Readings Proverbs 25-26
How do you respond to your enemies? Surrender, putting down your arms, or do you build barriers around you like a fortress, or do you go on the attack? What is the right tactic? Who is your Commander in Chief?
Dear former enemies,
You know what always seemed ridiculous when I was growing up, was to clean out the junk drawer. It was a collection of a whole variety of items, that we might use someday. We actually have one today, that would qualify as a junk drawer. But just the name itself, made it seem unrealistic to have me clean it out. But my dad wanted a clean “junk drawer”. So we had a clean junk drawer.
What were some other things that seemed ridiculous growing up?
Having a bedtime well before my parents went to bed. I was sure that was when all the fun was happening.
Eating broccoli. Why eat this stuff(I love it today.) when all that good tasting stuff is available, cakes, cookies, ice cream……
Trigonometry, Calculus, Physics. In school, I just couldn’t see where I was gong to need this level of math, and why put me through the torture of doing it.
Having a curfew when I was out on dates. Come on, I was over 18, other kids were out later. My parents were out of touch with reality. It appears that I became out of touch with reality when I became a parent.
In Proverbs we read something that appears ridiculous to most people.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22 For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you.
Be kind to my enemy. Yeah, right! No, that is what it says. It is not just a misprint. Seems that Jesus said the same thing.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
And Paul in the New Testament quotes from Proverbs:
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Apparently when someone was repentent in Egypt, thousnads of years ago, they would walk around with burning charcoal on their head showing to everyone that they were sorry for what they had done, and were agreeing that it was wrong and they were changing the direction they were going.
So to do good to an enemy was to actually attempt to try to get them to be brought into right relationship with those around them. Reconciliation, or restoration of relationships was always a focus.
Remember when we were enemies of God, (James 4:44 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.), Christ died for us, so that we could be reconciled to Him. I am thankful that I repented, (did not put coals on my head) I recognized my sin, and turned to Christ in faith.
Who are your enemies? How are you treating them? Remember, you were once an enemy of God. What if God had not shown you kindness? Those “hot coals” can bring about life!
Once an enemy,
Further charcoaling tips.
Hot charcoal is used in a different way in the verses below. We are called not to treat friends or enemies in the following manner. No gossip.
20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.
21 Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.