Avenge: “to take vengeance on behalf of.”
Vengeance: “punishment inflicted, or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong.”
It is difficult, coming to grips with this idea that God Will Avenge. Vengeance presents itself as an extremely negative undertaking. And rightly so. Vengeance in the hands of humanity is flawed, accomplished by faulty reasoning and resolve. And we often find ourselves filtering this perception of God as Avenger through the defective lens of human understanding and experience, a lens deeply marred by corruption and evil.
God is not a man; God will Avenge, not as a man, but according to His Word.
“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).
Consider Him Who Avenges According to His Word
Jehu has received his marching orders by the Word of the Lord, the God of Israel; and he is anointed to be the vessel by which the Lord will Avenge the blood of His servants.
“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I have anointed you king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel.7 You shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish, and I will cut off from Ahab every male person both bond and free in Israel. 9 I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah. 10 The dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her,” (9:6-10).
As God fulfills His prophetic word, twice Jehu remembers and recounts this truth: God’s vengeance is advancing According to His Word.
Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” And he answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord. 21“Behold, I will bring evil upon you, and will utterly sweep you away, and will cut off from Ahab every male, both bond and free in Israel; 22 and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and because you have made Israel sin. 23 Of Jezebel also has the Lord spoken, saying, ‘The dogs will eat Jezebel in the district of Jezreel.’ 24 The one belonging to Ahab, who dies in the city, the dogs will eat, and the one who dies in the field the birds of heaven will eat,” (1 Kings 21:21-24).
And Jehu drew his bow with his full strength and shot Joram between his arms; and the arrow went through his heart and he sank in his chariot. 25 Then Jehu said to Bidkar his officer, “Take him up and cast him into the property of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, for I remember when you and I were riding together after Ahab his father, that the Lord laid this oracle against him: 26 ‘Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will repay you in this property,’ says the Lord. Now then, take and cast him into the property, according to the word of the Lord,” (9:24-26).
“See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter.” 35 They went to bury her, but they found nothing more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. 36 Therefore they returned and told him. And he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘In the property of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; 37 and the corpse of Jezebel will be as dung on the face of the field in the property of Jezreel, so they cannot say, “This is Jezebel,”’” (9:34-37).
Consider Him Who Avenges According to His Word
- His Word is Perfect.The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul… (Psalm 19:7).
- His Word is Just.So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge, (Psalm 51:4).
- His Word is Truth.The sum of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting, (Psalm 119:160).
- His Word Endures ForeverThe grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever, (Isaiah 40:8).
- His Word Will Be Accomplished“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it,” (Isaiah 55:11).
- His Word is Jesus.In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace, (John 1:1, 14-16).
- And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God, (Revelation 19:13).
And through Jesus, we see Him Who Avenges According to His Word, against the backdrop of His love, His mercy and grace, and His patience.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him,” (John 3:16-17).
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (Ephesians 2:4-5).
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance, (2 Peter 3:9).
How must we respond to Him Who Will Avenge According to His Word?
The reality is, it is terrifying to consider Him as God Who Will Avenge.
It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God, (Hebrews 10:31).
But He has declared He Will Avenge the blood of all His Servants in the last days, in His perfect time.
When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also, (Revelation 6:9-11).
When we place our faith in His love, His mercy and grace and His patience provided in His Son Jesus Christ, we need not fear His vengeance or punishment.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love, (1 John 4:18).
We know there are many who live in this terrifying reality of ultimately facing His Vengeance, whether or not they acknowledge or agree with His Word. Oh, that we would seek Him each and every day, imploring Him to grow us in boldness that we would become His ambassadors to share the truth of Him Who Avenges According to His Word. And as we determine to serve Him as Lord of our lives, let us pray He will use us to offer the very hope we have received in Jesus.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith,” (Romans 1:16).
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God, (2 Corinthians 5:20).
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; (1 Peter 3:15).
One very effective way we can offer His hope is by the way we respond to those who have wronged us. As we leave vengeance to Him Who Will Avenge According to His Word, let us trust Him to build us up in His Word of Grace and empower us to react to our wrongdoers in the opposite spirit, that God would use us to overcome evil with good.
And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified, (Acts 20:32).
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good, (Romans 12:19-21).