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19 November, 2012

Revenge



Read Jeremiah 20:1-6
Jeremiah and Pashhur
When the priest Pashhur son of Immer, the chief officer in the temple of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the Lord’s temple. The next day, when Pashhur released him from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The Lord’s name for you is not Pashhur, but Magor-Missabib.a For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will hand all Judah over to the king of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. I will hand over to their enemies all the wealth of this city—all its products, all its valuables and all the treasures of the kings of Judah. They will take it away as plunder and carry it off to Babylon.  And you, Pashur, and all who live in your house will go into exile to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.’”

I find Jeremiah chapter  20, heart breaking. There is also something about him in his painful trials and complaints to God that reminds me of David.  He hashed it out with God, then in the end he always ends up saying something like you are my God, I trust in you and I put it all in your hand to do according to your will. Jeremiah was depressed and hurting because of the nature of his ministry. He prophesized exactly what God told him to, he was beaten by the priest Pashur, the son of Immer who was the chief priest of the temple of the Lord. Immer actually served under David’s reign. Pashur, was a priest so he and Jeremiah were basically in the same boat. So, if anything, his job would have been to look after Jeremiah’s well being.  Instead, he humiliated Jeremiah to discourage him from such prophesy.

As a priest , pashur also had a hard heart and did not take heed to Jeremiah’s word which was from the Lord Himself. Instead, he had him beaten, put in prison and in stock which is an instrument of torture. From what we read, Jeremiah never said a word, he submitted to the humiliation and the injustice. This is the beauty of serving a just and divine God.   As Christian, God made it clear to us that we have no right to retaliate. It is more so when we are walking in His will and someone else decides to make an example of us to feed their ego and accomplish their own goals.

The plan that God had there for Pashur was definitely not good news and no one in the right mind would want to be in his shoes after God made such personal plans for Pashur who dealt treacherously and heartlessly with His servant Jeremiah. We see in this passage that  judgement came swift. God reassured Jeremiah right away. Unfortunately, most of the time things do not happen that fast. We deal with people who hurt us on purpose and for their own gain. While we have no idea how long it will take God to deal with them, we have to resist putting our own little vengeance machine in action.

I know what I am saying is not easy and personally, there were times in my life where people hurt me so deep inside just because I was there, and because I tend to be an easy prey. On several occasions I wished that God could send a bolt of lightning right then and there, to avenge me. As I get deeper in Him, I learned to live my life through Him, I realized God Himself deal with me with mercy and patience. Through His grace, I did not get what I deserve so now, instead of wishing a bolt of lightning after those who hurt me for their own pleasure I learn to pray for them. I refuse to give in to the need for revenge and instead I keep on praying until my prayer becomes a sincere desire for my offender to have an encounter with God. I learn to pray for healing for myself so that Satan does not gain a foothold in my relationship with Him.  While it will never be an easy choice to take the high roads, but as Christians, God does not give us a choice and Christ was our example all throughout His life on earth until the last moment. We simply cannot be above the Master.

PRAYER:  Father your Word instructs us not to seek for revenge and we should leave it to you. It is not always easy Savior. Nevertheless, your Word should prevail if we say we belong to you. So daddy, I pray that my brothers and sisters in Christ would learn to glorify you when they are hurt and humiliated by others just because they have the power to do so. I pray that we all as a community, your church and your people would learn to trust your judgement is divine and timely. So instead of focusing on the pain and those who offend us, I pray we learn to turn our hearts to you and look to you to defend us, because your Word will not come back void to you.