A first reading of today’s devotional proverbs may give you pause to think, “What kind of Christmas devotional is this?” However, if you reflect on the grace of God extended to sinners through the birth of His Son Jesus, that same grace becomes obvious in Solomon’s counsel to his son.
Proverbs 25:21-22 – “If thine enemy [foe; one who hates you] be hungry [famished], give him bread [food; meat] to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: 22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire [red glowing, burning embers] upon his head, and the LORD shall reward [repay; requite] thee.”
These two proverbs provide us a wonderful contrast to the fallen nature of man and the grace of God Christians are to extend to others…even their enemies. The acts of kindness Solomon urges in his son are not only a portrait of kindness, but also an act of grace that could soften a sinner’s seared conscience, assuage his heart and bring him to repentance. An act of sacrifice and willingness to extend an offer of peace comes with a promise—“the Lord shall reward thee” (25:22).
I invite you to reflect on two New Testament passages that echo Solomon’s counsel to his son.
Matthew 5:43-48 – “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Romans 12:17-21 – “Recompense [render] to no man evil for evil [exactly opposite of man’s nature]. Provide [take thought of] things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible [some refuse a path of peace], as much as lieth in you [at least for your part], live peaceably [lit. – “be at peace”] with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath [God’s wrath and judgment]: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head [revive his conscience of his wrong]. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
The praise of the angels was that the birth of Christ made possible the peace only God could provide through the virgin birth, sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son (Luke 2:14).
May you extend that same offer peace and forgiveness to those who have hurt and disappointed you this Christmas Day!
1 Timothy 1:15-17 – “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”