Reminded this morning of one of those lesser spoken of characteristics of God. God is love . . . God is grace . . . God is mercy. But mercy and grace come into play because of this other attribute of God stated so clearly in Jeremiah’s prophecy . . .
For the LORD is laying Babylon waste and stilling her mighty voice. Their waves roar like many waters; the noise of their voice is raised, for a destroyer has come upon her, upon Babylon; her warriors are taken; their bows are broken in pieces, for the LORD is a God of recompense; He will surely repay. (Jeremiah 51:55-56 ESV)
The LORD is a God of recompense . . . He will surely repay.
Babylon has been permitted to rise in power and strength . . . this “bitter and hasty nation” . . . who scoff at kings and laugh at rulers . . . whose “justice and dignity go forth from themselves” . . . whose “own might is their god” . . . whose driving purpose is violence and conquest (Hab. 1:6-11). And, in His sovereign purposes, God has determined to leverage this out-of-control nation of marauders to judge the sin of His people. In order to purify His called out tribe . . . in order to bring them to their senses . . . in order to turn their adulteress hearts away from idols and back to the God of their fathers . . . God allows His enemies to do His bidding in order to refine His people. But my God is a God of recompense . . . and His enemies, He will surely repay.
And as I linger over this attribute of God . . . that He is a God of retribution . . . that He is a God who repays . . . that He will deal with those who have determined to oppose Him . . . that a just reward awaits those just want to defy Him, . . . I can’t help but recall that once, I too was an enemy of God . . . that once, I was on the path to knowing the God of recompense.
While I acknowledged that there must be a God, I refused to believe that He had any claim or desire to be my God. Though I did not hesitate to use His name in vain . . . in ways that make me shudder to recall . . . I refused to call upon that Name or recognize any allegiance to that Name. Though I might have intuitively thought that if God is God He would have a purpose and will for me life (if I had spent time thinking of God at all), instead, I was more interested in leading my own life . . . my own will and abilities being god enough for me. Walking as a enemy of God . . . not even considering that there might be a day of reckoning . . . with no thought or fear of the God of recompense.
But God saves enemies . . . God reconciles those who, otherwise, He would demand recompense . . .
Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 8:9-11 ESV)
As I meditate on the God of recompense this morning . . . I am mesmerized by the One who is also the God of reconciliation. As I think on the wages that were mine to pay as a result of my sin, I marvel afresh that not only has my debt been canceled through the finished work of the cross, but that I have also been made a joint heir with Christ awaiting an inheritance “that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1Peter 1:4). Just recompense having given way to abundant grace.
The God of recompense . . . the God of reconciliation . . . the God to whom is due all glory! Amen?