Summary: What is the vengeance of God all about and how does it apply to me?
The vengeance of the Lord
Scripture reading: 2 Peter 3
One of the things that really frustrates me is the lack of justice in our land and in our world. When hardened criminals get off with what appears to be a slap on the wrist, my dander really rises. I just can’t stand the lack of consequence for evil behavior.
While injustice in our country and world abounds, my spirits do rise when I ponder the word of God which clearly communicates that the wicked will not go unpunished. The Day of the Lord approaches when the Judge of all the earth will ensure that the wicked are done away with and justice is done.
As we have been learning the last few months, because of their constant sinning against the Lord, the Jews of Jeremiah’s day received what they deserved- the judgment of the Lord. Despite the fact that they were and are his special people, God did not let them get away with rebellion against Him. The people that God used to mete out this judgment were the Babylonians. However, the tactics and methods of the Babylonians were absolutely unconscionable and brutal. This gave rise to the question, which Jeremiah anticipates in Jeremiah 50-51: “Will the Babylonian be punished for their evil deeds? Will justice be done?”
The message of Jeremiah 50-51 is “Yes, the Babylonians are going to be punished for the evil they commit against you. The destroyer is going to be destroyed. Babylon is going to fall and not rise again”.
For the Jews Jeremiah 50-51 held forth 2 great comforts: 1. The Babylonians were not going to get away with their evil deeds 2. The Jewish nation was going to survive. God was going to redeem them from the land of captivity and return them to their homeland and be their God.
Today I want to talk to you about God’s justice and the fact that He will not let the wicked go unpunished. In order for me to talk properly about God’s commitment to justice I have to talk to about His vengeance and the anger that is aroused in Him by a person or nations disobedience against Him.
READ Jeremiah 50
The verses that led me in this way
In Jeremiah 50:15 Jeremiah speaks of the city of Babylon’s destruction as an act of vengeance by the Lord. (READ)
In Jeremiah 50:27-31 Jeremiah speaks of how the time has come for them to punished and how God was going to take vengeance upon the Babylonians for what they had done to his Temple. In verse 29 God’s intent is to repay Babylon for her rebellion against Him. (READ)
Like things are said in Jeremiah 51:6; 51:11; 51:13; 51:24 and 51:36.
POINTS TO PONDER
I. GOD IS A GOD OF VENGEANCE
This is one of His attributes
TO MANY THINK THAT IS NOT RIGHT TO SPEAK OF GOD AS A GOD OF VENGEANCE. Yet in Deuteronomy 32:35a God says “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” A few verses later God also says “I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me.”
What is the vengeance of God about?
-justice, retribution, punishment, paying back, balancing the scales of right and wrong, righteous and holy anger, it is God’s response to sin and rebellion.
Vengeance and the punishment of the wicked is God’s right. Vengeance and the destruction of the wicked is God’s duty. In fact, if God were to neglect the punishment of the wicked He would cease to be a God of justice and holiness.
We need to understand that God cannot be true to his character of holiness and justice if he allows sin and rebellion to go unpunished.
If justice is to mean anything, rebellion, lawbreaking, disobedience, arrogance and all evil acts necessitate punishment.
God cannot and will not let the wicked go unpunished. As Nahum 1:3 says The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.” Proverbs 11:21 also says “Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.”
Now, so that we don’t end up with a skewed view of God, we need to understand that the Bible balances the fury of God’s vengeance against the sinner with the greatness of his mercy on those who repent of their wicked ways.
As I illustrated for you a few weeks again by means of a fulcrum, the Scriptures present a perfect balance between the mercy and wrath/justice of God. Jeremiah 46-51 repeatedly illustrates this (Jeremiah 49:39, etc)
Our God is incredibly merciful.
In Psalm 116:5 it says “The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.”
In 2 Peter 3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”