Numbers 31 … Consider Him Who Executes Vengeance

Originally posted: 06/23/2019

“Take full vengeance for the sons of Israel on the Midianites… Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the Lord’s vengeance…” (31:2-3).

Consider Him Who Executes Vengeance

The scene that ensued was horrific, the brutal violence and merciless cruelty, the rampant slaughter and carnage was really too much to take in.

So much we can’t explain, but God is beyond man’s ability to explain. Numbers 31 is all so very difficult to reconcile with the God of grace and love revealed through the gift of His Son, Jesus. But His love and grace doesn’t eradicate His righteous vengeance. And in our finite and limited understanding, we are unable to truly comprehend His vengeance, His holiness, and the seriousness of rebellion and sin.

The events described in Numbers 31 are hideous, shocking and offensive, the tragic result of sin. As we consider Him Who Executes Vengeance we must not attempt to align Holy God with man’s vengeance. As we seek Him in the pages of Scripture He reveals His Truth; He is holy and perfect in His wisdom, justice, and vengeance.

  • Vengeance belongs to only the LORD, never to man.
    • “…that they may go …to execute the Lord’s vengeance…” (31:3).
  • Only the LORD is perfect and right, faithful and without injustice.
    • “For I proclaim the name of the Lord;
      Ascribe greatness to our God!
      4 The Rock! His work is perfect,
      For all His ways are just;
      A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
      Righteous and upright is He,”
      (Deuteronomy 32:3-4).
  • Only the LORD knows the heart of man.
    • “They have acted corruptly toward Him,
      They are not His children, because of their defect;
      But are a perverse and crooked generation.
      6 Do you thus repay the Lord,
      O foolish and unwise people?
      Is not He your Father who has bought you?
      He has made you and established you,”
      (Deuteronomy 32:5-6).
  • Only the LORD has the authority to give or take life, to heal or wound.
    • “See now that I, I am He,
      And there is no god besides Me;
      It is I who put to death and give life.
      I have wounded and it is I who heal,
      And there is no one who can deliver from My hand,” (Deuteronomy 32:39).
  • Only the LORD is sovereign to render vengeance on His adversaries.
    • “I will render vengeance on My adversaries,
      And I will repay those who hate Me,”
      (Deuteronomy 32:41).
  • Only the LORD is to avenge the wrongs committed against His people.
    • “Rejoice, O nations, with His people;
      For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
      And will render vengeance on His adversaries,
      And will atone for His land and His people,”
      (Deuteronomy 32:43).

How do we respond to Him Who Executes Vengeance?

  • Numbers 31 is a graphic description of the enormity of the ramifications of sin and wickedness against holy God. Rather than being offended by His Vengeance, let us be sickened by our own sin. Let us obey His Word, making no provision for the flesh, that we would walk by His Spirit.
    • “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts,” (Romans 13:14).
    • “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh,” (Galatians 5:16).
  • Numbers 31 is a frightening reminder of the wrath of God each of us deserves. Let us pray for those who have yet to come to Him in repentance to escape His Vengeance, that they may receive His gift of salvation.
    • “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest,'” (Matthew 9:36-38).
    • “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men… This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, (1 Timothy 2:1, 3-4).
  • Numbers 31 is a persuasive portrayal that it is only the LORD Who Executes Vengeance; let us trust our enemies to His perfect justice as we strive to obey His command to love.
    • “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).

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