READ: Psalm 17, Isaiah 10-12, John 10, Revelation 18


In the 18th and 19th centuries personal insults required “satisfaction.” Satisfaction was linked to vindication.  When a person felt that personal honor had been assaulted, a duel was arranged and the matter was settled by violence. In our day we are just as concerned at being vindicated and will violently protest our innocence when we believe we have been wronged. Very little energizes us as the desire to clear our name, to prove that we are right, and we will not rest (we will not be satisfied) until we have proved ourselves true.

Leaving aside the fact that man is deeply flawed and we are never completely without fault, vindication biblically (astoundingly) does not come from our activity. Psalm 17:2 explains: “Let my vindication come from your presence.” It is inevitable that we will be misunderstood. It is inevitable that we will offend or disappoint. Invariably when we try to clear our own name, we only muddy the water. God invites us to allow Him to defend us. We are not supposed to even attend our own court case. Jesus invites us to rest in His presence while He rises to our defense. A similar promise is included in Isaiah 10:27: “The yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.” It is not my effort that vindicates or breaks through oppression and confusion–it is the active work of God to clarify and free.

When Jesus was under trial, He did not open His mouth. Jesus could have vindicated Himself (or attempted to) before Herod and Pilate but chose not to. Jesus invites us into His own character, into the satisfaction of being like Him. “I shall be satisfied when I awake in your likeness,” wrote the Psalmist (Psalm 17:15). Our vindication and our satisfaction (when we are insulted or maligned) comes from sheltering in the presence of Jesus and being conformed to His image. When we most want to defend ourselves is when we should be most intentional about retreating to the presence of Jesus, shutting our mouths, and allowing Jesus to use the uncomfortable and embarrassing circumstances to stamp His image deeply upon us.

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