Book of Proverbs: 31 verses from 31 chapters in 31 days – Be kind to your enemies (25:21,22)

Day 25: Be kind to your enemies (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

We are back again with Solomon’s wisdom, but here it is that compiled under King Hezekiah, some 250 years later. Hezekiah was a stand out good king, no doubt influenced by Solomon’s wisdom. As always, we find in this chapter lots of good stuff, some of which we will look at briefly before attending to our text for today. We begin by revisiting kings whose significance we can see again is important: “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable” (25:2,3) and “Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness. Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men” (25:5,6) relate. There is pertinent wisdom concerning our dealings with our neighbours: “Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame. Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another” (25:8,9). There are some timeless truths like: “Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour’s house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee” (25:17) and truths that always resonate: “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country” (25:25). Then there are truths that are so profound because they encapsulate things we may have observed: “A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring” (25:26). And there is a lot more!

Being kind to our enemies is a theme that is picked up in the NT: “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 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” Romans 12:17-21. There is much to challenge us with this teaching – while we can point to scripture teaching that bad people will get their comeuppance, that is something for God, not us. Our kind response to an unkind action by someone who wrongs us, who we are aggrieved with, could lead him to repentance.

Prayer: we thank you for the example of our Lord Jesus Christ who forgave his enemies and taught us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Help us to be kind to others, including those who wrong us.

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