1 Samuel 25
When I hear of injustices, my first reaction is anger, just like David’s. I want to gather my troops, strap on our swords, and ride in to mete out justice to the oppressors. Or maybe charter a bus, paint some signs, and start a riot. But God’s Word tells us that God says, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay.” In Romans, we’re admonished to “leave room for the wrath of God.”
Taking matters into our own hands suggests that we don’t trust God to be fair and just. It says that we believe He won’t make things right in the end, or that we are impatient for His justice. Or maybe that we think He needs our help.
None of these are true. God’s justice is perfect, even if His timing is on an eternal clock. He doesn’t need our assistance — He gives each breath and He can take the next one away just as easily, without a single blow.
But when we seek vengeance, we poison our own hearts. Instead of being a vessel of honor, filled with the love, compassion, and forgiveness that Christ pours out onto and into and through us, we become bitter. The vengeance that starts with the one who oppressed sours relationships with everyone around us as our anger rages. In any battle there is collateral damage, and when we seek revenge, our efforts inevitably hurt more than just the target of our attack. As survivors of the attack follow the pattern we’ve set, the war escalates whether it is between nations, families, or individuals.
God shows David a better way through Abigail’s counsel. When we follow Christ’s admonition to turn the other cheek, to forgive, and trust God to fight our battles, God gives victory in several ways. First, as with David, God provides. Through Abigail, God provided all that David needed and then some. God resolves the issue with the oppressor. Stay with me here; I know we don’t always see the result of this. But God’s Word tells us who wins in the end. Whether God, in His mercy, brings the oppressor to repentance, forgiveness, and salvation, or whether his end is judgment, justice reigns.
Who has harmed you? Disrespected you as Nabal did David? Who has repaid your kindness with evil? Have you turned it over to the Lord and entrusted the outcome to Him? As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, who willingly took God’s wrath for us, so that we would be free from the vengeance we deserved, consider giving yourself a gift this Christmas. Give yourself the gift of freedom from the burden of bitterness and vengeance.