29th November 2012

Coals Of Fire

“Therefore ‘If your enemy hungers, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’”
Romans 12:20 (NKJV)

In a previous Day by Day we looked at Paul’s instruction to not seek vengeance but rather give place to wrath (Romans 12:19).   Here we see God, through Paul, is instructing us to go the extra step.  This is in line with Jesus’ instructions to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us and pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us.  Here we see again the instruction to find the way to peace.

I remember as a young boy, about 6 years old, being bullied in school by a much older boy.   I don’t really know what motivated me, but one day I happened to have a bag of sweets, rare during rationing, and I singled him out to share with him my bounty.  That was the end of the bullying; in fact I became somewhat of a favourite.  Now, I don’t know whether he felt like coals of fire had been heaped on his head, but the action certainly brought a change.

There is a key in this verse that has sometimes been put this way: ‘the best way to get rid of an enemy is to make him your friend’.  This is clearly what Paul, and Jesus before him, intended.

Actually, Paul is quoting an ancient proverb (Proverbs 25:21-22), but he doesn’t quote it all.  The proverb finishes with these words, “and the Lord will reward you.”

When we do what is right in God’s eyes there is a benefit for us, in this life or the next.

Father in heaven, thank you for revealing your wisdom to us.  Help us please to strive to walk in your ways and set the right example to those around us, that you may be glorified.

Study by David Stirk

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