YHWH El Gemu’ah
Names of God – Part 21
LORD God of Retribution
YHWH is the actual name of God, revealed to Moses. In English, it is usually spelt Yahweh or Jehovah, in many Bible translations it is written as LORD (in all capitals or small capitals).
El is a Hebrew word meaning God.
The third part of the name is how people relate to God, either as individuals or as a nation, or as another group.
This is the sort of blog I like to write, the sort that offers me some sort of challenge. The last few blogs on the names of God have shown that God is restorer, true and faithful. So what do we make of a God of Retribution? Surely this contradicts the God of love we read about in the New Testament.
Here is part of Jeremiah’s prophesy:
for a destroyer has come upon her,
her warriors are taken;
their bows are broken in pieces,
for the LORD is a God of recompense;
he will surely repay.
Jeremiah 51:56 ESVUK
A God of recompense or God or retribution. How do we level this with a God of love?
To answer this we have to remember that God is a God of justice and that Babylon was the country that although foretold that they would take Judah into exile as a warning and punishment for Judah’s unfaithfulness, Babylon would go on to mistreat Juday beyond any sense of reason. The Psalmist lamented:
blessed shall he be who repays you
with what you have done to us!
Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!
The kind of persecution Judah received in Babylon was excessive, through to killing babies in front of that. Ahead of that happening God warned them that there would be consequences to their actions. But there is no taking of revenge, vendettas are out.
When God said, “Vengence is mine,” it is because his ways are different to our ways. God’s justice will be different from ours. God’s justice is supremely shown in the crucifixion of Jesus; God himself took on the sin and guilt of the world, and in the lives of believers his justice works through suffering. Bad stuff can happen to us, really bad stuff, but no matter how bad, God is able to bring good out of it.
We do not take revenge. Trust the justice of God, God will be fair.