Saturday, February 7, 2009

Revenge vs Restraint

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 12:19
When was the last time someone did something to you, said something about you, treated you unfairly or was unkind? How did you respond? Did you lash out? Did you return evil words or actions for their words or actions? Did you allow yourself to get drug down into the mud with them until you both were covered from head to toe?

In 1 Samuel 24 we find that King Saul is desperately pursuing David. He wants him dead! Saul is being driven by his own passions and evil desires. He is far from the man he used to be. Far from the Spirit of God. We find that Saul has taken 3000 chosen men and they are tracking David down. In pursuit, King Saul went into the cave where David and his men were hiding to relieve himself. David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul's robe.

Immediately, David was "conscience-stricken". The Holy Spirit got hold of David's heart, preventing him from doing anything further. Why? Because even though Saul was walking in rebellion, he was still the anointed King of Israel.

It's hard when someone we love, someone we trust, someone in authority over us treats us unfairly or betrays us. In my flesh, I'll tell you the truth, the first thing I want to do is get even. Make them pay for what they have done. Give them a taste of their own medicine. But that's not what David did. David's heart was pricked by the Holy Spirit and he was called to give grace where grace wasn't deserved. Isn't that what God has done for me?

David had the opportunity to end this drama once and for all and take his place as King over Israel. And yet, he showed great restraint. David respected God and desired to honor Him more than he desired revenge. What he did was out of respect for God and respect for the role of the King of Israel, not Saul. God's cause, God's timing, God's will, God's plan required David to be obedient and allow God to remove Saul from his place of leadership. It was God who would establish David as the next King of Israel, not David.

David did not excuse or absolve Saul for his sins against David, but instead said, "May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you." David chose to allow "God to be God" over his circumstances and not to take matters into his own hands. He was willing to submit to the Holy Spirit of God. He yielded his will to God's will and trusted that God was at work in both of their lives.

What will you do with the person who has hurt you? What will you say to them? How will you move forward from here?
  1. Listen to the Holy Spirit when he "pricks your heart". David found himself suddenly aware that his actions were displeasing to God.
  2. Change your behavior. When David's heart was pricked, he immediately stopped what he was doing. He did no harm to Saul.
  3. Exercise Restraint. David had the perfect opportunity to exact revenge, but he didn't do it. Instead he turned Saul over to the Lord. He allowed God to deal justly with Saul, in His timing not David's.
  4. Honor God with your actions. Beth Moore said, "If you are willing to honor a person our of respect for God, you can be assured that God will honor you."
God is always faithful!


Melani said...

It should be our constant goal to Honor God and not the world.. Revenge can turn us in to bitter, ugly people. For Me and My House I will serve the LORD....I choose to Honor God with my actions today...

Yolanda said...


Meat Sister, meat. And I'm having to swallow becuase I can't spit this one out. Hit close to home, hit close to home.

I want to sneak up as well, and cut a corner off....I'm trying so hard to not splatter them, and so often I end up in tears.

I know God is my vindicator, but generally I get blind sided by my family. I'm learning more and more to allow God, not Yolanda.

When I is so much prettier.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Powerful stuff today! Sometimes I think I have it all under control and along comes someone who treats me bad and here comes those "get back at them" feelings that I had hoped conquered! Good, good lesson today Lisa!



I've been pondering and asking God some things about having to confront someone on her sin of desiring to follow her own ways - rather than God's ways. She is calling God a liar - by saying she is 'exempt' from His commands - and I want to rush to HIS defense and ask her why she would choose to beleive the lies of the enemy rather than God. But in His answer to me - God keeps telling me to "Show Mercy - to "Give Compassion" and to "Exercise Restraint" - and to "Speak the TRUTH in LOVE" - with sweet words rather than bitter or judgmental ones. He reminded me how long it took me before I made those "right choices".
I must keep praying and trusting for HIM to do the work.

Some people [like me] have to "crawl" on their knees a lot longer before they learn to "walk" in His steps.

Looking Upward and Choosing JOY,