WE LEAVE ALL VENGEANCE TO OUR INVINCIBLE GOD
“Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. Vindicate me in Your righteousness.” — Psalm 35:23-24
Our God is a Warrior God. He has absolute power over all evil and complete goodness toward us, His people. He will fight our battles for us. He will see justice done. As we call to Him, He delivers us from our enemies (Psalm 18:3).
In the Book of Psalms, we see David crying out to the Lord for justice. He looks to his omnipotent God to fight against his enemies. He prays for vindication that can only come from a just God.
“Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek after my life! Let them be turned back and disappointed who devise evil against me!” — Psalm 35:4
David faces enemies from without and within Israel. He seeks the Lord through his psalms. Nearly a third of David’s psalms are imprecatory, calling down calamity and destruction upon his enemies and calling for God’s judgment upon their evil ways.
As Israel’s king, David expresses to God his anger at the foreign nations for their oppression and brutality against His chosen people. As a man, he cries out to his Almighty God at the ruthlessness of his personal foes who repeatedly seek his life.
“Pour out Your wrath on them; let Your fierce anger overtake them.” — Psalm 69:24
These bold or “mean” psalms of David are a call for God’s vengeance against his enemies. David’s psalms appear harsh and vindictive. Yet he is calling for God’s justice and judgment upon his foes. He is appealing to God’s sovereignty as his Deliverer. For the enemies of David are the enemies of God.
David trusts God to wield perfect justice. He prays for Divine vengeance not personal vengeance. For personal vengeance seeks to go beyond just getting even. Emotions stir a retaliatory response. Whereas God’s vengeance is just… giving what is deserved and nothing more.
“Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.” — Psalm 35:1
David hated evil and injustice. His bold psalms ask for God’s justice to be done, His righteousness to prevail and His name to not be dishonored. David prays for evil to face its deserved punishment… for sinners to reap what they sow. He looks to God’s judgment of evil to bring about His glory. David places all vengeance into the hands of God, for vengeance belongs to the Lord (Deuteronomy 32:35).
Can we pray these bold psalms of David over those who have wronged or opposed us? As disciples of Jesus, we are not to seek personal vengeance. We follow His command to love one another… a love that includes our enemies... to bless and not to curse (Romans 12:14). Our prayers reflect the heart of the Father who wishes that none perish, but that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
What are we to do with David’s imprecatory psalms? The apostle Paul teaches that a war rages between the forces of light and the forces of darkness in the unseen spiritual realm. Our battles are not against flesh and blood, but against the evil in the spiritual world (Ephesians 6:12). That means the struggle against our physical enemies is actually a spiritual one
“You have delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.” — Psalm 54:7
The spiritual enemies who oppose us are the evil one and his army… enemies of God and His people… who battle and oppress us daily. They are behind the evil in the world… and attempt to deceive people into doing evil. Our main defense is prayer.
These spiritual enemies bring along our path health, financial and relational issues that can overwhelm us… negative emotions (anger, fear, doubt, discouragement) that plague us… temptations and idols that draw our devotion away from God. These are the very enemies to whom we can direct the bold psalms of David.
If God is on our side, we need not fear our enemies. For our enemies are His enemies. We call upon the sovereignty of God to prevail as we combat the powers of darkness and evil in our lives. Greater is He who is within us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Our Lord will fight for us. His justice and righteousness will triumph.
As Christians, we are to hate evil and cling to all that is good (Romans 12:9). We seek to oppose injustice. David’s bold psalms allow us to call for God’s Divine vengeance and deliverance from our spiritual enemies. We launch a spiritual assault against the evil one and his army who attempt to deceive and enslave us.
Our trust is in our Warrior God to fight our battles for us. We take our stand with David opposing the forces of evil. In prayer, we ask for God’s mighty power to defend us. For the battle is the Lord’s not ours. He is the Victorious One who wields all power. We leave all vengeance in His hands and pray that His justice will prevail.