And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the children of Israel. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.” So Moses spoke to the people, saying, “Arm some of yourselves for war, and let them go against the Midianites to take vengeance for the Lord on Midian.” (Numbers 31:1-3)
The Scripture tells us that God has declared, “Vengeance is Mine” (Deuteronomy 32:35) and, consequently, we are not to avenge ourselves but allow God to repay those who are in error. The Bible also says that God will, “rid Myself of My adversaries, and take vengeance on My enemies” (Isaiah 1:24). So according to our passage for today, there are times that He uses His people — who are often referred to as His “armies” — to exact His vengeance upon His enemies, as opposed to us determining when and how to take vengeance upon our enemies — see the difference?
Where this aggression against the Midianites is concerned, it is the continuation of what began when the daughters of Midian seduced the sons of Israel at Ba’al Peor and the consequential plague and rebellion. Setting a snare for the sons of Israel amounted to an attack on God’s people and an attack on God’s people is equivalent to an attack on God Himself. Therefore, in one of his final acts as the leader of the LORD’s congregation, Moses was to lead a ruthless war against those who arrogantly opposed the God of Israel.
It is not common for us to consider that our God is a warrior — but He is. In fact, this is one of the things the children of Israel celebrated after the defeat of Pharaoh and his war chariots — “The Lord is a man of war” (Exodus 15:3). Not only that, but He consistently identifies our enemies so that we will not forget who we are war with. In other words, God makes sure that enmity — “hostility, a state of war” — exists between His people and their enemies. Chief among them is the Adversary which is why, in the very beginning, the Scripture tells us that God placed enmity between the woman and the serpent and their respective seeds.
The point, today, is not to provoke us to go wage war against the people we don’t particularly like, including those who are obviously opposed to the ways of God. No, our fight is against the Adversary and the different principalities who work in and through the people who stand opposed to the ways of God. Only our Father in Heaven has the authority and righteousness to determine what becomes of the people. As His army, we need to combat the one behind the scenes; the one who is pulling all the strings — the enemy of our soul. And so let us “take vengeance” on God’s primary enemy, Satan, by standing for righteousness and taking ground from the kingdom of darkness. Let’s strive and contend for the Kingdom of Heaven for the glory of God and the deliverance of those in bondage.
Blessings and Shalom,