Scripture reading for July 8th: Ecclesiastes 10-12, 2nd Timothy 4
Key Scriptures: 2nd Timothy 4:14-18 “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the Lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Paul warned Timothy by naming a man who had greatly opposed him. This was not for the purpose of revenge–God must be the only one to repay! Paul also mentioned being deserted by all his friends when he stood up in court to the charges against him. He was facing death and asked that this not be held against them by the Lord. God stood by Paul and strengthened Him. Paul was fully convinced (confident) God would rescue him and bring him safely into heaven.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to always leave all revenge to You. I believe You will always stand by me and strengthen me. You are my hope of safe entry into heaven.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or bad.”
Scripture reading for June 28th: Romans 12, Psalm 129, Proverbs 5
Key Scriptures: Romans 12:17-21 “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 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.”
Paul was instructing the Romans in proper behavior for believers in Jesus. They were to offer their bodies as and living sacrifice and renew their minds. One area needing attention was revenge. Christ-followers must never take revenge into their own hands. They must instead do good to those who mistreat them in hope that they might see Jesus and be saved. God alone can repay but He would rather show mercy to a repentant sinner.
Faith Confession: Lord, to You alone belongs all judgment and repayment for wrongs. Lead me daily to do good to those who mistreat me because of You.
Proverbs 5:21 “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord; and He ponders all his paths.”
Scripture reading for March 22nd: 1st Samuel 24-28
Key Scriptures: 1st Samuel 26:8-11 “Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. No let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of my spear; I won’t strike him twice.” But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord Himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed.”
David refused to take King Saul’s life, even though he was trying to kill him. He knew that he was God’s anointed authority and God alone was qualified to deal with him.
Thankful for God’s justice: God alone knows the heart of each person and all vengeance belongs to Him! “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, “It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:17-19)
Scripture reading for May 16: Esther 5-7
“If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.” Proverbs 26:27
“An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.” Proverbs 29:6
We must be careful when we plot revenge. All judgment and vengeance is the Lord’s. (Romans 12:19) The Lord has a way of turning the tables on those who seek revenge and plot evil. He has ways of protecting those who are innocent and especially those who are serving Him.
Haman was thrilled with his position and his influence! He boasted to his wife and friends of his good fortune and how he was the only one invited to meet with Queen Esther for a banquet. (Nehemiah 6:1-12) There was just one fly in the ointment: Mordecai the Jew would not show him honor by bowing before him! He complained to his wife and friends who proposed a plan to hang Mordecai on a gallows 75 feet high! This would have been high enough to display the execution above the walls of the city! He had the gallows built and was ready for the next day.
But God was moving silently behind the scenes. The king could not sleep, so he had the chronicles of his reign read to him. He heard the story of the plot to assassinate him–a plot Mordecai had exposed thus saving his life. He asked what had been done for this man and found out it had been overlooked. He asked who might be in the court to honor Mordecai, and providentially, Haman had just walked in! The king asked him what he would do to honor someone special to the king. Haman thought of himself and proposed a grand public honor. He was suddenly embarrassed when he found out it was Mordecai, the man he was planning to hang!
The end of the story finds Haman hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai! This is what will happen for all of His people who serve Him faithfully. It can appear as if the wicked got by with their schemes, but not at the final judgment! Check your heart today and come clean of any thoughts or plans for revenge. Forgive and turn the table back toward God’s mercy before He turns the tables on you!
Scripture reading for March 24: 1st Samuel 24-26
Have you ever known someone who was hard to get along with? Not only that, they were rich and had lots of money and refused to help those who helped them? Nabal was such a man whose record is written down for us to ponder.
Nabal was a “Calebite”, a descendant of Caleb, the faithful spy and conqueror of giants. Nabal was described as being “surly and mean in his dealings”. (1st Samuel 25:3) One of his own servants also described Nabal as a man who was “such a wicked man that no one could talk to him”. (1st Samuel 25:17) He liked to party and alcohol was also a factor in his reputation. (1st Samuel 25:36) If he were around today, he would fit in well with many men in our world: arrogance, alcohol, money, and beautiful women leading to a surly and mean disposition which most people find difficult to get along with. Looking at Nabal’s life is like watching one of today’s popular soap operas!
Nabal was married to a Abigail, a woman described as “intelligent and beautiful”. It is interesting how God places people together. Often our mate is the one who can help us with our own sins and weaknesses. It was that way in this marriage. Hearing how arrogantly her husband had treated the servants of David, who had helped protect Nabal’s herds, she quickly took action to avert a disaster. She was like the godly woman in Proverbs 31 who was working for her husband’s good. Abigail took goods and met David and his men as they were coming to seek revenge. She appealed to David, humbly asking for his favor. David listened and relented. Through his godly woman, he heard the voice of God and was spared the shedding of innocent blood.
Returning home, Abigail found her husband at a party, drunk. She waited until morning to tell him what she had done. When Nabal heard about her kindness, God struck him with what appears to be a stroke. The scripture says that Nabal “became like a stone”. When you are mean and surly and your heart gets hard, the consequences can be deadly. On the other hand, because of Abigail’s kindness and good sense, David asked her to marry him. What a turn of events!
What lessons can we learn for our lives today? First, mean and surly people cause trouble. Alcohol is a source of great trouble in families and costs individuals their health and often their soul! Second, revenge belongs to God alone. He can and will repay! Sometimes God’s timing is not as precise as in our story today, but God knows what is best and needed. He wants none to perish, but all to come to repentance if possible. He gives each person a chance. Third, when we are humble, kind, and respect others, God will and does reward us. Abigail was well taken care of. She was a good wife to her mean and surly husband. She could become a good wife to David, king of Israel! You reap what you sow!