82. Do not retaliate

Moses and the Israelites were camped at Kadesh and on their way to the Promised Land. But in order to reach the Promised Land they had to pass through Edom. Moses sent a friendly message to the King of Edom and asked him if they can pass through. Now the Edomites were relatives of the Israelites. The Edomites descended from Jacob's twin brother Esau. They were family so to speak. And now the Israelites simply wanted to pass through their land on friendly terms. They even promised that they will not go through their fields and vineyards, but that they will stay on the king's road and even pay if some of their life stock drink of their water. The poor Israelites have been through some hardship and one would expect family to assist where they can, but the King of Edom replied:

"Stay out of my land or I will meet you with an army!" Numbers 20:18

Moses pleaded with him again and asked that they merely wanted to pass through, that was all. But the King of Edom remained adamant that they must stay out of his land. How terrible to treat your own family like that, after all that they've been through, was it too much to ask? And what did Moses do? Did he retaliate? Did he tell the King of Edom just what he thought of him? Did he muster his army to fight? No, he was wise in knowing that retaliating was not worth the consequences. He turned the Israelites around and they had to move around the country of Edom.

Today we need to be wise as well in knowing when to stand up for what is right and when to turn the other cheek. Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek in Matthew 5:39:

"But I say, don't resist an evil person! If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too."

But interestingly enough when Jesus was slapped in the face during His trial, He didn't turn the other cheek, instead He said:

"If I said anything wrong, you must give evidence for it. Should you hit a man for telling the truth?" John 18:23

Now for me it is plain to see that Jesus is saying, you should turn the other cheek in humility and not retaliate, but one need to stand up for what is right if needs be. He wasn't given a fair trial, in fact everything concerning His trial was illegal and dishonest and here He exposed them for it.

The lesson for me is that we shouldn't retaliate. We should stop and consider the consequences. We should breathe in deeply and sleep over it if need be, and then we need to think carefully before we act. Of course we should stand up for what is right and stand for the truth of the Word if that is attacked, but we should refrain from getting even. Jesus could easily have wiped out the entire Roman army and the Jewish leaders if He wanted to for the unfair way in which He had been treated. But He didn't. He stood for the truth and He was true to His Father's Word, but He never retaliated. And we shouldn't either. We must leave the judgment to Him, when He comes to rule the world.

Father God, please give us the patience and the self control not to retaliate, even if we have been treated unfairly. Give us also the wisdom to stand up for what is right and to stand for the truth of Your Word if it is attacked. In Jesus' Name. Amen

1 comment for “82. Do not retaliate”

  1. Gravatar of RonelleRonelle
    Posted Monday, April 7, 2014 at 7:29:41 AM

    Of course it is much easier for us to retaliate and 'show them'. It takes courage to turn the other way, but He is always there to help us in doing just that. Thank you for reminding us.

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