Vignettes of God’s Vengeance Upon the Persecutors of His People

Luke 18:7,8; Romans 12:19; Genesis 12:3

Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.

For it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): This is an inestimable pledge of special love, that God should so greatly condescend for our sake. For although in Genesis 12:3 He here addresses one man only, He elsewhere declares the same affection towards His faithful people. We may therefore infer this general doctrine, that God so embraces us with His favour, that He will bless our friends, and take vengeance on our enemies.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): The saints are persons of honour; they are God’s first-born. Oh, how enraged will the Lord be against such as offer injury to them! They trample God’s pearls in the dust. They strike at the apple of His eye.

WILHELMUS à BRAKEL  (1635-1711): As the King of His church, [the Lord Jesus] keeps His church as the apple of His eye and is a fiery wall round about her, protecting her against the attacks of the enemy and reproving her enemies, as He formerly “reproved kings” for her sake, Psalm 105:14.

DAVID DICKSON (1583-1662): Howsoever the persecutors of the church conceive themselves not to oppose God but men only, when they trouble His people and servants for righteousness, yet because the quarrel is the Lord’s, therefore their opposition is declared to be “against the LORD, and against His Christ,” Acts 4:25-27.

THOMAS WATSON: The righteous are God’s diadem. Will a king endure to have His robes spit upon and His crown thrown in the dirt? What is done to the righteous is done to God Himself. When the king’s favourite is struck at, the king himself is stuck at. “I know thy rage against me,” II Kings 19:27―the rage of Sennacherib was against the person of Hezekiah, but, there being a league between God and His people, the Lord took it as done to Himself.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off,” Psalm 37:28. The awarding of honour to whom honour is due is God’s delight, especially when the upright man has been traduced by his fellow men. It must be a divine pleasure to right wrongs, and to defeat the machinations of the unjust.

DAVID DICKSON: None of God’s judgments, and specially none of those judgments whereby He pleads the cause of His church against her enemies, should be lightly looked upon, “for the LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth,” Psalm 9:16.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again,” Matthew 7:2―He will be as froward as they for the hearts of them, beat them with their own weapons, overshoot them in their own bows, shape their estates according to their own patterns, and cause others to write after their copies, as it fared with Pharaoh, Adonibezek (Judges 1:5-7), and Agag (1 Samuel 15:32,33).

DAVID DICKSON: His judgments bear the impression of His wisdom and justice, so as the sin may be read written on the rod.

JOHN TRAPP: God delights to punish cruelty in kind. Sisera annoys God’s people with his iron chariots, and is slain by a nail of iron, Judges 4:13,21; Jezebel’s brains, that devised mischief against the innocent, are strewed upon the stones; by a letter to Jezreel she shed the blood of Naboth, and by a letter from Jezreel the blood of her sons is shed.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): In some cases the Lord has signally interposed, and showed how entirely the lives and the hearts of His adversaries were in His hands.

THOMAS WATSON: What became of the pagan Emperors―Julian, Nero, and Diocletian? One of them had his death wound from heaven. Others had their bowels come out and died raving. Charles IX of France had gutted himself with the blood of so many Christians in the massacre at Paris, was in such inward horror that he never dared be waked without music, and at length blood issued out of so many parts of his body that he died bleeding.

JOHN TRAPP: Charles IX, and Felix, the Earl of Wartenburg, who threatened to ride up to the spurs in the blood of the Lutherans, were stewed in their own broth, choked in their own blood: they had “blood given them to drink, for they were worthy,” Revelation 16:6.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The violent dealings of men return upon their own heads―those that showed no mercy shall have no mercy shown them, James 2:13.

JOHN TRAPP: God delights to retaliate to bloody and deceitful men especially―Sir Ralph Elerker, Knight Marshal of Calais in Queen Mary’s reign, being present at the death of Adam Damlip, martyr, bid the executioner despatch, saying that he would not away till he saw the traitor’s heart out. Shortly after this Sir Ralph was slain, among others, in a skirmish at Bullein, and his heart cut out of his body by the enemies―a terrible example to all merciless and bloody men; for no cause was known why they should use such indignation against him more than the rest, but that it is written, “With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

THOMAS WATSON: These were set up as public monuments of God’s vengeance.

MATTHEW HENRY: Thus the righteous God sometimes, in His providence, makes the punishment to answer the sin, and observes an equality in His judgments; the spoiler shall be spoiled, and the treacherous dealer dealt treacherously with, Isaiah 33:1.

JOHN TRAPP: Bishop Ridley told Stephen Winchester that it was the hand of God that he was now in prison, because he had so troubled others in his time. And as he had inflamed so many good martyrs, so he died miserably of an inflammation, that caused him to thrust out his tongue all swollen and black, as Archbishop Arundel had died before him―Archbishop Arundel and Stephen Gardiner were smitten in their tongues and famished, as they had silenced preachers, spoken swelling words against the professors of the truth, and so brought a famine of the Word.

THOMAS WATSON: Shall not God avenge His elect? Surely He will.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you,” 2 Thessalonians 1:6. They, therefore, who have given you tribulation, shall have tribulation in recompense―because He has promised it; and because He is inclined to do it.

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): Therefore whosoever they be that slight the Scriptures, they slight that which is no less than the Word of God; and they who slight that, slight Him that spake it; and they that do so, let them look to themselves, for God will be revenged on such.

JOHN TRAPP: “Ye shall sow as ye reap, drink as ye brew, and be served with the same sauce.”


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