God Said Vengeance Is Mine
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
13 September 2020
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
God said vengeance is Mine, because we cannot see the intent of the mind, heart, and soul of others as God sees, for as we talked about last week, only God sees intent.
Letís look at what we are told in Deuteronomy 32:35, the first place in the Bible where we hear about vengeance is MineÖ
35. 'Vengeance is Mine, and retribution,
In due time their foot will slip;
For the day of their calamity is near,
And the impending things are hastening upon them.'
Note carefully that here we are told that Godís vengeance is not a quick decision, but one that takes time to bring about, for He seems to allow time for the people to come to repentance or harden their hearts further.
In Romans 12:19-20, Paul tells us about our part in determining when the time of Godís vengeance comes about, if everÖ
19. 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 upon his head."
If we take vengeance ourselves, we have not left room for the wrath of God, and furthermore, we are to extend our loving and caring nature toward our enemies in the hopes of bringing them to repentance and avoiding the wrath of God altogether.
And in Hebrews 10:30-31 we are given a glimpse into how bad it can be to face Godís vengeance.
30. For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge His people."
31. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
But these examples donít get us to see the whole picture, for we are left wondering when Godís vengeance will come about.
For example, why did God forgive Moses and David, both of whom were murderers, and pour out His vengeance upon Sodom and Gomorrah, the Egyptians, and the Canaanites?
We can only speculate, for only God sees intent; thus, we must trust in His decisions, for God said vengeance is Mine.
Letís think about these things as we look at Exodus 14:19-31Ö
19. And the angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.
The time of Godís vengeance had come about with one final warning; the cloud that was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, was now standing between the Israelites and the Egyptians, like a huge stop sign.
20. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.
This was like a God-imposed truce to let the Egyptians reconsider their decision to pursue the Israelites, for they knew that God wanted the Israelites to go free.
21. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.
This was the last miracle that the Egyptians saw in making them decide whether or not to pursue the Israelites.
22. And the sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
The Egyptians saw this great miracle unfolding before their eyes, and they must have known that they were fighting the God of Israel.
23. Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea.
The Egyptians were not only pursuing the Israelites, they were openly challenging almighty God, a fight they could not win.
24. And it came about at the morning watch, that the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion.
The wrath of God had begun to come upon the Egyptians.
25. And He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from Israel, for the LORD is fighting for them against the Egyptians."
They realized who they were fighting against, but there was no indication that they had any remorse for what they had done or were doing, so the Lord slammed the door shut on them.
26. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen."
This was Godís vengeance being poured out upon the Egyptians, because even though they knew that they were fighting against God, they continued following the corrupt and violent ways of this corrupt world.
Furthermore, we believe that God wanted to show the Israelites that He had given this power to Moses so that they would listen to him and follow him.
27. So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
This kind of violence is only reserved for God, as is the sending of people to hell, for we cannot see their intent.
28. And the waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh's entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained.
We believe that we should mourn their deaths, and their persistent hardness of heart, so that we would not be like them.
29. But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
However, were the Israelites truly thankful to God for this miraculous deliverance, or were most of them also living in the corrupt ways of this world?
Unfortunately, if you read on, you will find that they were not truly thankful, and didnít fully trust Moses or God.
30. Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
31. And when Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses.
From what we are taught by history, the people may have feared the wrath of God, and may have believed in the Lord and Moses, but they didnít have faith or truly trust in them.
We need to take this to heart so that we truly trust in the Lord and donít follow the ways of Israel, just because we believe in the Lord as did Israel.
Think about why God said vengeance is mine as we look at Exodus 15:1-21Ö
1. Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said,
"I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted;
The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.
We should praise the Lord for the marvelous things that He has done, but in cases like this, we need to be very careful that it doesnít turn into gloating, because the wrath of God could befall us, too, as it later did Israel.
Are you beginning to get a hint of why vengeance should belong to God alone?
2. "The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
This is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father's God, and I will extol Him.
3. "The LORD is a warrior;
The LORD is His name.
The Lord is also a loving peacemaker, as well as being almighty God, but His desire is for us to also be loving peacemakers.
4. "Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;
And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
God didnít really do this; He opened the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape the Egyptians, and He closed it behind them; the Egyptians in their greed and warring madness pursued them into the miracle of God for the Israelites, and because of that they died.
God did not cast them into the sea; they did that themselves.
5. "The deeps cover them;
They went down into the depths like a stone.
6. "Thy right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power,
Thy right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
We believe that a better way to look at this is to think of the Lordís right hand as being mighty in righteousness, and He wants everyone to come to the glory of God.
And we need to remember that numerous times God poured out His wrath upon the Israelites, because while they knew Him, even in a casual way, they still followed the corrupt ways of the devil in this world, and the same fate could befall us, for most of us are doing the same thing.
7. "And in the greatness of Thine excellence
Thou dost overthrow those who rise up against Thee;
Thou dost send forth Thy burning anger,
and it consumes them as chaff.
This is exactly what God does, and as we said, this fate could befall us if we, as a society, continue to follow the corrupt and evil ways of this world.
8. "And at the blast of Thy nostrils the waters were piled up,
The flowing waters stood up like a heap;
The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea.
This is what God did for the ones who knew Him, but not for those who insist on living in ways not in the heavenly will of God.
9. "The enemy said, 'I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil;
My desire shall be gratified against them;
I will draw out my sword, my hand shall destroy them.'
Is not this what most of our fellow Christians and others in the world are doing to the animals, whom God also lovingly created?
We really need to examine ourselves before we gloat over what God has done to others who went against His heavenly will.
10. "Thou didst blow with Thy wind, the sea covered them;
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
But for the grace of God go us!
11. "Who is like Thee among the gods, O LORD?
Who is like Thee, majestic in holiness,
Awesome in praises, working wonders?
No one is like the Lord our God, a fact that we should remember when many of us follow the violent and bloody ways of the devil.
12. "Thou didst stretch out Thy right hand,
The earth swallowed them.
And this also happened to some of the Israelites when they challenged the Lordís authority.
13. "In Thy lovingkindness Thou hast led the people whom Thou hast redeemed;
In Thy strength Thou hast guided them to Thy holy habitation.
And as history has taught us, most didnít live as if they appreciated the holy habitation that He gave them.
14. "The peoples have heard, they tremble;
Anguish has gripped the inhabitants of Philistia.
These are the people who inhabited the land God was giving to the Israelites; they were afraid but they didnít do anything about it.
15. "Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed;
The leaders of Moab, trembling grips them;
All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.
This didnít happen until later, because they didnít repent, but thought that they could fight against God and His people.
16. "Terror and dread fall upon them;
By the greatness of Thine arm they are motionless as stone;
Until Thy people pass over, O LORD,
Until the people pass over whom Thou hast purchased.
And when the Israelites began to live like the people of the land they were entering, the same terror and dread fell on them, a fact that we need to remember today.
17. "Thou wilt bring them and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance,
The place, O LORD, which Thou hast made for Thy dwelling,
The sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established.
The Lord did this, but they didnít appreciate it.
18. "The LORD shall reign forever and ever."
Yes, He will!
19. For the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea on them; but the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea.
This happened because the Egyptians put themselves in harmís way.
20. And Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing.
21. And Miriam answered them,
"Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted;
The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea."
I donít know whether the writers omitted it, but if Miriam was really the prophetess the Bible says she was, then why didnít she warn the people that the same fate could befall them if they turned away from the Lord?
I hope this gives us some food for thought about the way we live, and why God said vengeance is Mine.
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