Vengeance is Mine, and recompense,
for the time when their foot shall slip;
for the day of their calamity is at hand,
and their doom comes swiftly.
Deut. 32:35 ESV
I feel very strongly that I should share God’s uncompromising approach to vengeance as He’s showed me. Vengeance is defined as “punishment inflicted in retaliation for an injury or offense: retribution.” Vengeance is real, and it is inescapable. We’ve all got a day of reckoning on the books, and the only way out is the Blood of Jesus Christ.
The lie that there are no consequences for what we do and say and think is a particularly insidious one. Once the Lord exposed that lie in my heart, I began to see and hear it everywhere. Blame and scape-goating were my go-to sins to support this hideous lie in my life. I could argue away my culpability with ease. (Irresponsibility, once embraced in the heart, becomes an actual way of life.) And I could convince myself that I wasn’t completely responsible for my thoughts, words and deeds because there were “extenuating circumstances.” Always! I worked incredibly hard to convince myself that I was a victim because that meant that there weren’t any consequences to suffer. After all, how can I be held accountable if it isn’t my fault?
My smug arrogance, when it surfaces, is also rooted in the lie of no consequences. I know this, because when I’m in reality about who God is and what He promises, arrogance is impossible. Fear of the Lord? Check. Humility? Check-check. Trembling? Yep. The Lord has shown me kindly but inexorably the result of my believing the lie, and pride in all its forms is top of the list.
It took experiencing the wrath of God to expose that lie and incinerate it. When I began to see my life through God’s eyes, I knew I was in trouble. I’d earned a mountain of vengeance and there was only one way out. When the enormity of your personal comeuppance becomes clear, you experience desperation in a very visceral way, no? That’s how it went down for me. I couldn’t receive the gift of Christ’s Blood fast enough!
I serve a God who openly claims the right of vengeance—and He means it. Johnny Cash knew my God and knew Him well. “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” is one of my favorite songs because it embraces both the enormous grace and the uncompromising vengeance of God. I hope you know and embrace this side of God, too, because that’s the beginning of wisdom that Proverbs references. And it’s the truth! The more I take God’s own Word for Who He really is, the healthier I am mentally, and the closer I get to my Abba.