I heard from some yesterday that the Lord will restore that which has been stolen. I find some scriptural basis in that, notably Abraham in Genesis 14 and David in 1 Samuel 30. Both had possessions and people, including relatives, that were stolen by enemies. Of interest, Abraham is recorded as gathering his troops in pursuit. David, on the other hand, is recorded as inquiring of the Lord first of whether he should go or not. Both recovered all that was stolen.
While researching this, I ran into several sites for spiritual warfare prayer for things that were stolen. One such prayer was tailored for the return of an abducted child. This prayer was very intense, as can be imagined. I suppose it would be reasonable for our petition to be commensurate with the crime, so to say. In this particular prayer, the Lord is reminded that he is a “man of war.”
Exodus 15:3,6 The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name…Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
Isaiah 42:13 The Lord goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes.
The first was from the Song of Moses. There are plenty of other examples like that. Psalm 18, the Song of David is all about this. Here’s just a sample:
Psalm 18:6-7 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry.
Certainly, we see biblical giants petitioning God knowing full well he would respond in great acts of violence against his enemies.
On the other hand, some say that all this is different in the New Covenant. In it, we hear Jesus say at the Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 5:38-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Is this a contradiction or did God make a new set of rules? Or is it something else, like both? But before we answer that, let’s look at what Paul says.
Romans 12:17-21 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord,.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The command to feed your enemy is Old Testament from Solomon. Proverbs 25:21-22, to be specific. The idea of mercy towards your enemies is not a new teaching.
So, what do we make of this? How do we pray when someone abducts our daughter? How do we pray when someone steals from us or murders our loved ones? I think it is safe to say that we are not to take the law into our own hands, lynch-mob style. But how do we pray when our child is missing? Can we call upon our God knowing full well that he may mete violence upon the perpetrator?
I think we must first be willing to have mercy on that person. How do we do that? Maybe the very best way is to ask God to have mercy on him. Remember, no sin is too big for God’s mercy, even for the one who steals our children. We must be willing to have mercy as well. In fact, it seems to me that needs to be our first reaction. On the other hand, we must also be in agreement with God that justice is good. If we agree that it is God’s decision, alone, to grant mercy, then we must leave that up to him. If he doesn’t, then it’s the lake of fire; and that’s a good thing. Right?
So, provided we are first seeking mercy on the man’s soul, I see no problem with asking our Lord, the man of war, to help us out. I think we should leave it up to him to decide how he will react. How can we deny part of who God has so clearly revealed himself as?
Father, this is touchy ground. Guide us. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers