Summary: We all want retribution for what has happened in NY, but vengeance belongs God.
We All Want Retribution
Unless you have been hiding under that proverbial rock, you are aware of the terrorists attacks on Washington and New York. The images of the planes flying into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are forever burned into our minds. It is Thursday morning as I write this—forty-eight hours since the attacks—and as of yet, there have been no counter attacks made by our government. As I watch the innumerable news shows, violence is springing up across America against anyone of Arabic descent by people who are angry, and who want retribution.
Retribution is a word that we know very well. Everyone at one time or another has exacted their own retribution, but, as Christians, we must be very careful in shouting for and demanding retribution. Do I want retribution for what has happened to those innocent people in New York and Washington? You’re ______ right I do. But friends, retribution is not ours to exact.
The context of Deuteronomy 32 is when Moses was about to die and he was giving his final blessings upon Israel. Joshua has been commissioned as his successor and now Moses sang a song in the hearing of all the people (31:30). In this song, he sang of how Israel would turn away from God, getting fat, lazy, and comfortable because they have had it so good from all of God’s blessings. Israel would be enticed to follow other gods and God would allow them to fall because He loved them so much. Moses prophesied that the sword would bereave them from the outside—there would be attackers from outside their borders—and that within their borders, there would be terror (32:25). Moses sang that the people would not understand these things (32:28) and that if they only had eyes that could discern what was happening they would see the wonders of their God (32:30). Then Moses sang of God’s vengeance and retribution and how He would vindicate His people. Beloved, doesn’t this sound like America today? Let me explain from our text this morning.
Let us see that we as Americans have gone the way of Israel.
1. Israel had been blessed by God beyond measure—so have we.
2. Israel forsook God because of its comfort—v.15—so have we.
3. Israel turned to other gods, sacrificed to demons and they forgot God who had given them birth—vv. 16-18—so have we—we have sacrificed to the demons our unborn children through abortion—what is abortion if it is not human sacrifice—even embryonic research is the same.
4. God allowed Israel to be attacked—without and within—because of her idolatry—so have we. We experienced this just Tuesday.
5. How could a group of 12-24 do so much damage if God had not taken His protective care from us?—v. 30.
6. I truly believe our God is trying to get our attention through the events of last week.
Friends, have we not as a nation gone the way of Israel? Has not God dealt with us just as He did with Israel? We are loveless, disobedient and senseless children and God has promised to do everything to get us to see how good He is and how evil are those we have chosen to follow as a nation.
Oh, but that’s not the end of the story. Verses 35-43 tell us something else about our God.
Let us see that God will extract vengeance and retribution.
1. Though we want retribution against our enemies, it is not ours to have.
a. Because of our idolatry as a nation, God has allowed these terrible things to happen, and I know many of you will disagree with me when I say, we deserved it.
b. Come now, let’s reason about this. What do you think you deserve from God? Continued prosperity despite the fact that we have committed spiritual adultery against God?
c. But preacher, those were innocent men, women, and children who were viciously murdered by immoral men. They didn’t deserve that, did they?
d. Did they individually deserve to be murdered? Of course not, but it is a fact of our fallen world that the sins of a nation will have consequences upon its people. That is what has happened to America this week.
e. Friends, like it or not, God will punish a nation and her people for turning her back upon Him.
2. Though God punishes us for our sin, God also has promised to punish those who have done this to us.
a. Verse 35 tells us that our enemies’ feet will slip and calamity will one day come upon them.
b. As God used other nations’ armies to punish Israel, so too He can use our armed forces to exact His vengeance upon those who have attacked His people.
c. God promises to vindicate His people—36.