Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man. Preserve me from the violent men who imagine mischiefs in their heart. Continually are they gathered together for war. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men who have purposed to overthrow my goings. The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords. They have spread a net by the wayside; they have set traps for me. Selah. I said unto the Lord, “Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord.” O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle. Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked! Further not his wicked device, lest they exalt themselves. Selah. As for the head of those who compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them. Let burning coals fall upon them! Let them be cast into the fire, into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
The prayer of this godly man was no doubt answered. There can be no doubt that God did rescue him from the poisonous hatred and evil intentions of those who wanted to destroy him and his work and that God did pour out “coals of fire” on the head of those evil men. But if God did so, He did so only because the godly man did things God’s way. He took his cause to the Lord, and then waited on Him for justice. He did not avenge himself.
God will answer our prayers for His help, too, if we follow the Bible’s wise examples of trusting God. David provided a perfect example of trusting God to be his avenger when he and his loyal friends were fleeing from David’s angry son, Absalom, and his army:
5. And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera. He came forth, and cursed still as he came.
6. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left.
7. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, “Come out, come out, you bloody man!” And, “You man of Belial!”
8. The Lord has returned on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned.” And, “the Lord has handed the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son!” And, “Behold, you have been taken in your own mischief, because you are a bloody man!”
9. Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray you, and take off his head.”
10. And the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? Let him curse so, because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David!’ Who shall then say, Why have you done so?”
11. And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, “Behold, my son, who came out of my bowels, is seeking my life. How much more now may this Benjamite do it? Leave him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord has bidden him.
12. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.”
13. And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.
Solomon exhorted his son to follow King David’s example:
21. If your enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink.
22. For in so doing, you will heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord will reward you.
Paul exhorted the saints in Rome to give good heed to Solomon’s wise counsel:
19. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.”
20. Therefore, “If your enemy hunger, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink, for in doing this, you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Every righteous soul, regardless of the pain inflicted, waits on the Lord to judge his cause. To avenge oneself is an expression of unbelief and pride. It is ungodly so much as to “bring a railing accusation” against the devil himself (Jude 9), much less to speak or do evil against human beings who have done you wrong. Be patient. The day of righteous, eternal Judgment is coming, the day when all things will be made known, and all things will be made right. In the meantime, trust in the Lord and live as He says for you to live.