“Let all the house of Israel, therefore, know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:36-38
Scripture reading: 2 Kings 6:15-23
Sometimes the Lord brings deliverance through His people’s actions. Think of David against Goliath. Sometimes it is through prayer. That’s what happened here. Elisha prays and the enemy is subdued. Then something surprising happens. Elisha leads them to the king of Israel and rather than being destroyed, a great feast is prepared for them before they are sent home. It is a foretaste of the Gentile inclusion in the Church when the gospel comes. It is also an illustration of how God has commanded us to treat our enemies.
More than that, this story shows us the way God, in Jesus Christ, settles the score with His enemies. In this time of grace, God repays their evil with good. Think of how Jesus prayed for His killers’ forgiveness while on the cross. And how Peter, His ambassador, offers forgiveness to those who had Jesus’ blood on their hands. Don’t you love that about the gospel? We are God’s enemies and the Lord Jesus shows us hospitality instead of hostility as He welcomes us to feast on Him and with Him. Of course, this isn’t the only way God deals with His enemies. If His offer of grace and kindness is spurned, He will punish, and all the more severely because of that rejection.
God’s revenge. Is it possible to think about God’s revenge as ‘sweet revenge’? I don’t mean that He takes malicious delight in judging His enemies. What I mean is that His way of paying back evil is by giving good. And that is sweet revenge.
Suggestions for prayer
Pray that we would be dumbfounded and astonished by the surprising grace of God in Jesus Christ.
Reverend John van Eyk has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017.