I grew up in the ’70s and early ’80s. As a foster kid, later adopted, I got beat up by my peers a lot. I still remember the fear. Being cornered under the fire escape stairs behind the school. Running down the alley, my heart pounding through my chest. Picking myself up, bloodied and bruised, off the parking lot asphalt watching my tormentors saunter away, laughing and smacking each other on the back.
I remember the humiliation and self-pity turning to anger and rage, which I carried for so many years. I remember the abuse before I was adopted as well. The internal mix of inexpressible emotions left me drained and helpless.
Living With Vows of Vengeance
For years I carried that stuff, a deadly poisonous rot. The vows of vengeance I made in my heart. The ways in which those vows shaped the person I became. The terrible regret I feel for the lives I, in turn, destroyed, living out those vows in my heart and soul.
I finally was born again in Christ when I was 27, but the rot in my soul lingered there, buried deep beneath a façade of “Christian” charity. The Word of the Lord and the Holy Spirit of God, that faithful tiller of the soil of my heart over the years, shed light into those dark, infested corners.
In Jeremiah chapter 51:19, I read, “He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for He is the Maker of all things…”. The Book of Hebrews shows us that this can only be talking about Jesus Christ.
Referring to Jesus as the Portion of Jacob, Jeremiah continues in v.20, “You are my war club, my weapon for battle….” The verses that follow are of God’s violent vengeance against ‘“Babylon and all who live in Babylonia for all the wrong they have done in Zion,” declares the LORD.’ (v.24)
This is not God’s righteous violence against the enemies of the Lord or judgement of the world, but it is vindictive violence directed against those who have oppressed Judah.
Jesus Will Fight For You
I find here a sense of comfort in this portrait of Jesus Christ as the Portion of Judah. It is an aspect of Jesus that is barely seen in the gospels – Jesus cleansing the temple is the only instance I know of.
You see, it is one thing to think of Jesus as our Advocate in the legal sense, where he is our defense lawyer in the courtroom of heaven, defending us against the accusations of Satan our adversary – which is comforting, itself.
But what of the violence done to me? Am I not now, in Christ, the temple of God?
Is Jesus willing to do battle against those who have violated this temple and made it a den of robbers and thieves; those evil demons who have poured their poisonous potions into the deep recesses of my soul over the years that I was enslaved in sin until Jesus set me free?
Is Jesus willing to do violence against those who have violated me? Against those who have directed their unjust violence against me?
And here in Jeremiah, the LORD declares that Jesus, the Portion of Judah, who is also my Portion Forever, is willing to fully vindicate me. To be my vindication not only in the courtroom of heaven but also to do battle against those who have by violence sought to separate me from himself.
The Battle Is No Longer Yours
As a lover for his bride, a mother for her child, a father for his son or daughter or a brother for his sibling, Jesus, Our Portion Forever, is willing to fight for us on our behalf against those who by violence have declared themselves to be our enemies.
I need no other defense. The battle belongs to the Lord. At the end of all things, all things will be made right, and his justice will be complete.