Meek Endurance

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

Deuteronomy 32:35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.

43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

Psalm 94:1 O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.

2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.

3 LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?

4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?

5 They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage.

6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.

7 Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.

22 But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.

Proverbs 20:22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee.

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

Romans 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

MEMORY VERSE: Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off. —Proverbs 23:17-18

CENTRAL THOUGHT: The doctrine of waiting upon God for vengeance to one’s enemies was taught by Moses, repeated in the Psalms and the Proverbs, enlarged upon by Jesus and Paul, and reaffirmed by God in the revelation vision seen by John on Patmos.


Deuteronomy 32:35 “At hand”: is near. “So the Scripture often speaks of those things which are at many hundred years’ distance, to signify, that though they may be afar off as to our measures of time, yet in God’s account they are near, they are as near as may be; when the measure of their sins is once full, the judgment shall not be deferred” (Benson Commentary).

Romans 12:19 “Give place unto wrath”: leave room for God’s wrath. “Stand aside, yourself as a mere spectator, and let the wrath of God have free course to accomplish itself as He shall think well” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers).

Proverbs 23:18 “Expectation”: hope; longing; literally, a cord (Strong’s Concordance). It is the same word as the “scarlet thread” in Joshua 2:18, by which Rahab let down the Israelite spies over the wall; which also served as a signal for her and her family’s salvation when Israel returned to destroy Jericho.


The verse from Leviticus is from a long list of various commands regarding the daily life of God’s people. Many of the concepts in Leviticus 19 contain a deeper spiritual meaning that is applicable in principle to us today. The principle “Love thy neighbor as thyself” in verse 18 was repeated by Jesus as one of the two greatest commandments, “like unto” the first, which was “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” He also said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”

(Matthew 22:35-40).

“To me belongeth vengeance” is at the core of this sound doctrine. It is a recognition of the power of God to deal with His enemies in His own time and way. It teaches an humbling of ourselves and our desires before Him and a willingness to wait on Him to come to our defense, instead of having an attitude of retaliation and revenge. God spoke this to Israel in Moses’ last message to them. The Psalmist affirmed this—twice, as part of the title with which he addressed Jehovah: “O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth.”

God had promised to avenge His covenant when it was broken by His people (Leviticus 26:25). His threatenings were sure; the curses came to pass just as He had promised in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. The 94th Psalm addresses God as an acknowledgement of Israel’s sins and a recognition of His just and true ways; yet, in a longing and a plea—”How long?”—for His mercy.

Twice in the New Testament—once in Romans 12:19 and again in Hebrews 10:30—the concept is repeated. It was a hallmark of the morning church that they practiced nonresistance and sacrificial love for their enemies and those who persecuted them. The scene in Revelation 6 is of the martyrs who cried to God in their sufferings, “How long?” It goes on to say that white robes, which are later described as the righteousness of saints, and rest are given to them. It also speaks of a later time of fulfillment when their brethren would be killed as they were. That has been fulfilled in the persecution during the Papal dark ages when millions of saints were killed by the Inquisitors, but it is also being fulfilled today, as there are more Christians suffering persecution worldwide than at any time in history. The question is, dear reader, when will it also come to you and me in America?

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. Which Old Testament commandment was repeated by Jesus as part of the “greatest commandment”?
  2. Which concept was established in Deuteronomy and repeated several times later in the Bible?
  3. What question was asked by God’s people, both in the Old Testament and again in the New Testament?
  4. Explain the literal illustration of the word “expectation.”


Do we really believe this doctrine? Do we have it securely established in our hearts as we live from day to day? How does this belief affect our choices when it comes to military involvement, self-defense, or legal action? How about our feelings when we are done wrong? Do we justify carrying a grudge? Do we rejoice when an enemy is hurting?

This is the patience that will save our souls. This is part of the endurance we must have within us as iniquity abounds. This is part of the fervent love we must have that must not wax cold as we draw closer to the end. This kind of waiting involves, first, a genuine fear of God that keeps us from envying sinners. It requires an unwavering faith in God’s ways, in His wisdom, His methods, His time. It requires a meek spirit that will suffer wrong rather than do wrong. It necessitates a real rest of the soul, a settled dependence upon God to defend, protect and bring all things to an end.

“Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


“Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Have you ever heard this statement? According to the Urban Dictionary it is “an old, widely-used phrase expressing the sentiment that revenge that is delayed and executed well after the heat of anger has dissipated is more satisfying than revenge taken as an immediate act of rage.” Some of the most notable literary works of our world today use revenge as the basis of their plot, such as a number of the works penned by the noted playwright William Shakespeare. The classic literary work The Count of Monte Cristo—a book detailing the exacting vengeance of a man wrongfully imprisoned who escapes and methodically carries out a complex plan to get even with his four enemies—is considered by many literary critics to be one of the most satisfying tales of revenge ever written.

As Christians, we know what the Bible teaches and know we aren’t to seek vengeance because it belongs to God. Yet, many a heart, while maybe not actively seeking revenge, still often harbors ill will towards those that have mistreated us. I remember reading a story for Christian youth when I was young concerning two children who were being bullied by another child, and they sought out to “heap coals of fire on his head” as a method of getting back at him. However, they came to learn that what the Bible really teaches is showing love for Love’s sake, and desiring God to be merciful to those that have wronged us.

When we are persecuted, can we, like Stephen, say, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” and be at peace with leaving all judgment and recompense in the hands of God? Only then will we be practicing the patience and trust in our Heavenly Father that He so desires in us.

—Bro. Fari Matthews