Does this verse sound unkind? Why is it even in the Bible? How does it square with the message of love, love, nothing but love that we hear in our contemporary worship songs? Or line up with this old hymn: “Gentle Jesus meek and mild.”
Two thoughts about this verse:
First, note that the writer of this Psalm is not taking matters into his own hands. We are not talking about a Charles Bronson Death Wish vigilante movie! No, the writer is asking God to take care of it.
As Paul said:
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19).
Second, Jesus is more patient than the Psalmist. God’s wrath is real but Jesus has given it a delay. Jesus has mercifully postponed the sentiment expressed on the coffee cup, by allowing us to live in an age where God’s grace, love, patience and mercy are triumphing over his judgment.
Peter expresses it beautifully:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
We want to respond to this news by steering people to the love of Christ and the offer of repentance, forgiveness and salvation that he makes. Yet, we also give a loving warning by letting people know that the patience of God really will end one day and then it will be too late. So we don’t stop pleading and persuading.
Today, you are in one of two camps: You are either very thankful for the redemption Jesus accomplished for you, or you are receiving a loving warning to respond to God’s offer before it is too late.