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The Royal - Book Three: Soul Food (Week 2)
Miles McPherson - August 29, 2010

Message Recap

Today we continue in our series “Soul Food,” an exploration of the Hebrew poetry of the Bible, the intent of which is to empower our souls with emotional expression. As humans, we experience a range of emotions in our lives and our relationships with the Lord. Poetic language helps us to communicate with the Father, crying out in anguish, honoring and praising Him, thanking Him in joy, pleading for assistance and, as in today’s message from Psalm 35, praying for vengeance for our enemies.

We all experience conflict and oppression at time in our lives. When an injustice happens to you, what is your response? Do you roll over? Do you take revenge? Do you get cynical? In this passage, we learn that it’s okay to feel angry about an injustice, but we have biblical responsibilities for our behavior: we are to talk to the person, not about him or her, and to trust God alone to take revenge, not take matters into our own hands.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

1. Vengeance is taken out on the unrighteous before God, not the unfriendly toward you.

As David shows us, we can call on God to take up a righteous cause without seeking revenge of our own:

Plead my cause, O LORD, with those who strive with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help.
Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation.” Psalm 35:1-3

God is not our good luck charm, enacting the positive and negative things we desire Him to do. If you have an issue with someone but that person has not offended God, don’t expect Him to intervene. You may have a distorted view about what really happened! Only God knows what is inside a person’s heart.

2. God grants vengeance to those whose lives have a righteous cause and a righteous pattern.

As David seeks the Lord’s help, he reminds God that his own prior actions toward his enemies have been righteous:
But as for me, when they were sick,
My clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled myself with fasting;

I paced about as though he were my friend or brother;
I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.

How is your behavior and attitude toward those that wrong you? The more you pray for the people and release your anger, the less you burden will experience. Let it go! When you forgive someone who has hurt you, it doesn’t mean you accept what s/he did; it simply means you release him/her from the responsibility of healing your pain. Only God can heal you. And as you pray, God may open a whole new perspective of compassion and love for the very person that wronged you.

3. Vengeance will be given according to the righteousness of God.

In the Old Testament Law, God laid out the blessings that come from obedience and the consequences of sin. Just before Moses dies, he recites the law again. He reminds his people that God has set before them life and death:

I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. Deuteronomy 30:16-19

There may be some people about whom you’ve been gossiping or praying negatively, as though you are qualified to administer their punishment. But only God can determine the right or wrong of another person. Do not ask God to do something out of your own anger. Ask instead for God to deal with him/her according to His righteousness, as He is the Holy One who sets right and wrong before us.

4. The vengeance that results from prayer against other s is the same vengeance that prayer will bring on you.

Be careful how quickly you judge other people and determine their wrongdoing and punishment. You certainly can’t know the whole story. (As Pastor Miles said, you don’t even know the whole story about YOU!)

God is always going to do right by His standards, not yours. When you pray “in Jesus’ name,” what God hears is, “All of what I just prayed, if it’s not Your will, then let Your will be done. And if I’m the one that did wrong or has an evil heart or wrong motives, then deal with me.”

Nobody else’s behavior is your responsibility—only yours. Get your heart right with Him first, and then let His goodness unfold in the conflicts in your life.

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