February 11, 2021

Feb 11, 2021    Ron Mathre
Proverbs 25:22 For you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

Listen to the way Paul brings back into focus what was written in the old testament in Romans 12:19-21 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I remember when I was a boy there may have one time when I had a disagreement with a sibling or maybe it was a cousin. I think on that one occasion it may have turned into possible name calling and there might have been a shove involved before it ended. Okay, I’d best be honest, it might have happened more than once but, he started it. Better get to some truth here soon as this is a devotional. I used to get into some ridiculous arguments when growing up and, those of you reading this through an honest eye will likely have to admit to not just recognizing it but, identifying to some of it in your life.

Thankfully, I had Godly mediators near and my favorite was my grandma. She would stop the spat and explain how much it hurt Jesus but, it also hurt her to see what was going on. After cooling things off, she would always insist on both parties involved telling the other that they were sorry and finishing with a hug. I am admitting here and now, they were some of the lamest apologies and coldest hugs the world will ever see.

I didn’t understand the phrase in the verses above about heaping burning coals on the head, even up to a few years ago. It had seemed somewhat confusing but, maybe a pretty good way of dealing with an enemy, kind of a scorched head policy, just let physics do the work. Then I found out something about the context and culture this was written in, long before there were propane stoves and lighters, before matches, way before solar blankets, hot pockets, and battery heated socks. “Burning coals,” was the difference between life and death, when people were traveling, they would place coals in a pottery container and carry them balanced on their head so they could quickly get a fire going when they arrived at the resting place for the night.

Have to admit that even knowing what I know now about the verse doesn’t make it any easier to give forgiveness and make peace than it did when I was a child. In fact, it’s not possible for me or you for that matter to do so, only by God’s grace is there any hope of offering forgiveness to anyone, even ourselves.

We live in dangerous times, the threats are real today and growing not only here but, around the world and not just to God’s people. This world is not our friend and we are not, as some in this world who claim to be the really intelligent, becoming better and better as we “Evolve.” We are fallen people living in a fallen world but, as believers have been redeemed and set apart as examples of His grace, for His glory, and ultimately our eternal enjoyment.

God is in love with His creation, it is splashed across the pages of the Bible from one end to the other. We are called to reflect God, see things the way he does; in the light of eternity. Look at what it says in 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.

Lord help me to forgive as you have forgiven me. Help me to never give up on the challenges that you allow in my life. Help me to make peace and grant forgiveness for Your glory and to further Your kingdom.

Psalm 16:5-11 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.