1 These are more proverbs of Solomon, compiled by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah:
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
3 As the heavens are high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.
4 Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel;
5 remove wicked officials from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.
6 Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men;
7 it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.
What you have seen with your eyes
8 do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?
9 If you take your neighbor to court, do not betray another’s confidence,
10 or the one who hears it may shame you and the charge against you will stand.
11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given.
12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
13 Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.
14 Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts of gifts never given.
15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
16 If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit.
17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house— too much of you, and they will hate you.
18 Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.
19 Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.
20 Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
23 Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.
24 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
25 Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.
26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.
27 It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep.
28 Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.
As with all the books of Proverbs, chapter 25 is full of juicy and meaty nuggets. I would consider it a very trying task to design a t-shirt or theme for each chapter…there’s just so much in there.
There’s one particular verse in Chapter 25 that I’ve wrestled with my entire adult life and recently put into action.
21If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. 22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
I’m not polished, perfect, or remotely holy. I’m a broken, raw around the edges and a work in progress. It’s verses like the above that really ruin my game plan. I almost don’t like them, scratch that…most days I don’t.
In most cases I’d like to skip to the end, the “Lord will reward” me part. This is my journey, I’ve lived this verse. Here are the details:
There’s a guy that I hate…I know, you’re not supposed to “hate” but for the sake of the story, let’s just say that I hate him. I mean, HATE. This guy has ruined so much of my life, destroyed, killed, spit on, disgraced, you get the idea. At times, I admit, I’ve left myself fantasize about different ways to hurt him and repay his evil deeds…maybe a little too much, maybe not. I’m just being honest and candid, remember this is part of the journey. (Just so you know, I’m not at all a violent person; I’ve never even been in a fist-fight, ever.)
For years, I’ve steamed and kindled a rage towards this jerk. I let it consume me…and it did. I was miserable, sick of being sick, mad and being mad. After years of half-hearted attempts, last year I managed to get to a place spiritually where I was able to be at peace, somewhat. There were days that I was ok and there were days that I would stumble upon his stupid face on Facebook; I would spend hours extinguishing mental fires before they spread beyond control.
Last year, through situations that I’ll leave nameless…it seemed that I had at long last got my revenge. Through no efforts of my own, his world, life, and faith, even his family was completely smashed, destroyed, and turned upside down. I admit, there were times that it made me smile. I would silently beam in his misery. It felt GREAT…for a minute.
God ruins a lot of stuff for me, this was one of them. Gag. I wanted to just let this happen, let him suffer. I mean, what good would it do for me to express concern, it’s not like it would change everything.
Rewind to the beginning of this story, it’s all about doing what God wants to get the reward, right? I wish. This is Proverbs, it’s about wisdom, the long road, the right way, the process, etc.
I put it off as long as I could. I contacted him.
This beast that had obliterated so much true joy from my life was a crumbling mess before me. Like a classic battlefield scene, my enemy had just taken a shot to the heart and lay there before me, helpless and near death.
It was my move. Ironically, with no thought of a “reward”, I reached out to him. I expressed love and concern for him. I was compassionate about his world. I prayed for him and with him and felt his burden. He received…with open arms.
At first glance, this verse seems to be translated by most as “do good for your enemy and God will punish them (with coals)”. This is far removed from the truth…this is about going above and beyond. Supplying fire (coals) – a source of warmth and comfort, a means to cook and nourish, adding stability and security to their well-being…that’s what this verse is about; selfless, Jesus-like behavior, very Romans 5:8ish to me.
Most days I have a decent battle on my hands between my spirit and my flesh. More times than I like to admit, I let my flesh drive and set the pace; what a refreshing joy when the spirit kicks into gear and overrides the flesh.
So here I am, after the fact, still praying and caring for a guy that I literally can’t stand. The journey isn’t over…Jesus guide my steps, Jesus guide my steps.
Jake McGill is a follower of Christ, husband to smoking hot, Meridith, and daddy to Issac (4) and Carter (2), they reside in the mountains of NW Georgia in Chatsworth. Jake is a veteran youth pastor and now happily resides in the graphic design world with occasional speaking events, summer camps, etc. Follow Jake on Twitter @pancakegravy