Settling the Score - Romans 12

Settling the Score

Romans 12:1-21

People possess what appears to be a natural instinct for retaliation.  An angry rage often raises its ugly head whenever someone believes an injustice or wrong has been committed against them.  The revengeful urge to get even takes over.  No one is allowed to get away with anything.  Road rage on our highways, parental violence and verbal abuse at children's sporting events, and other nonsensical incidents of retribution are too commonplace in today's society.  At times the evil encountered is more serious. 

But Paul writes, "Repay no one evil for evil."  Romans 12:17.  And again, "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves."  Romans 12:19.  We're reminded of the words of Jesus, who said, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' but I tell you not to resist an evil person...."  Matthew 5:38, 39.  "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men."  Romans 12:18.  Peace with others is not always possible, but Christians should not be responsible for the lack of peace.

We are told to "give place to wrath."  This means that we should give God the opportunity to bring His vengeance to bear.  After all, He is the One who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay."  See Romans 12:19 and Deuteronomy 32:35. 

In 1 Samuel 25 a rich man named Nabal had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats.  David learned that his shepherds were shearing the sheep at Carmel, so he sent some of his men to provide a wall of protection for them.  Ten young men went in David's name to Nabal with words of peace.  They told him what they had done and said, "Please give whatever comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David."  They were expecting Nabal to honor them with a feast.

Instead the rich man answered, "Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse?"  He continued to mock David, comparing him to a servant who had broken away from his master.

When David heard what Nabal had said, he was infuriated.  "Now David had said, 'Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him.  And he has repaid me evil for good."  Four hundred men strapped on their swords and were off to settle the score with Nabal, intending to destroy every male in his household.

One sane person emerges in this story.  Her name is Abigail, the beautiful wife of Nabal.  She went out to David with a gift of bread, wine, sheep, grain, raisins, and figs.  But more important, Abigail's words of reasoning turned him around.  Among other things she said, "The life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God; and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out, as from the pocket of a sling."  She was telling David that vengeance belongs to the Lord.

The next morning Abigail told Nabal what had transpired.  "Then it happened, after about ten days, that the Lord struck Nabal, and he died."

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  Romans 12:21.  In Romans 12:20 it says, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."  This is an incomplete quotation from Proverbs 25:21, 22.  It adds, "And the Lord will reward you."

Let God settle the score.  He has all the facts, and He'll do the right thing at the right time.  Vengeance belongs to Him.  He will repay.  You can count on it.

 

Heavenly Father, how quick we are to rush to judgment!  Teach us to give place to wrath.  Keep us from evil, and lead us in paths of peace.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

A Wake Up Call - Romans 13

 
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