by Pastor Lawrence Bowlin
Most of us might begin our prayers by addressing God as the God of grace or the God of comfort, but I imagine many might feel uncomfortable addressing Him as the God of vengeance. Nevertheless it is an appropriate title for the Lord, for He is not only a God who is merciful to repentant sinners but also a God who inflicts punishment upon the obstinate and the wicked. He is not merely a savior but also a king, and in his kingdom justice is the rule not the exception. So when the psalmist cries out for God’s vengeance to shine forth, he is simply asking for God’s will to be done on earth “as it is in heaven.” He is asking that the proud would finally receive what they deserve, that the mouth of the wicked would be shut, that those who afflict God’s people and crush the weak would themselves be crushed.
Although they think that God doesn’t see what they do in the darkness and that He pays no attention to their underhanded ways, the psalmist recalls that the Lord sees it all and hears every cry lifted up by their victims and will bring his righteous retribution at the appointed time. In the meantime, the psalmist reminds himself of how blessed it is to be disciplined by the Lord to be taught patience and forbearance in the midst of oppression and injustice until the wicked fall into the pit that the Lord has dug for them. Likewise, he recalls God’s promise to never leave nor forsake his people, and is comforted when he remembers God’s steadfast love and consolations in the midst of adversity. He asks himself, “Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers?” It is the Lord that helps him. It is the Lord who holds him up. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is his refuge and stronghold even now and who will one day soon bring forth his righteous recompense against all his enemies.
Finally, in the remaining verses, he asks, “Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute?” Clearly, here, the psalmist is not merely referring to some group of pirates or outlaws who have trampled upon the innocent, but, rather, those who stand supposedly in the place of justice, those who are lawmakers and judges who have condemned the innocent to death and who have banded together against the life of the righteous. Clearly, in my mind, all those who have upheld the legality of abortion in this country have condemned the innocent to death and have framed it with such a false narrative by statute. Similarly, all those who are making laws today to protect the wicked and to punish the righteous are in league with the devil, even if they don’t realize it. If the Lord doesn’t grant them mercy and bring them to their senses, then we are praying to the God of vengeance to do what rightfully belongs to Him and not unto us, to “bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness.”