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Payback Time

This is the God who avenges on my behalf
He is the God who pays back those who harm me

The God who exacts retribution for me
God who has given me complete requital
-Psalm 18:47a (CEB, NLT, R. K. Harrison (1), J. Goldingay (2))

Do you know the God who punishes your enemy for you?  This is what David said and wrote, giving us a psalm or song with these words in it.  "This is the God who pays back those who harm me".

Was David proclaiming something only true for him, or also true for all God's children?  Psalm 18 is replicated in 2 Samuel, 22.  2 Sam. 22:48 is about the same as Psalm 18:47.

You might know the song, "Oh Magnify The Lord", that states:
The Lord liveth and blessed be the rock
And may the God of my salvation be exalted
Those are the words of David in Psalm 18 or 2 Samuel 22, just before the words, "This is the God who avenges me."  I recently wrote about being saved from my enemies, asking the question, "who is my enemy?"  Another dimension of spiritual warfare is payback time.  God's favor in your life means payback, vengeance, retribution, vindication, or requital against the enemy (Isa. 61:2).
When we think about the vengeance of God, we might think of the final judgement or the apocalyptic judgements written about in the Bible.  But, there is another aspect of God's vengeance, and it is against God's enemies now, today.

God takes vengeance on his enemies all the time.  When you invite God into your life, good things happen and bad things are pushed back, paid back, and cast out.  When God redeems a person, that person becomes a warrior against what they were redeemed from.  That is divine payback.  

God punishes the enemy who has hurt you, who has stolen from you, or who has lied to you.  That is what God does for his children.

We know that we are not supposed to be vengeful people (Rom 12:19, Lev. 19:18), and God is the one who avenges, not us (Deut. 32:35).  We don't do "pay back" to people who have wronged us (Prov. 20:22, 24:29).  When king Saul was out of control and trying to kill David, David knew it was not his place to strike Saul (1 Sam. 26:10-11).  

God avenges on my behalf, extracts retribution for me, or gives me complete requital; from my enemies.  

This Hebrew word for payback, neqamah, can be translated a number of ways, most frequently as vengeance or avenge.

Inflict harm in return for (an injury or wrong done to oneself or another).

Punishment that is considered to be morally right and fully deserved.
God who has given me complete requital. -Psalm 18:47 (Goldingay (2))
In choosing "requital", Goldingay (2, p. 278) states that,
"vengeance is perhaps too strong by way of feelings and that vindication is too abstract." About requital, he writes that, "the word has a legal background and suggests God putting things right by seeing that people in the wrong are punished, by doing so with conviction, even passion." 

J. Alec Motyer concurs with Goldingay, commenting on Isaiah 61:2, where the masculine form, naqam, of the same word is used, wrote that it means,
"just requital, the appointment of what is justly due."(3)
God does payback on the enemy for everything he has done wrong in our lives and we get to participate in it.  When requital happens, it means that things are made right, you get returns, you get rewards.  And God does the requiting.  God does the push-back and the payback.  Lost ground is taken back and the enemy is routed or cast out.

Do you get it?  God is in the business of paying you back for what the enemy rips off from you.  It is what God does and will do in your life.  When you grow in favor with God (1 Sam. 2:26, Luke 2:52), it means vengeance for the enemy.  In other words, God's favor in your life means payback for the enemy.

When we sing:
I will call upon the Lord
For He is worthy to be praised
So shall I be saved from my enemies

The Lord liveth, and blessed be the Rock
And let the God of my salvation be exalted
We are praising God for his salvation, saving activity in our lives that includes vengeance or payback, which means requital or retribution on the enemy.

The person who wrote "I Will Call Upon The Lord", has given us David's words in the King James version.  Psalm 18, verses 46 to 50 read, in the KJV:
The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.
It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.
He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.
Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.
This is "the rest of the story":  God avengeth, subdueth, delivereth, liftest me, hast delivered, deliverance, and shewest mercy.
1. The Psalms for Today - A New Translation in Current English, R. K. Harrison
2. Psalms: Psalms 1-41, John Goldingay
3. Isaiah, J. Alec Motyer


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