BIBLE READING: Numbers 31-33
In the book of Romans, Paul warned that the early Christians should never look to repay evil with evil to anyone. In fact, Paul taught us to do just the opposite “To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:20-21). Yet in today’s reading in Numbers 31.2, God is telling Moses to “Avenge the people of Israel on the Midianites”. Certainly, God isn’t commanding Moses to do something that He condemned in Romans 12? Not at all. In fact, if we continue reading into the book of Numbers, we will find it isn’t Moses or the Israelites taking vengeance at all. Numbers 31.3 says for the Israelites to “execute the LORD’s vengeance on Midian”. This wasn’t Moses and the Israelite seeking out revenge, this vengeance was coming straight from God. According to Romans 12.19 “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”. God delving our vengeance is a concept that we should be familiar with; God executed His vengeance in the days of the flood. God also executed His vengeance on Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 and God will also execute His judgment on those that refuse to obey His word. Paul warns us that on the Day of Judgement God will return “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). If we can learn anything from this passage, it’s that the Lord’s vengeance is not something any of us want. God’s vengeance is just as much a part of God as is His Love; we cannot separate either one of them from God. Therefore, we must live our lives in such a way that we seek to please Him rather than give Him reason to execute His vengeance on us. Remember what the Hebrew writer says about that vengeance “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God” (Hebrews 10.31).