Text: Jeremiah 11:18-20
It seems almost anti-Christian, doesn’t it? Asking God to take vengeance upon your enemies? What happened to turning the other cheek? What happened to forgiving and forgiving and then forgiving some more? Yet today we see Jeremiah calling upon the Lord to do just that–take vengeance upon his enemies that threaten him.
So was that right for Jeremiah to do?
Yes. We call these kinds of prayers–or psalms in the book of Psalms–imprecatory prayers. They are prayers that essentially ask for God to crush his enemies. Remembering that Scripture says that vengeance belongs to God and not us, imprecatory prayers ask that God continues to execute his will over and above all enemies.
So while we humbly show love to all, even to our enemies, we at the same time pray that God’s enemies be overcome and defeated. After all, God’s enemies restrict us and persecute us. They oppose the preaching of God’s Word. They work to stop the growth of God’s Church. Their defeat means more opportunities for God’s people and God’s Word to grow.
Finally, these words of Jeremiah remind us of our Savior Jesus. Just as Jeremiah was led like a lamb to the slaughter, so also the great Lamb of God was. Jesus suffered at the hands of his enemies and was finally killed. Yet in this suffering and death Jesus won the ultimate victory over all our enemies–Sin, Death, and the Devil.
Thanks be to God for his victory! Thanks be to God for his power over our enemies!
Entrust to him all your cares and concerns about our enemies of faith. Give to him all glory.
Prayer: All glory be to you alone, Lord God Almighty. Watch over me with your great power and might. Keep me safe from all enemies. Crush them with your mighty power, that all may see you as King of kings and Lord of lords alone. Amen.
Devotion Text: Psalm 146
This is our God.
Our God is the God of Jacob who maintained his promise of the Messiah through years of sinful humanity. This God who made the heavens and the earth also designed to give his creation as an inheritance to his people, though we have not earned it. This God has remained faithful though we have not. This God is our God not because of anything we have done to earn it, but because he loves us.
Reading this Psalm is a tremendous lesson in prayer. The attributes assigned to our God here have been the attributes God has had since the beginning of time. God has always upheld the cause of the oppressed, fed the hungry, set prisoners free, given sight to the blind and so on.
Look no further than Jesus. Our Savior literally gave sight to the blind while he was on Earth. He fed the hungry with earthly food while feeding them with everlasting spiritual food. Jesus constantly lifted up those who were bowed down–eating with tax collectors and admonishing those “without sin” to throw the first stone. Our Jesus loved the righteous and frustrated the wicked, forever, by his death on the cross.
Those same attributes are still present today as Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, looking after the widows and orphans of this world–both believers and unbelievers–because of his incredible compassion. Our God still loves the righteous and frustrates the wicked as he guides his church to its eventual home in heaven.
Prayer: My Jesus, thank you for being what I could not–perfect, blameless, loving, self-sacrificing. You became what I could not be so that I might become what you are. Forgive me for all of the times I have put my trust in this world’s princes or in myself. Forgive me for all the times I have failed to praise you for your greatness and your grace. You alone have the power to help and the power to save. In your name alone I trust and in your name I pray, Amen.