May 19, 2017

GOD: THE (ONLY, ULTIMATE, AND TRUE) AVENGER

Psalm 94

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The Lord Will Not Forsake His People

  O LORD, God of vengeance,
    O God of vengeance, shine forth!
  Rise up, O judge of the earth;
    repay to the proud what they deserve!
  O LORD, how long shall the wicked,
    how long shall the wicked exult?
  They pour out their arrogant words;
    all the evildoers boast.
  They crush your people, O LORD,
    and afflict your heritage.
  They kill the widow and the sojourner,
    and murder the fatherless;
  and they say, “The LORD does not see;
    the God of Jacob does not perceive.”
  Understand, O dullest of the people!
    Fools, when will you be wise?
  He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
  He who formed the eye, does he not see?
10   He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?
  He who teaches man knowledge—
11     the LORD—knows the thoughts of man,
    that they are but a breath.1
12   Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD,
    and whom you teach out of your law,
13   to give him rest from days of trouble,
    until a pit is dug for the wicked.
14   For the LORD will not forsake his people;
    he will not abandon his heritage;
15   for justice will return to the righteous,
    and all the upright in heart will follow it.
16   Who rises up for me against the wicked?
    Who stands up for me against evildoers?
17   If the LORD had not been my help,
    my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
18   When I thought, “My foot slips,”
    your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.
19   When the cares of my heart are many,
    your consolations cheer my soul.
20   Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
    those who frame2 injustice by statute?
21   They band together against the life of the righteous
    and condemn the innocent to death.3
22   But the LORD has become my stronghold,
    and my God the rock of my refuge.
23   He will bring back on them their iniquity
    and wipe them out for their wickedness;
    the LORD our God will wipe them out.

Footnotes

[1] 94:11 Septuagint they are futile
[2] 94:20 Or fashion
[3] 94:21 Hebrew condemn innocent blood

GOD: THE (ONLY, ULTIMATE, AND TRUE) AVENGER



Key Verse | Psalm 94:1–2

O Lord, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
repay to the proud what they deserve!
(Psalm 94:1-2)

Bio | Whit Blackwelder

G’Mornin’, JTJers! Whit here, and I’m blessed and excited to be on this journey with you into God’s Word. Some descriptors of your companion this morning: prone to wander on life’s journey, prideful in whom I consider important, selfish in whom I think about most, self-sufficient, self-centered driver, have a heart full of lustful desires, a murderer and an adulterer, a doubter of God’s faithfulness at times. But the only descriptor that matters is I am a child of God and stake that identity claim firmly at the foot of the cross! (Romans 8:1) 

BTW, Happy Birthday, Mom! Love you!

Central Truth

It's impossible for God to overlook His own wrath. He is a perfect and just Judge who will pour out justice on us all for every wrong ever committed. Yet, He sent His own Son to absorb that hellish wrath that we may have Eternal Life!

Devotional | Psalm 94

Who doesn’t love asuperhero? Someone who rises to serve justice and give balance to the brokenness.Someone who repays those who trample on the innocent, taking vengeance onwrongdoers.Someone who hears our pleas of...

Who doesn’t love a superhero? Someone who rises to serve justice and give balance to the brokenness. Someone who repays those who trample on the innocent, taking vengeance on wrongdoers. Someone who hears our pleas of desperation and acts on them. This hope in someone to deliver us is vital; for it strikes a balance to the question of how God can allow such evil to go unchecked. He assures us that every action will be brought before Him to judge, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:14).  

My pharisaical heart screams, “Yes, Lord, may your righteous fire shine forth! On everybody but me.” For I have a problem. I often think, “I’m pretty great. Everybody else is an idiot.” This is most evident when I'm behind the wheel. My sense of justice quickly kicks in, and I want to become the judge of all the terrible drivers out there. But in retrospect, I soon realize the weight of my own driving shenanigans and hear the lamentations of the driver that I just cut off. I make for an awful avenger, bent on selfish desires and ambitions.

God knows this. He reminds me that, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” (Romans 12:19b). He is perfect in recompensing. And it hits me like a head-on collision: the weight of all that I deserve in my own rebellion against God the Avenger.

Enter the Superhero, who not only foregoes recompense for my wickedness, but lays down His life as payment—both Just and Justifier. 

Remembering Jesus’ sacrifice is critical for facing woes. When my heart aches from the pains of this fallen existence and cries in desperation for justice to be served, asking God, “How long until You make things right?!,” He gently whispers to me,“My son, remember how long I pleaded for you to be restored to Me by trusting Him whom I sent to make things right, providing perfect deliverance from My perfect wrath? Now go and be My plea—even when others in their darkness pridefully trample you, My light in you will burn all the brighter.”

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Discussion Questions

1.  If you're like me and have a pulse, I suppose you've likewise railed against God's goodness and asked the age-old question, "Why, O God, did this happen?" or pleaded in desperation like so many recorded in His Word, "How long, O Lord, must this circumstance continue?" Perhaps definitive lamentations. While listening to your own heart, is it currently lamenting as such? Do you see the resolution of God's promises in your questioning? In your own words, what is hope?

2.  What do you think: can we maintain the act of worship while still crying to God in desperation? What does worship mean to you?

3.  Have you fully trusted in God's deliverance from His vengeance that you fully deserve? If so, remind yourself how. If not, how can you? The JTJ community would love to help you with that question!

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