Friday, May 27, 2016

Christ in the Proverbs: Proverbs 20:22

Proverbs 20:22
Do not say, “I will repay evil”;    
    wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.

Though our heavenly Father has just told us about a shameful and apostate son, his book is intended for his true sons, who belong to his only begotten Son.  So it is not surprising that the next three proverbs, which are all Jahweh proverbs, mention the name of the Lord and teach us how to trust him as we walk this earth before receiving our inheritance.  Like God's true Son, Jesus, the Father's children will endure suffering in this life until they receive their inheritance.

Part of that suffering involves mistreatment from others because we belong to him.  If God's beloved Son endured mistreatment, then so will the Father's adopted sons.  As believers, we bear the name of Jesus.  We have been baptized into his name.  Our task on earth is to represent him.  But we represent him in a world that has rejected him, and among sinners with fallen natures.  In this hostile environment, we need to learn how to walk in a way that represents our Father and Lord well.

This is not easy, but our proverb is teaching us a fundamental lesson.  We are the sheep of his pasture.  We are to never say, "I will repay evil" (for sheep by nature are defenseless).  We are not to take revenge or even say that we will take revenge.  Rather, we are to remember that the Lord alone is judge.  We are not.  We are to cultivate a trusting spirit that remembers that this life is not the end.  There is an end, and at that time our Father will set things straight, if he chooses not to in this life. 

Charles Bridges writes, "Revenge rises, only because we have no faith."  Notice how Jesus endured mistreatment from sinners by trusting in his Father:

"When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

The goal is not to win here on earth.  This goes completely against our culture, which is obsessed with winning.  No, the goal is to represent our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ well in this dark world until we reach our inheritance.  We win by suffering well, not by reviling, nor by  threatening, but by waiting on the Lord.  We wait and ask our Father to pour into our hearts the peace and joy and love of Christ, which is far better than a vengeful spirit.

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