Green Pastures By Pastor T. O. Banso
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Praise the Lord! You’re welcome to your favourite column. I started this message last week, and emphasized from God’s word that God doesn’t want you to seek revenge. He says vengeance belongs to Him. I showed how David avoided seeking revenge and how Joab revenged. I’ll continue from where I stopped last week.
Absalom, Jezebel & Ahab
In 2 Sam 13:1-22 Amnon, first son of David, raped Tamar, his half sister, and in 2 Sam 13: 23-29, Absalom, revenged by getting him killed. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Absalom had to flee from home thereafter.
In 1 Kings 19:2-3, Jezebel threatened to avenge the killing of the prophets of Baal by Elijah by killing him by the next day. Elijah ran for his life on hearing this knowing how wicked Jezebel could be. But that didn’t mean God would have allowed her. Elijah momentarily took his eyes away from God but was looking at the storm just like Peter hence he started sinking. (Matt 14:30-31) Jezebel couldn’t kill him; he returned later to his ministry.
Like husband like wife. For prophesying disaster concerning the war Ahab was going to fight, Micaiah was ordered to be put in prison by Ahab until he would return from the battle in peace. (1 Kings 22:26-27) But Micaiah called the attention of the people and said, “If you ever return in peace, the LORD has not spoken by me.” (Verse 28) Ahab never came back alive. He died in the battle as the prophet of God had said. He should have listened to the prophet of God instead of engaging in a needless revenge.
God hates revenge. That was why he was angry with the people of Edom for avenging themselves against the nation of Israel, their relations. (Ezek 25:12-14) “Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, I will stretch out my hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; even unto Dedan shall they fall by the sword. And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel; and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my wrath; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord Jehovah.” (Ezek 25:12-14 ASV)
See a similar thing God said about the Philistines for their vengeful spirit: “Because the Philistines dealt vengefully and took vengeance with a spiteful heart, to destroy because of the old hatred, therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will stretch out My hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethites and destroy the remnant of the seacoast. I will execute great vengeance on them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I lay My vengeance upon them.’” (Ezek 25:15-17 NKJV)
Don’t seek revenge; leave everything in the hands of God. He will fight for you. “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?” (Luke 18:7 NKJV)
Reasons revenge is bad
•Revenge is forbidden by God. To revenge is to act in disobedience to the Word of God. Lev 19:18 says, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” (NKJV) God has said you shouldn’t seek revenge, and to do so is a sin. “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.” (Rom 12:17 NKJV) 1 Peter 3:9 says a similar thing: “Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” (NKJV) Revenge is bad because it is forbidden by God and therefore it’s a sin.
•Revenge is not the spirit of Christ. You can’t call yourself a Christian and be seeking revenge. Revenge is contrary to the spirit of Christ. When James and John asked Jesus if he wanted them to command fire down from heaven to consume the village of Samaria that refused them passage on their way to Jerusalem just like Elijah did, Jesus rebuked them saying, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them…” (Luke 9:55-56 NKJV) If you’re a Christian don’t seek revenge; the Spirit in you forbids it.
•Revenge is taking over God‘s work. We read earlier in Rom 12:19-21 and in Deut 32:35a that God says vengeance is His. God will not be pleased that you’re taking over His job. You are, by that, saying you can do it better than Him! Leave God to do His job; you can’t do it better than Him. Don’t trespass!
•Revenge doesn’t make you feel better, it makes you feel worse. People say, “Revenge is sweet.” That is talking about “when you feel satisfaction from harming someone who has harmed you.” (Cambridge Advance Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus) Repaying evil with evil can never make you feel better. Repaying evil with evil may appear sweet before the revenge or in the short run but much later after revenge, the feeling of satisfaction turns to regret. You don’t feel better than you were; you actually feel worse. “The best sort of revenge is not to be like him who did the injury.” (Marcus Antoninus)
•Revenge doesn’t solve the problem. It is merely a quick-fix not a permanent solution. Revenge leaves the original problem unsolved. It doesn’t restore to you what you lost. Rather than healing old wounds, it keeps old wound fresh. It doesn’t reverse the harm done you.
Revenge makes you just like the person who has wronged you. If the person is a murderer, retaliating by killing equally makes you a murderer. Even philosophers agree with the Bible that revenge is bad. English philosopher and statesman, Francis Bacon said, “In taking revenge a man is but equal to his enemy, but in passing it over he is his superior.” Your action may even make you a worse person than the person who wronged you.
I have been able to discuss six reasons today. I’ll stop here and conclude this message next week. Act on what God has spoken to you. Be a doer of the Word. Don’t seek revenge.
If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God”
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things becoming all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.