The Boomerang God

THE BOOMERANG GOD

“The Lord is famous for the way he punishes the wicked in their own snares!” (Ps. 9:16 TLB).

Yes, very famous indeed. It is a hallmark of God. When you see someone receive on his own head the very evil he foisted on someone else, it is immediately recognizable as God’s retribution upon that evildoer: He gets what he dished out. That is the boomerang justice of God. Here are a couple of ways it is described in the Bible:

“As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head” (Ob. 15).

“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve” (Jer. 17:10 NIV).

Now, in case the objection is raised that these are from the Old Testament, here is one from the New:

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Gal. 6:7).

This is the boomerang justice of God–a truth about justice that the world does not understand:

“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely” (Prov. 28:5 RSV).

“A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord” (Prov. 19:3 NIV).

God punishes evildoers in accord with the kind and amount of evil they do, and also rewards those who do good in the same way that they have done good. It is thus appropriate to call him a boomerang God–(and I do so reverently).

A boomerang returns to the hand that throws it. Applied to the sort of deeds one does to others, this means that you had best be careful how you treat others, for that is how God will treat you. Jesus himself said as much:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Lk. 6:37,38 NIV).

He also said this: “If you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your sins” (Mk. 11:26 NIV).

This is a deep and serious matter that the Spirit showed me in my morning time with the Lord and his Word over the years, as I listened to him teach me from the Word. I duly wrote down each Bible passage as we came across it, until there was quite a collection. To help manage it all, I divided them into categories associated with the boomerang principle and they are listed below.

THE BOOMERANG EFFECT

  1. THE PRINCIPLE
  2. As Applied to Evil
  3. Examples of such
  4. As Applied to Good
  5. Examples of such
  6. Evil and Good Compared in Application of this Principle
  7. Prayer Examples from Scripture Requesting Boomerang Justice
  8. THE PURPOSE

1. THE PRINCIPLE–applied to evildoers

First, a long list of passages from Scripture that leave no room for doubt that the boomerang effect is clearly in place in God’s system of justice:

  • “God has made the sins of evil men to boomerang upon them! He will destroy them by their own plans. Jehovah our God will cut them off” (Ps. 94:23 TLB).
  • “He will cause the evil deeds of my enemies to boomerang upon them” (Ps. 54:5 TLB).
  • “The Lord God gives just punishment and is giving Babylon all her due” (Jer. 51:56).
  • “The man who sets a trap for others will get caught in it himself. Roll a boulder down on someone, and it will roll back and crush you” (Prov. 26:27 TLB).
  • “Since you enjoy blood so much, I will give you a blood bath–your turn has come!” (Ezk. 35:6 TLB).
  • “I will pay back your angry deeds with mine. I will punish you for all your acts of envy and hate” (Ezk. 35:11 TLB).
  • “Beware, for I will strike back swiftly, and return the harm to your own heads” (Joel 3:4 TLB).
  • “You must eat the bitter fruit of having your own way, and experience the full terrors of the pathway you have chosen” (Prov. 1:30,31 TLB).
  • “If even this will not reform you, but you continue to walk against my wishes, then I will walk against your wishes, and I, even I, will personally smite you seven times for your sin” (Lev. 26:23,24 TLB).
  • “The penalty for injuring anyone is to be injured in exactly the same way: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Whatever anyone does to another shall be done to him” (Lev. 24:18,20 TLB).
  • “Because they were against me, I was against the, and brought thm into the land of their enemies” (Lev. 26:40 TLB).
  • “All who are destroying you shall be destroyed . . . Those who rob you shall be robbed; and those attacking you shall be attacked” (Jer. 30:16 TLB).
  • “Because you have refused the terms of our contract, I will cut you apart, just as you cut apart the calf when you walked between its halves to solemnize your vows” (Jer. 34:18,19 TLB).

Now, again, you may notice that all of the above are from the Old Testament. But the boomerang effect is not restricted just to that covenant. In the New Testament we find the following:

“The third man brought back only the money he had started with. . . . ‘I was afraid, for you are a hard man to deal with. . . .'”
“‘You vile and wicked slave,’ the king roared. ‘Hard, am I? That’s exactly how I’ll be toward you!'” (Lk. 19:20-22 TLB).

(God says to Saul): “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? You are only hurting yourself” (Acts 26:14 TLB).

The fact is that the boomerang effect, that what one does to others is what will be done to that one, is a timeless principle of God’s righteous judgment. In the book of Revelation, which deals with the history of the world from beginning to end, this same boomerang principle is again declared, thus showing it to be timeless:

(Judgment of Babylon)–“Her sins are piled as high as heaven and God is ready to judge her for her crimes. Do to her as she has done to you, and more–give double penalty for all her evil deeds. She brewed many a cup of woe for others–give twice as much to her. She has lived in luxury and pleasure–match it now with torments and with sorrows” (Rev. 18:5-7 TLB).

