When a World War 2 prospective army recruit named Steve Rogers failed the physical exam, he was incredibly disappointed. His dreams of being a hero vanished. However, if willing, he could undergo a procedure and become the first in a new breed of super-soldiers. Steve Rogers agreed, took the gamble, and emerged after the procedure, re-made. He was now the perfect soldier and given special equipment, such as an indestructible Vibranium-alloy shield.

Rogers proved himself on the battlefield. When his fellow soldiers died, he pursued and defeated the enemy on their behalf. This enemy was too strong. Many American soldiers couldn’t stop the growing, combined threat of the Hydra and Nazi horde. Instead, they could only hide, and hope Rogers would save the day. Rogers rose to meet this rising threat and pursued every enemy he could find. Evil could not hide. No threat was too big, and no mad scientist was too powerful.  Steve Rogers ensured that every Nazi and Hydra agent would never again be able to threaten the free world. He proved to be an even bigger hero than he imagined. Because he ensured that no evil went unpunished, Rogers was given the title of Avenger. Good triumphed over evil, and peace was restored to the Earth.

By now, hopefully, you recognize the character and plot of the Marvel comic and Cinematic Universe here: Captain America. ‘Cap’ is recognized worldwide, and his shield can be seen on t-shirts worn by young and old alike. He is indisputably a hero. But the reason why he’s a hero is even more intriguing. He is called the First Avenger and later joins a group called The Avengers. So how can a hero also be an avenger? Isn’t revenge bad? 

Steve Rogers is celebrated for being an Avenger for three reasons:

1)     He is morally upright. He has integrity and is trustworthy. This means his judgment is right. He only goes after the bad guys, not the innocent.

2)     He defends the weak. Captain America protects the vulnerable and makes sure they are never harmed. And, if they are hurt, he then doles out justice. 

3)     He triumphs over evil. The enemies are too great for the average American soldier. Americans can’t save themselves—they need someone to be victorious for them. So, they put their faith in Steve Rogers, and he doesn’t disappoint. He always comes through. He proves that their trust in him was not in vain. Evil is defeated.

This explains why Captain America, though a fictional character, has genuine appeal. As human beings, appreciating integrity and justice is embedded in our DNA. Heroism is a universally recognized quality, regardless of culture. Which means we cheer when we see heroes because we are made to. All fictional heroes, even unknowingly, are based on our Creator, in whose likeness we were made. 

Psalm 94 describes God as “a God who avenges” (v.1, CSB). God’s people find themselves in a terrible state. Enemies surround them. They are being oppressed and “crushed,” while the “widow is slain” along with the “fatherless” (v. 5,6, CSB). The enemies of God seem to be running rampant, committing evil unabated. These evildoers mock God and His people, laughing, and denying that God will help.

And then, the Psalmist rejoices. “Does he who fashioned the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see?” (v. 9-10, CSB). God is not oblivious. He is not ambivalent. He is aware and acts on behalf of His people, for “He will never forsake His inheritance” (v.14, CSB). 

He acts for us because we can’t defeat our enemies alone. “Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?” (v. 16, CSB). We are helpless. We are crouching in a foxhole as enemy bullets fly around us. All we can do is hide in our God. “The Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.” (v 22, CSB). He provides cover from the enemy as we wait for Him to move. 

Then, our God responds. Woe to be an enemy of God when the Lord moves for God “will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness; the LORD, our God, will destroy them” (v. 23, CSB). God rushes forth, destroying His enemies. 

Before getting caught up in the poetic language and vivid imagery, we must remember that these are real enemies of God that are really defeated. We saw the Lord do this in the US on June 24th, 2022. For 50 years, the blood of sacrificed children has been crying out to God. Sixty-two million voices were screaming for justice. Then, the Lord shot his arrow from Heaven and smashed His enemy of Roe v. Wade. Just like that, the modern-day altar to Molech was destroyed, and 62 million children were beginning to be avenged. Make no mistake: if Christians are unable or unwilling to fight, God will fight for them. Those who are oppressed will be helped. God sets the world right, establishing justice in all the land. And so, we celebrate our mighty King.

Again, God destroys not only His spiritual enemies but flesh and blood enemies who oppose Him and His people. Whether they be a mighty Pharaoh, the strong walls of Jericho, or ‘laws’ allowing the killing of the innocent in the womb, God will destroy them all. So, we can joyfully and truthfully call God our Avenger for the following reasons.

1)     He is morally upright. God, of course, is perfect. He is the standard of rightness. He is the definition of good. Everything He does is good for “He is light, and in Him, there is no darkness” 1 John 1:5 (NIV)

2)     He defends the weak. God fights for the oppressed. The widow and the oppressed are near to His heart. He pitied us, His enemies. We were slaves to sin, and then He set us free. Death held us, and He defeated that enemy, too. We are all weak, and the Lord fought to redeem us and keep us forever.

3)     He triumphs over evil. God versus evil is not even a fair fight. There is no major battle between God and evil. God will ultimately defeat all evil and currently is defeating it. God wins every time. Remember that Jesus is reigning as King right now, and he “must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:25, NIV). Good is triumphing over evil, and peace is being restored to the Earth.

How do we respond to God being our Avenger?

1)     Pray for those who persecute us. We love those who hate us. This is a command from our Lord (Matt. 5:44). We don’t plot revenge or hope they fall down a manhole. Instead, we pray that God would change their hearts and bring them into the kingdom.

2)    Allow the Lord to avenge us. “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord!” (Deut. 32:35, NIV). We trust the Lord to avenge. He is morally able to avenge. We don’t have that capacity. If someone wrongs us and the justice system fails, we could go all vigilante, but we cannot administer justice without falling into sin. So, we obey this command and allow the Lord to avenge us; we don’t avenge ourselves.

3)    Rest in Him as our refuge. God is a trustworthy refuge. He is a fortress who keeps us safe. We don’t need to stay up late trying to guarantee our safety. We can go to sleep and rest when we are weary. Consider Him your hiding place. Rest in His strong protection.

It turns out that God is actually the First Avenger, and we find refuge under his wings— which are better than a Vibranium-alloy shield!

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