Weakness to Grace

Proverb 25: 21 – 22

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

What do you think of this passage? Is this counsel about heaping guilt and shame on your enemy or is it about showing kindness because that is God’s way? I have always thought it was the latter and that the heaped coals are simply a by-product. Seeing what we now learn in the New Testament, seems to confirm this idea.

God saved vengeance for himself (Romans 12:19) and Jesus said to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5: 44). Today’s verse, then, is right in line with New Testament theology. Most of you know God calls us to be charitable towards those who persecute us, so that is not the revelation of the day. It is a good reminder, though, because none of us wants to pray for the person who is a thorn in our flesh. This is where the rubber meets the road, as they say. This is grown up Christianity.

Paul had the same problem. You see, he had a thorn in his flesh as well (2 Corinthians 12: 7). He asked God to remove the painful impediment, but God taught him that the solution to life’s challenges is God’s grace. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12: 9 TLV). So, I am not trying to tell you, today, to do what you already know God has told you. I am trying to help you find the means to do the impossible because if you are like me, and many others, praying for your nemesis is a hard thing to do, especially when they continue to be a thorn in your flesh. God knows what He is asking of us and knows it is impossible in our strength, so He has blanketed us with His grace so that we may do all things. The theme, then, of this Word of the Day is more about God’s grace as He supports you than about feeding your enemy. I think it is timely too because I know many of you are more challenged during the holidays than any other time.

Here is my prayer for you: Father, cloth these, your beloved, in tapestries of grace and mercy. Comfort them and embrace their hearts with your love. Help us all, Father, to do as you direct us. Pour out your grace upon us and manifest your power through our surrender. Cause your strength and will to shine through our weakness so that your glory fills the visible spectrum. Help those who hinder us. Show them your grace and give us favor in your sight and in the eyes of all people.

No Gloating

Proverb 24: 17 – 18            TPT

Never gloat when your enemy meets disaster, and don’t be quick to rejoice if he falls. For the Lord, who sees your heart, will be displeased with you and will pity your foe.

It is only natural to feel a little bit of happiness when your nemesis stumbles. That is human nature. Yahweh, however, demands more of us than acting like everyone else. He expects us to rise above the natural to live in the supernatural. We even get the sense that He will be more upset with us for gloating than He will be at the sin of our enemy. We should know better and are called to a higher standard.

God understands that baby Christians are going to make a lot of basic mistakes. They will continue in their unsanctified ways until they begin to mature. He has tolerance for them as long as they are trying and moving forward. Mature Christians, though, are expected to rise above the simple things and move to higher ground. That higher ground is where we are required to forgive, to pray for our enemies and put the needs and concerns of others before our own needs. This is far from easy and at times it doesn’t seem fair. Our baby Christian brothers keep doing stupid stuff, yet God’s patience for them endures. Meanwhile, he requires that we pray for them. There are times I really don’t like it and neither do you, but in the end, being with Father and having Him be pleased with us is the joy of life. After what Jesus did for the idiots in his life, I guess Yahweh isn’t requiring so much of us.

So, when your enemy meets with disaster, wipe the smile from your face and imagine the heart of the Father. Pray for your foe. They will never thank you but God will. Seeing the Father smile at you will be worth the price.