Yet another New Testament passage confirms this aspect of God’s judgment:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Lk. 6:37,38 NIV).

So, let it be settled, then. The boomerang view of justice is valid for all time. It is an eternal principle of the eternal God. It also shows the incredible seriousness and profundity of free will. What a precious gift beyond comprehension God has given human beings in giving us free will! We, at least in some respects, determine how God will judge us–by how we judge others and treat them.

This does not mean that we earn our salvation or that we become God, only that God has given us astonishing freedom to determine our own destiny and fate and how we will be judged–within the confines of his predetermined limits of free will. For example, none of us had the freedom to choose when we would be born, but within the freedom of will we have after that, we determine how our lives will be lived, and that choice determines how we will be judged by God. God is still God, but we have the godlike power to make choices that have tremendous consequences.

“I said, `You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High. But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler.’ Rise up, O God, judge the earth” (Ps. 82:6-8 NIV).

The psalmist states this deep truth succinctly and Jesus himself quoted it when defending himself against those who did not understand God or his justice. We human beings have astounding god-like power as sons of God, but we are still merely human beings that die. God is still the judge of all the earth. We need to remember all of these various aspects of life and death and boomerang justice, lest we somehow think that we are more forgiving and just than God. We need to remember what God himself has said about this:

“You say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, O house of Israel: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die. But if a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life. Because he considers all the offenses he has committed and turns away from them, he will surely live; he will not die.

“Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust? Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” (Ez. 18:25-32 NIV).

All of the above has mostly to do with stating the boomerang principle. But principles alone do not make good teaching tools. Concrete examples of the principle in action help activate knowledge of the principle into actions of the one who knows: It changes head knowledge into heart knowledge. Hence, these examples are furnished towards that goal:

EXAMPLES

  • “You (King David) have murdered Uriah and stolen his wife. Therefore murder shall be a constant threat in your family from this time on” (2 Sam. 12:9,10 TLB).
  • “Then Jushua said to Achan, ‘Why have you brought calamity upon us? The Lord will now bring calamity upon you” (Josh. 7:25 TLB).
  • “Evil men take aim to slay the poor; they are ready to butcher those who do right. But their swords will be plunged into their own hearts and all their weapons will be broken” (Ps. 37: 14,15 TLB).
  • “You cut down the forests of Lebanon. Now you will be cut down! You terrified the wild animals you caught in your traps. Now terror will strike you!” (Habk. 2:17 TLB).
  • “Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel, so must she be killed” (Jer. 51:49).
  • “The nations fall into the pitfalls they have dug for others’ the trap they set has snapped on them” (Ps. 9:15 TLB).
  • Matthew 18:23-35: Parable of the king forgiving the man who owed him much, while that man turned around and refused to forgive one who owed him little. So the king likewise punished the unforgiving man–that is, without mercy.

It is important to note at this point that it is not just what we do that can boomerang on us, but even what we think in our mind or allow to reside in our heart:
  • “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me” (Job 3:25 NIV).
  • “The Lord vows to do to you what you feared. . . . Your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness” (Num. 14:28 TLB).
  • This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you are determined to go to Egypt and you do go to settle there, then the sword you fear will overtake you there, and the famine you dread will follow you into Egypt, and there you will die. Indeed, all who are determined to go to Egypt to settle there will die by the sword, famine and plague; not one of them will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them'” (Jer. 32:15-17 NIV).

We are not to fear in this life. None of us is perfect in this, but it is true nonetheless that God does not want us to fear, for fear shows a lack of trust in God.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love” (1 Jn. 4:18 RSV).

Punishment–boomerang punishment–comes upon those who fear that God will not protect them. What they fear is what will come upon them. Now, this does not mean that those who trust in God will never have anything bad happen to them, nor does it mean that those who do fear will definitely experience what they fear in their lives. God is merciful and does not punish us as our sins deserve. Nevertheless, we do have here a warning not to focus on the dangers that surround us in this life, and so become overly afraid, to the exclusion of trusting in God’s ability to protect us and bring us through those dangers. It is only human to be afraid; what God wants us to do is never let our fear determine our relationship with him and life but rather that we would trust in his love and promises to bring us through all that assails us.

Jesus knew human nature very well. No doubt that is why, on the eve of his crucifixion and on the verge of the tremendous trials about to befall him and his disciples, he told them, “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. . . . Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn. 14; 1,27 NIV).

We are not to fear what might happen but trust God to deliver us from both that and from our own fear. We should not fear because fear can boomerang on us and bring about the very thing we fear. The way to combat this is to keep our eyes on Jesus and his great love for us. Love from God for God dispels fear.

But there will always be those who do not trust God and totally look to various other means to deliver them from what they fear. On them does come the terrible fate of becoming what they fear; their fear boomerangs on them.

