September 3, 2008

Isaiah 35 Vengeance, Recompense, Vindication

Posted in Devotionals at 4:15 pm by Sarah Bosse

Isaiah 35 is really growing on me…here’s a piece of it:

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

And as I’ve been studying various chapters in Isaiah, I’m making a link between God’s vengeance and our redemption.  Isaiah 54:17b says, following the encouraging passage that was part of that devotional today, “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”  You can have one or the other – God’s vengeance or God’s vindication.  Eternally, you cannot have both.  It is amazing to see a small bit of the riches we have in Christ. 

In verse 4 of Isaiah 35, there is a call for the believer to “behold” his God and to expect his salvation.  Yet sandwiched in between those two ideas is this idea of the “vengeance” and “recompense” of God.  How does it fit in?  I think that it fits in because the believer:

1) trusts in the will, sovereignty, and providence of God;
2) trusts in the goodness of God;
3) has assurance of his salvation;
4) which results in joy in the Lord and;
5) a view of God that gratefully receives God’s vindication through Christ Jesus. 

Vengeance
Dictionary definition – Infliction of punishment in return for a wrong committed; retribution.  With force or violence; greatly; extremely; to an unreasonable, excessive, or surprising degree.
God hates sin.  And he has every perfect right to hate sin.  Therefore, the punishment for sin (which is death and eternal wrath) is never too great.  God’s vengeance is deserved, but it can never be unreasonable or excessive.  His vengeance has been stored up and reserved for those to whom He will say “I did not know you” when His recompense is fully accomplished. 

Deuteronomy 32:43 – “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance on His adversaries.”
Nahum 1:2 – “A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; the Lord is avenging and wrathful.  The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies.”
Romans 12:19 – “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

Recompense
Dictionary definition – To return an equivalent for; to give compensation for; to atone for; to pay for.
Recompense works both ways.  Recompense for evil is paid to those who have not turned to Christ.  Their reward is what they craved – the fruits of sin.  Yet the recompense of God works in the opposite direction as well.  Because of Christ’s perfect sacrifice, believers in Christ are given vindication and victory – the fruits of faith in Christ and living for God’s glory and purposes. 

The believer, honoring God and esteeming Him above all else, doesn’t trivialize or downplay the vengeance or recompense of God.  Without the vengeance of God, there would be no need for the recompense of God.  And without the recompense of God, there would be no hope for salvation.  While the believer senses, in part, the sincerity and seriousness of the vengeance and recompense of God on the unbelieving, he can also rejoice in his vindication. 

Vindication
Dictionary definition – To clear, as from an accusation, imputation, suspicion, or the like; to afford justification for; justify.
This is simple – we need not be cleared of suspicion, accusation or imputation, but of the actual act!  We did it and we’re guilty – it is a fact.  And on our own, we could not plead our case for mercy.  The only way out is to plead the blood of Christ on our behalf, and to accept God’s justification on our account.  And by Christ’s blood, God is pleased to give full pardon.  This vindication which covers the believer is the source of great joy and rejoicing! 

Isaiah 35:4
“…”Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.””

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1 Comment »

  1. bry said,

    I love it 🙂

    reading this… got me thinking about your isaiah thing and got me thinking back to ezekiel… and I looked forward at all the section headers about what Jesus did following. I have nothing profound to say except that I love God’s word

    Luk 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.
    Luk 4:17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
    Luk 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
    Luk 4:19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
    Luk 4:20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
    Luk 4:21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”


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