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Proverbs 25:21,22, If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:46, For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Put in the vernacular of today, it might be: Big Deal, so you love your mother, your father, your sister and your brother.
They love you too. Do you love them for what you get from them.
Is your love pure or is there a hidden agenda in your love?
If so this is your reward. Loving because you are loved is not Godly love. Loving for profit is not Godly love.
Godly love was expressed in Matthew 5:43-48, Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Our Father sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
The sun rises on the evil and on the good. Luke records Jesus saying, the Father is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
Why? Because the Father loves; it is his nature.
The Father is love and by being love he expresses love to all, including his enemies, including the unthankful and the evil.
Jesus tells that loving our enemies marks us as children of the Father.
Like Father like son. Father loves enemies, son loves enemies.
If the son loves the Father he loves to copy the Father.
Are we not predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son.
Watch a little boy watch his father. He loves to do what he sees his father do.
So Jesus challenges us to travel the high road.
This is the great challenge given to God's children. It is an identifying mark of God's children.
Remember Jesus said, Love your enemies, That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:
You nor I are to be satisfied with the kind of love that extends to only those who love you but through the grace of God the child of God is to love his enemies.
But you say there is no reward in that. What is in it for me?
If I love my Father, my Mother, my sister and my brother and certain people I call my friends there will be instant benefit, instant gratification to me.
My enemy will not reward me! OK, faithless one! OK, discoverer of your heart!
Keep looking in the heart and that is what you will conclude.
Heart tells me this is impractical, this is too much to expect, this is too much to ask of anyone to humble himself and serve his enemy.
Heart says there is no profit!
But if you look to the end of this proverb instead of listening to your heart you will find the short phrase, and the LORD shall reward thee.
It all boils down to temporal benefit versus eternal benefit. What will ye have?
Will you sacrifice your life on the altar of the immediate or on the altar of the permanent?
Will ye feed your enemy? Will ye give him water to drink?
Do you think that these needs are so unusual that your enemy will not ever require these?
Don't you know that your enemy has needs that you can satisfy?
Is God telling us to take advantage of the daily hunger and the daily thirsting of our enemy so that we may show him love?
It seems so. Are not all enemies hungry and thirsty every day?
Maybe he is telling us we must love him at all times. Certainly he gives us enough opportunity.
The command is clear. We are to love in deed.
We are to satisfy the needs of our enemy.
Not platitudes, not just words covering a grudge of the heart.
Not letting him control or dictate our conduct by his conduct.
But measuring our conduct by the conduct of the Lord Jesus Christ who loved his enemies and gave his life for them.
His love was in deed and not in word only.
Didn't Jesus show us to do this by his example.
Does not John 6:51, tell us that Jesus himself was,... the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
We are told in this proverb, If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; What better bread than the bread of life?
And does not John 4:14 tell us that, ... whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
We are told in this proverb: and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink, What better water than the living water?
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Romans 5:10
So how does Jesus conquer his enemies, overcoming evil with good?
By giving them the bread of life and the living water.
And so our upon our heads was heaped coals of fire that melted the metal of our hard hearts.
Our hard and stubborn spirit is softened and melted by the coals of fire than accompany love given for evil.
Rom 12:20,21 repeats our proverb and enlightens us further of what the image of coals of fire produces,
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
This is what loving your enemies is all about; overcoming evil.
God is an over comer of evil and as God's children we too are to be little over comers of evil.
Evil for evil does not overcome evil but love given in trade for evil melts and softens the heart of an enemy.
God desires that our testimony be such that evil is decreased when we are around.
God is not pleased if our life contributes to the increase and continuance of evil.
So God, by this proverb, encourages us and challenges us to warm our enemies into friends.
Coals of fire are heaped when love is given to those that curse you, when love is shown for those that hate you, and prayer is offered for those which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
We do not heap coals of fire to see our enemies squirm and feel ashamed of themselves. That is not a motive to do right.
We heap coals of fire to overcome evil with good.
Our enemies may spurn our bread and water and may return evil for good but remember that the LORD shall reward thee.
The Lord loves mercy and goodness and he loves his children to resemble himself in mercy and goodness. Love your enemies: That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:
And when we use this important grace of loving our enemies he loves to reward us greatly. Take the challenge!
"PROVERB PRACTICALS" Article in "The Projector" for Proverbs 25:21,22, GODLY LOVE