“They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless” (2 Kgs. 17:15 NIV).

“Now the Lord God says that he will raise against you . . . those very nations from which you turned away, disgusted” (Ezk. 23 TLB) (After Jerusalem first desired them instead of God.)

“Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done” (Rom. 1:28 NIV).

God has revealed the principle of boomerang justice in his Word, the Bible. Anyone who reads it can gain that knowledge. But if that knowledge is not retained, the human mind becomes more and more depraved and human beings no longer adhere to God’s principles, including that of justice. And this abandoning of God’s ways and principles boomerangs upon all of mankind.

“You closed your eyes to the facts and did dnot choose to reverence and trust the Lord, and you turned your back on me, spurning my advice. That is why you must eat the bitter fruit of having your own way, and experience the full terrors of the pathway you have chosen. For you turned away from me (life) to death; your own complacency will kill you. Fools!” (Prov. 1:29-33 TLB).

“The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants, as the result of their deeds” (Mic. 7:13).

We are now in the beginning of seeing this and other similar prophecies of the end of the world being fulfilled. The book of Revelation gives fearful visions of the desolation of the earth in the end times. All the ungodly and evil things that this unbelieving world has done to the earth and its inhabitants is now beginning to boomerang back upon it. If only it had paid attention to God’s Word that warned that it had a choice between good and evil and that there were consequences for both.

We have had a lengthy display above of the application of the boomerang principle to those who do evil. Now we look at its application to those who do good.

The Principle as Applied to Good

The boomerang principle does not apply only to evil but also to good. Here are just a few scriptures that confirm this:

  • “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chr. 15:7 NIV).
  • “If anyone loves me . . . my Father will love him” (Jn. 14:23 NIV).
  • “If you exalt Wisdom, she will exalt you” (Prov. 4:8 TLB).
  • “Lord, how merciful you are to those who are merciful” (Ps. 18:25 TLB).
  • “The liberal man shall be rich! By watering others, he waters himself” (Prov. 11:25 TLB).

EXAMPLES

Here are a couple of examples of this principle applied to doing good, one from the Old Testament and one from the New:

“As long as he (Uzziah) sought the Lord, God gave him success” (2 Chr. 26:5 NIV).

“They said (to Jesus), ‘We can’t answer. We don’t know.’ To which Jesus replied, ‘Then I won’t answer your question either'” (Mk. 11:33 TLB).

When we seek the Lord and seek to do good to others, God blesses our efforts; they boomerang upon us to our welfare, just as the evil deeds of evildoers boomerang to their detriment. We will even know how to reply to those who oppose us, as Jesus did. We can boomerang their attempts to discredit God upon themselves.

“Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes” (Prov. 26:4,5 NIV).

Jesus did not answer his opponents according to their folly by not answering their question, but also did answer their folly to show them that they were not as wise as they thought. They had thought to trap him in his words, but their attempt failed and boomeranged upon them, while Jesus escaped the trap they had set for him. The boomerang worked both ways.

“My enemies have set a trap for me. . . . They have dug a pitfall in my path. But look! They themselves have fallen into it!” (Ps. 57:6 TLB).

Scripture does have many comparisons of how the boomerang effect works both ways. Here are just a few of them.

BOOMERANG COMPARISONS

  • “Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel” (Prov. 11:17 TLB).
  • “The Lord mocks at mockers, but helps the humble” (Prov. 3:34 TLB).
  • “The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will forsake you” (2 Chr. 15:2 NIV).
  • “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6).
  • “He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness” (1 Sam. 2:9 NIV).
  • “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Rom. 8:5).
  • “It is possible to give away and become richer! It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything. Yes, the liberal man shall be rich! By watering others, he waters himself” (Prov. 11:24,25 TLB).
  • “A man’s goodness helps him all through life, while evil men are being destroyed by their wickedness” (Prov. 13:6 TLB).

BOOMERANG PRAYERS IN SCRIPTURE

There are many instances in the Bible where prayers are offered to God to judge people according to what they have done. Most of the prayers are for retribution according to the boomerang effect, but some are neutral, and a few call for blessings upon others, but all illustrate understanding of the nature of God’s ways.

