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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

April 24, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again


Daily Reading: II Kings 9-11

 

II Kings 9:7

And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel.

 

In today’s modern-day sensibilities, the death and carnage of the Old Testament are more than the mind, and heart, can comprehend. But there it is. The Biblical record is proof of the depravity that abides in the world, even today. While mostly insulated from the death and mayhem that the Bible relates, the modern-day reader is not immune. Every day the headlines of news outlets remind us of the harsh realities of war and violence. Someone once said, “Nothing happens until it happens to you” meaning that until the unwanted dark and evil power of wrongdoing hits our homes, our families, our lives, it never really happens. For example, hearing of the violent death of an innocent life on the news is very much different from seeing it with our own eyes and dealing with it in our own homes.

 

But there it is. In reading of these confusing and heartbreaking acts of needless (as we see it) death, know this; understand two things.

 

One, God is giving to all the world through the pages of the Old Testament these true-life stories of various atrocities as warnings. Warnings that He is the Judge of all the world and will execute His justice upon all wrongdoers. Notice in today’s verse, the acts of Jehu are sanctioned by God to avenge the innocent deaths of his servants and prophets. Jehu was God’s instrument of divine recompense for sinful actions.

 

Two, this is an Old Testament picture of a coming New Testament reality. In the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, we read of the souls of the martyrs under the altar asking God how long it will be until they will be avenged (Revelation 6:9-10). Frankly, the events of the Old Testament are minor when compared to the wrath of God that will one day be poured out without measure. Matthew 24:21 proclaims of this time: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Such words are more than the mind can comprehend. But they are true words, sobering words, alarming words. After all, Romans 12:19 clearly states: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Instead of death to our enemies, we (God’s children) are to pray for them, do good to them, feed them, and care for them (Matthew 5:43-44). This is why it is so difficult for us to understand the violence of the Old Testament, because for over 2,000 years God’s true believers have lived under His laws of grace and mercy.

 

But know this too, like the Lake of Fire, all we will ever know of God’s vengeance is that which we read of in the Bible. For verses like Romans 8:1 tell us: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. What a great promise! The wrath of God can never fall upon those in Christ. Never! Again, all we will ever know of it is that which we read in the pages of God’s Holy Word.

 

Dr. William T. Howe

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