’m not quite mature enough to follow the call Jesus had for those of us who follow Him (see Matt. 5: 39, and Luke 6: 29). Wow! Jesus’ charge of discipleship in Luke 9: 23 can be a real stitch at times, can’t it?
My friends, I’m afraid I’m not there yet; but God’s conviction has me praying that I will be one day.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to leave the vengeance business of life in Your hands. You know what’s best. I don’t !! Amen