The title phrase is something that is thrown around a lot. It is a useful quote to remind people that God is in control. He will take care of the unjust and that we should not worry about what is coming to the wicked. But often we believe that we know what is the best revenge. Let’s examine arguably the most famous example of revenge in the Bible. This will show just how wrong we can be with this thought process.
One of the greatest film scores of all time is in a Dreamworks movie that I believe you all know. Prince of Egypt may not be 100% accurate to Exodus’ accounts, but it is an incredible piece of film history. Most notably, the soundtrack is stunning, really capturing the emotion of the times. My favorite track is “The Plague”, also known as “Let My People Go” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDtGfvc3WzY
We all know the story of Moses and the ten plagues. I could let my case rest right here and we can all agree that the plagues themselves were worse than what any of us can legally do to someone. But as I was reading up on the plagues, there is something far more devious layered in the plagues than just the physical ramifications.
If you look at Egyptian mythology, you will note that they worshiped 10 gods in particular. These 10 areas of worship were the 10 areas that were attacked. For more information, read this link: https://owlcation.com/humanities/Ten-Plagues-For-Ten-Gods
When I read this, I was blown away. Not only did God destroy Egypt physically, he hit them where it really hurt. He destroyed their religion. The greatest god in their religion other than the Pharaoh was the sun god Ra. When God covered Egypt in darkness for three days, he laughed in the face of the most revered being in their religion.
And then he did the unthinkable. He humiliated the Pharaoh by killing his firstborn. In the beginning of Exodus, the Egyptians did the same thing to the Hebrews. If they had microphones in those times, I imagine God dropped one the size of Mt. Sinai.
I have always had a difficult time coming to grips with the concept that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Sure, it was his choice to begin with, but why did God have to propagate it? In my opinion, this is the major reason. God wasn’t just punishing Egypt for enslaving his chosen people. It was time for a regime of false gods to topple over. And when he did it, he did it in the most dramatic way. And let’s be honest, the coolest way possible. We see God do this with Baal later on with Elijah when he sends his fire down. Any time God decides to destroy an idol, he makes a spectacle of it. And I could not be happier to read about it, because he often does it in some of the coolest and most humiliating ways.
So in conclusion, when God says “Vengeance is mine” (Romans 12:19), let’s all take solace that God really means that. Just remember Sodom and Gomorrah. Remember Baal. Remember the golden calf that was melted down in front of the Israelites. Just listen to “The Plague” from “Prince of Egypt” and think about how God went out of his way to go above and beyond to get revenge for his people and for his glory. We may not always be able to see the tangible effects, but know that all will be judged, because nothing can escape his sight.