NEGATIVE

  • “Do to her as she has done” (Jer. 50:15 TLB).
  • “Do to her as she has done to others, for she has haughtily defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel” (Jer. 50:29 TLB).
  • “O Lord, make these enemies begin to quarrel among themselves–destroy them with their own violence and strife” (Ps. 55:9 TLB).
  • “O Babylon, evil beast, you shall be destroyed. Blessed is the man who destroys you as you destroyed us” (Ps. 137:8 TLB).
  • “Let their plots boomerang! Let them be destroyed by the very evil they have planned for me. Let burning coals fall down upon their heads, or throw them into the fire, or into deep pits from which they can’t escape” (Ps. 140:9 TLB).
  • “O God, hold them responsible. Catch them in their own traps; let them fall beneath the weight of their own transgression, for they rebel against you” (Ps. 5:10 TLB).
  • “Let (the wicked man) fall into his own trap. May the violence he plans for others boomerang upon himslef; let him die” (Ps. 7:15,16 TLB).
  • “Let them be overtaken by sudden ruin, caught in their own net and destroyed” (Ps. 35:8 TLB).
  • “O God, hold them responsible. Catch them in their own traps; let them fall beneath the weight of their own transgressions” (Ps. 5:10 TLB).
  • “Pour upon these men the evil they planned for others!” (Ps. 10:2 TLB).
  • “Shame them; let those who boast against me and who rejoice at my troubles be themselves overcome by misfortune that strips them bare of everything they own. Bare them to dishonor” (Ps. 35:26 TLB).

NEUTRAL

“Forgive, and render to every man according to all his ways, whose heart you know; (for you, even you only, know the hearts of the children of men) (2 Chr. 6:30 WEB).

POSITIVE

“May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (Ruth 2:12 NIV).

It is important to realize in all this that though the natural human tendency is to want to see retribution come to our enemies, such judgment of God is to be left to God. When Jesus hung upon the cross for our sins, he did not call out for the evil being done to him to boomerang back upon his tormentors but rather he asked God to forgive them. We are to take after our Lord and his attitude, not give in to this natural human desire to have our enemies paid back for the evil done to us or others.

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Ph. 2:5-8 NIV).

And that brings us to the final, closing thought that wraps all of this together: the purpose which God brings about through this principle of boomerang judgment and justice.

PURPOSE

The purpose of the boomerang principle is at least twofold: practical and spiritual.

The practical effect of boomerang justice is seen in this verse:

“If the witness is lying, his penalty shall be the punishment he thought the other man would get. In this way you will purge out evil from among you” (Dt. 19:18,19 TLB).

Every parent knows this. Children see from practical exposure to this principle that when they do wrong, they are punished, and when they do right, they are rewarded. Such punishments and rewards should be commensurate with the level of actions by the child. It is part of their training to become mature. They learn through this principle to purge out the evil in them, through God’s grace and the working of this principle in their lives.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6 WEB).

The spiritual purpose is also clearly stated in Scripture.

“When your slain lie scattered among your idols and altars . . . where they offered incense to their gods–you will realize that I alone am God” (Ezk. 6:13 TLB).

“The people will tremble with fear, for I will do to them the evil they have done, and give them all their just deserts. Then they shall learn that I am the Lord” (Ezk. 7:27 TLB).

“They will stagger backward, destroyed by those they spoke against. All who see it happening will scoff at them. Then everyone shall stand in awe and confess the greatness of the miracles of God; at last they will realize what amazing things he does. And the godly shall rejoice in the Lord, and trust and praise him” (Ps. 64:8-10 TLB).

Now the question is, after all this enlightenment from God’s Word regarding this whole issue, can we who claim to belong to him and say we have surrendered our very souls to him who created those souls, continue to surrender to him whenever we encounter boomerang justice within our lives? Can we–do we–not rebel against God’s just and loving discipline in our lives, according to this principle, or do we, in fact, bristle at the sometimes painful process of being disciplined by our loving Father when he uses this method? Can we honestly say with thanksgiving, with the psalmist:

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes” (Ps. 119:71 WEB).

“Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now I observe your word” (Ps. 119:67 WEB).

The boomerang principle is good and does good. If it does not seem that way to any reader of this article, the fault is mine for not explaining it well enough or presenting it in a clear way. I am so grateful to the Holy Spirit for showing me this principle from God’s Word. I did not seek it out; I simply began recognizing the principle in God’s Word as He and I read that Word year after year. I pray that all who read this will likewise appreciate the wisdom of God and his ways.

I close with a final, fitting remark that, even though the boomerang principle is in effect in our lives, so is God’s mercy. There is something higher than an-eye-for-an-eye type of system that operates in God’s administration of his kingdom. That something is forgiveness, mercy, and love.

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities” (Ps. 103:10 NIV).

“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (James 2:12,13 NIV)

Here we see the combination of the application of the principle as well as the overruling of it by God, who remains just and fair yet can still graciously grant us forgiveness.

“What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” (Rom. 9:14-16 NIV).

May God have mercy on us and not punish us as our sins deserve and reward us more than our good deeds done in Christ merit. This is his stance towards all those who are in his Son, Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord!

What do YOU think?

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Comments

  1. childofjesus says:

    It is so encouraging to know that nothing is hidden from the Lord, He is a Just God and searches every heart and rewards accordingly. Praise God, what a Boomerang God (with reverence) we serve !!

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