Hebrews 10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;
33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.
God reminds us in verse 30 that vengeance belongs to Him. Those who are saved do not need to take matters into their own hands. We might react in an improper manner. God sees all and He knows how to respond in the right way every time. In the context, God is addressing those who want to mock Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. God does not strike them all dead at one time. He has His way of dealing with each one.
Deuteronomy 32:35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
Psalm 76:7 Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?
Psalm 135:14 For the LORD will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants.
In verse 30 of our text, God says He shall judge his people. He is referring primarily back to the Jews. They had the law in the Old Testament. They knew the Messiah was prophesied. They knew where He would be born and they could have known He came the first time to suffer and die. They rejected that prophecy and only wanted a triumphant king that would come riding in on a white horse and overthrow the Romans and give them back their land and their sovereignty over their land. They failed to accept that the primary thing they needed was a change of heart. Unless their hearts were changed, they would never accept a godly king.
It is important to note that God does not limit His judgment to the Jews. All who reject or mock His offer of salvation are guilty before Him.
Luke 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
God is just in His dealings all the time. He expects more from those who have been given more light. Sometimes people think that God favours the Jews unjustly. That certainly is not true. The Jews have suffered greatly in the past for their rebellion against God. They will suffer more yet in the future.
In the verses we have quoted from the Old Testament we see that God had warned Israel of the importance of listening to Him. He raised up the nation of Israel. He had every right to demand they honour Him. For 100’s of years they chose to despise Him. They are still in that place now. God has not changed. Too many Jews have perished. They have died and gone to hell. That is not God’s design. That is a choice they made. The same holds true for the Gentile nations. Many have died and gone to hell. Many today are in that same situation. God offers His salvation to all. He warns of the consequences of rejecting His offer of salvation.
In verse 31 He reminds us again that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. God is not dead. He has not grown old and senile. The current president of the U.S. is not functioning on all cylinders. The left wing people often accused the former president of being mentally unfit for office. He enacted some good policies and He caused the U.S. to be respected in the world. He was a lost man and failed miserably on that count. The current president is a laughing stock on the world stage. They have no fear of him. Evil is advancing again.
This cannot be said of the true God. Many people behave as if there is no true God. Because He is not striking them dead immediately or even causing them to be sick or poor, they assume there must not be a God or He is not as serious about things as some would believe. However, God has given us His Word and we can see that He is real and He will take vengeance in His time.
In verses 32-33 God reminded the readers of how He had spoken and acted in the past. We quoted some of those verses. God’s record is clear. We can see how He responded to sin in the nation of Israel. He judged them severely for their rebellion against Him. We can also see how He judged the Gentile nations in the past. He also judged them severely. Some of them are no longer in existence. Israel is still in existence and always will be because God made a promise to Abraham and renewed that promise to Isaac and Jacob and others beyond that time.
God was keeping His promise to prove He does not lie and He is trustworthy. He is not keeping His promise because Israel is so true to Him. He is faithful to His Word. He provides great blessings to those who will humble themselves and listen to Him. We have many examples in the Bible of individuals who began life as rebels but then saw the foolishness of their ways and they turned to God in repentance and were saved.
I just read of king Manasseh who began his reign as a wicked king. God sent prophets to warn him of the need to repent but he ignored them. God sent the Assyrians into Judah to afflict them and they captured Manasseh and they took him among the thorns and bound him in fetters and took him out of Judah as a captive. After he endured this chastening from the Lord, we read he humbled himself and asked God to forgive him. God was gracious to him and brought him back into his own land. Manasseh learned an important lesson the hard way. Many never learned that lesson. They were given the same opportunity.
God is just in all His doings. It is important to listen to Him. Just because a person is getting away with sin for a time, does not mean God does not see. He sees all. He sends messengers to rebuke the lost. If the lost want to continue to ignore the messengers, they will face God’s judgment in hell. If they will listen and repent and be saved, they will be blessed with His salvation and peace. The choice is up to the individual. God’s desire is that people would choose wisely. He will not force Himself on anyone.