May 25th Destroying Our Enemies …. By Loving Them!

Reading: Proverbs 25:1-28

Today we switch back to the Proverbs of Solomon. Interestingly, these proverbs, we are told, were uncovered and copied down under the orders of the King Hezekiah, Solomon’s great, great (and then some) grandson. There was a great revival under his reign; he returned many lost practices of worship back to the people of Israel and restored the singing of hymns to their proper place. (2 Chronicles 29:30)

Verse 21 is hopefully familiar to us, it’s quoted both by Jesus (Matthew 5:20) and Paul (Romans 12:44). Remarkably, what sounds like a horrendous punishment, having hot coals coals poured on one’s enemies heads, is not as extreme as first appears. The expression may well reflect the Egyptian expiation ritual (expiation means the cleansing of an offence), in which a guilty person, as a sign of their repentance, carries on their head a basin of glowing coals! Therefore, the meaning of verse 21 is that in being kind to ones enemies we are gently leading them to change their minds and repent of the harm they have done us. Perhaps even win them over as friends!

In his book ‘ Choose life’, Simon Guillebaud writes,

We all have enemies, or at least people who rub us up the wrong way. Think of them right now. God loves them, died for them, and wants them to know him. However hard it might be, could you do something positive for them? However undeserved, could you take the first step in building or rebuilding a bridge towards them? Abraham Lincoln was once rebuked by his advisors for being so kind to his enemies. He replied, “Do I not destroy my enemies by turning them into my friends?” A friend of mine in Burundi called Jack has destroyed his enemy by going back to the spot where the latter murdered Jack’s father, and preaching love and forgiveness arm in arm with him.”

What could you do for your enemies today?

Jesus says,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 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. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV 1984)

For Memorisation

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” (Proverbs 25:21)


Father, thank you that you hold me, you surround me and you defend me. Thank you that you are my rock, my fortress and in you I can never be shaken. Thank you that all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. You are amazing! Lord, in your strength, by your Holy Spirit, today I choose to love my enemies. In Jesus name. Amen!


  • Mary Dicker says:

    Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can. Hatred cannot drive out hate, only love can.
    Martin Luther King Jnr.

  • Linda Wells says:

    A thought – the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous – but mostly on the righteous, as the unrighteous have stolen their umbrellas!

    Despite forgiveness being hard sometimes, it is also freeing and turns victims into liberators of themselves. Nevertheless, forgiveness need not mean the continuation of a relationship or needing to ask the forgiven back for tea! Sometimes we misinterpret how far we should go.

  • Harry Alston says:

    I rather like a different explanation of the coals of fire heaped on the head of the enemy – In the middle east, at that time, having a fire on the go was a valuable resource in the household for cooking etc. and if it went out it was a source of frustration. If you were kind hearted you would take out some of your red hot coals, put them into a pot and give it to your neighbour to rekindle his fire. He would of course pop it on his head and make for home!
    Perhaps, verse 5 is something to consider with the referendum coming up: “Take away the wicked from before the king,and his throne shall be established in righteousness.”
    The EU has a reputation for rebellion against God. For example the parliament building has been deliberately fashioned as a representation of the tower of Babel and the elite in the organisation have made it clear that they wish to complete what God halted. To me the overwhelming argument for Brexit is not the economy, jobs or even sovereignty but leaving ourselves open to a source of evil. Revelataion 18 puts it rather pointedly – “Come out of her, my people,lest you take part in her sins,lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
    and God has remembered her iniquities.”

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