Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?…
I. VENGEANCE A PREROGATIVE OF DEITY. As just Judge of the earth, God must avenge transgression. Vengeance is to be distinguished from personal vindictiveness. Of that God is incapable. But Scripture, supported by reason and conscience, attributes to him a holy and inflexible determination to punish sin - to visit on the wrong-doer the consequences of his transgression. The rule for individuals is, "Avenge not yourselves," etc.; but the reason for this is not that vengeance is unnecessary, but that God will avenge (Romans 12:18). Magistrates, however, bear from God a certain delegated power to punish public offences - to "avenge" evil (Romans 13:4). He who "takes away vengeance from God, at the same time takes it from God's servant, the magistracy, which carries the sword of vengeance over evil-doers" (Hengstenberg). God has his own time, as well as his own way, of avenging sin, and it is not for man to anticipate this.
II. VENGEANCE ASSUREDLY IN STORE FOR GOD'S ENEMIES. However delayed by forbearance. Because judgment is not executed speedily, sinners take confidence (Ecclesiastes 8:11; 2 Peter 3:9, 10). But the sleepless eye of God is all the while upon them, and the stroke falls when they are least expecting it. Sooner or later, every transgression and disobedience will meet with its due recompense of reward. Note:
1. "Judgment begins at the house of God" (vers. 35, 36; 1 Peter 4:17).
2. It will ultimately extend to all who are God's enemies (vers. 41, 42). We are taught that the Messianic kingdom will be established on earth amidst mighty displays of judgment (Revelation 19:11-21). There will follow the general judgment of quick and dead - "that day of wrath, that dreadful day" - which will complete the work. God's vengeance is:
1. Assured. "As I live," etc. (ver. 40).
2. Terrible. "My glittering sword;" "arrows drunk with blood," etc.
3. No escape from it (ver. 39).
III. JUDGMENTS EMPLOYED TO CONVINCE BACKSLIDERS OF THEIR SINS. They tend:
1. To break up false confidences (vers. 37, 38).
2. To create a feeling of the need of God's help (ver. 39).
3. To convince of the folly of past conduct.
God compassionates even while he punishes (ver. 36). He would fain, through judgment, break a way for mercy. Illustrate this use of judgments from Israel in time of the judges, or from case of Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:11-14). This one use of the present exile. May we hope that the day of God's "repenting himself" toward Israel is drawing near!
IV. THE RECOVERY OF ISRAEL THE INAUGURATION OF A TIME OF BLESSING TO THE WORLD. The nations are to share in the joy (ver. 43). God is to be merciful to his land and people. The latter-day glory includes the conversion of the Gentiles (Romans 11.). - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures?