El Nathan Neqamah – The God that Avenges Me (2 Samuel 22:48). “Look out for yourself because no one else will.” It’s a common refrain that says we’ve got to take care of our own intests and make sure we get the best of anyone who crosses us-because no one else really has our backs.
This may be a popular lifestyle, but it’s an exhausting way to live. Thankfully, we don’t have to. In Scripture, we are introduced to “El Nathan Neqamah”-the God who avenges us.
In 2 Samuel 22: 47-48a, David sings, “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior ! He is the God who avenges me….” Psalm 18 repeats this same song of David.
The phrase “avenges me” is literally translated from two words meaning “to give” (nathan) and “vengeance” (neqamah).
We see this in Jeremiah 51: 36, when God says to Israel, “Behold, I will plead your case and take vengeance for you.” We also see earlier in this same chapter (v. 6) that there is a specific time for God’s vengeance.
Scripture tells us in Romans 12: 17-21 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink…. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
It’s important that we understand three things. First, leaving vengeance in God’s hands does not contradict the Scriptural principles of a just society that punishes wrongdoing. Romans 13 speaks of the God-given authority of governments to mete out justice: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities…. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”
Second, leaving vengeance in God’s hands does not mean evil will go unpunished. It simply means the punishment is not our individually to give.
Third, leaving vengeance in God’s hands does not mean we fail to speak the truth boldly and in love.
What it means is that payback for wrongs done to us is not up to us. There is a God Who avenges us out of His perfect love and holiness. He is the One alone to Whom vengeance belongs (Psalm 94: 1). There’s great peace in yielding vengeance to the God Who has promised to be our defender, protector, and deliverer.