Room at the Table

The Forgiving Avenger

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"O LORD our God, you answered them; you were a forg
iving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings."

- Psalm 99:8

The psalmist sings another paradox.

Paradoxes make great poems and songs. They are also, often, along with other arts, the only way to convey great truths. God forgave the men, but avenged their wrong doings. How? He just does. Jesus demonstrates how in the painful painting of the cross, the most grotesquely beautiful and paradoxically truthful expression of realism in salvation history. Go accomplishes ultimate justice on His own back. God is the suffering servant who bears our iniquities and carries our sorrows, as Isaiah puts it for, "the chastisement of our peace was upon Him."

Part of the meaning is that, this God of grace does indeed punish and discipline us, but it is not enough to nor designed to settle the score. It costs God to discipline His children. Every parent understands this. The easy route is to ignore a child's misdeeds. That is bad parenting. Good parenting takes time, effort, and resources.


God is a good parent.