7 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

Deuteronomy 32:28-52
Luke 12:35-59
Psalm 78:56-64
Proverbs 12:24

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Deuteronomy 32:35 (CSB): “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay…”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Our Verse for Today might have caught your attention as you were reading through Moses’ song in Deuteronomy 32. The reason it may have caught your attention is because it appears in an oft-quoted text in the New Testament.

So, let’s spend some time unpacking some of its truths.

1. In order for God to remain holy, He must punish sin.

Over and over in Scripture, the perfect holiness of God is proclaimed and illustrated. He has not sinned, cannot sin, and cannot allow sin into His presence. In fact, the book of Revelation pictures for us how God will take out His wrath upon sin and sinners to finally and ultimately destroy what brought such destruction to His creation.

So, if God is to remain holy, He must punish sin. He cannot remain indifferent to what has brought such destruction.

Imagine that a murderer took the life of someone you dearly loved. All of the evidence, including the criminal’s very own confession, made it clear that he is the one who killed your loved one with premeditation and in cold blood. But, further imagine that it came time for sentencing and the judge let the murderer go free.

Here’s the question: Is that judge a good judge or a bad judge? We all know that he is a bad judge because a good judge lives by the motto: “You do the crime, you do the time.” Good judges don’t let the guilty go free.

Well, my friend, God is a good judge. He WILL punish sin. He won’t let the guilty go free.

Acts 17:30-31 (CSB): “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has set a day when he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the man he has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

So, when our Verse for Today quotes God as saying, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay,” this is exactly what a holy God MUST do.

2. In order for God to remain loving, He must punish sin.

If God really loves us as much as He says He does (John 3:16; etc.), then He MUST to punish sin.

Imagine that you observed a parent at a park. Their toddler was playing on the playground. But, then you noticed that a bully was hitting the toddler and the little child was crying. Everything in you was prepared to get up and run to the toddler’s rescue but you believed the parent needed to act first. You glanced over at the parent and, to your shock, they were observing the same thing and remained indifferent. They were watching their toddler get mercilessly abused and they appeared indifferent to their child’s plight. One thing you would clearly assess before jumping into action is that the parent obviously doesn’t love their child. If they did, they would get angry at and work to stop what is bringing such harm to their child.

If we truly love someone, we will get angry at what is bringing harm to them and we will jump to their aid to bring the injustice to a halt.

And, it is in this way that we understand that God cannot remain indifferent to sin that seeks to harm and destroy us. If He really loves us, and He does, then He cannot remain indifferent to sin. He must hate it and work for it’s demise. When we are harmed by a sinful act, God will make sure that the injustice is dealt with.

3. In order for us to survive injustice, we find comfort in knowing that God will judge.

We are not to administer our own justice. The New Testament makes it clear that Christians are to forego personal justice and, instead, love those who are our enemies.

But how? Since we are made in God’s imagine, we desire justice when we or someone is wronged. How can that desire for justice be met while we are forbidden to engage in personal retribution?

Romans 12:19 (CSB): “Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.”

Simply put, we are to realize that God will not let sin go unpunished. In His own time and in His own way, He will administer justice. So, since we know that He will take care of things, we can love and bless those who have wronged us.

4. As the one who is wronged, we have the ability to drop the charges.

This is a fascinating concept. God is the judge but we are the ones who are often wronged. When we observe the Apostle Paul’s understanding of how this plays out, we realize that we can ask God to administer justice or we can drop the charges.

We can expect God to administer justice when we are wronged

2 Timothy 4:14-15 (CSB): “Alexander the coppersmith did great harm to me. The Lord will repay him according to his works. Watch out for him yourself because he strongly opposed our words.”

We can drop the charges when we are wronged

2 Timothy 4:16 (CSB): “At my first defense, no one stood by me, but everyone deserted me. May it not be counted against them.”

Conclusion

So, there you go. If God is holy and if He loves us as much as He says He does, then He MUST punish sin.

And, because we know that He will punish sin, we can endure injustice and even drop the charges in the divine court.

Those few words in Deuteronomy 32:35 are profound and have massive implications in how we endure injustice in this life. I would encourage you to commit these few words to memory.

Deuteronomy 32:35 (CSB): “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay…”

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Zach and Sean in front of the United States Supreme Court (July 2016)