Say to those who are of a fearful heart, ‘Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.’” vs. 4Isaiah 35:4
We’ve seen enough Hollywood movies to have a pretty good image of what the prophet is referring to here. In this scene we’re cowering in fear while dreaded enemies slowly advance on our position. And a voice shouts out, don’t be afraid, here is your God! And as our foes poise themselves to deliver their final fatal blows, our John Wayne-like God strikes them down with sword and fist. Heads go flying, blood spurts, bodies are tossed into the air, and when all is still, our God reaches out and hugs us close. And once again we’ve been violently rescued from the hands of the evil ones! This has been a common hope for humanity from the beginning, and most recently has been the inspiration for countless stories, books, and movies. We yearn for rescue when trouble comes near–and if our enemies can be humiliated and vanquished all the better! And while the scriptures do reflect that desire for vengeance, it can become problematic when we make it the center of our prayers. In fact, it flies in the face of Jesus’ teachings about non-violence and our relationship to our enemies. He says “Love your enemies,” not bash their heads into dust and stomp on their faces. God’s love extends even to those who we despise. That’s something to think about when our blood boils and we seek revenge!
Thought for the Day: Who would I like to see God humiliate?