If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat - You prepare a table before me
Proverbs 25:20-22 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda,
Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22 For you will heap burning coals on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.
Romans 12:9-21 says: Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;If he is thirsty, give him a drink;For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. This portion of scripture, Paul’s exhortation addresses what the writer of proverbs shares in today’s text: Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart. To take off a garment on a cold day makes the situation worse. To put vinegar on soda causes an explosive or erosive reaction. If a person is troubled, we should show them empathy and compassion. We should weep with them. In Matthew 5:4 Jesus says: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” We too will be blessed if we comfort those who are mourning.
Both the text in Proverbs and Paul’s exhortation say: 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. We are not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. The coals that we heap on the head of are enemies are not meant for harm or destruction, but rather for their good. They are like the coal referred to in Isaiah 6:6-7: Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” The coals are coals of cleansing and forgiveness. In Matthew 6:14 Jesus says: "If you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” In Matthew 5:7 He says: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Mercy and forgiveness are the rewards we receive from the Father when we show mercy and forgiveness to others. Psalm 23 says: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. If the Lord prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies, we should share from the overflowing cup of His blessing and abundance. Then we will be rewarded with His goodness and loving kindness all the days of our lives and we will dwell with the Lord forever. What greater reward could we receive than to dwell with Him. Like the psalmist, if we dwell with the Lord we will not want for anything. Surely God’s goodness and lovingkindness will follow us all the days of our lives.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, as 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. My ability to love and my capacity to love is rooted and established in Your love for me. Because You dwell with me and in me, may Your love and compassion shine and show through me. May I be a blessing and a comfort to those who mourn and weep. May I never be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with Your goodness. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.