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SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 25:20-23

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SIH TOTT ICONHe layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous (Prov 2:7)

 

Interacting With: Our Enemies: Proverbs 25:20-23

20) [As] he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, [and as] vinegar upon nitre, so [is] he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.
21) If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
22) For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.
23) The north wind driveth away rain: so [doth] an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

In this section of Scripture Solomon addresses the proper way we are to interact with our enemies…

 

EXPOSITION:

20) [As] he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, [and as] vinegar upon nitre, so [is] he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.
What we should NOT do to our enemies…
1.  A person who takes away another’s clothing when the weather is cold
2.  As vinegar (an acid) poured upon potash (a base)
3.  A person who sings a song to a person that is grieving due to unfulfilled desires

When we make light or ignore our enemies’ grief, it displays a lack of concern and only increases their grief and their bitterness towards us.  It is very similar to taking an acid and pouring it upon a base, which renders both substances ineffectual.  Likewise, it is like taking away a warm garment from an individual, leaving them exposed to the cold weather.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  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;  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.  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so?´  (Matthew 5:43-47)

 

21) If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
Instead, we are to show them our love and graciousness by …
1.  If our foe is hungry, we are to hand over our bread for them to consume
2.  If our foe is thirsty, we are to hand over water for them to partake of

In both cases, we are giving of ourselves to meet their needs, strengthen and encourage them.  These are displays of love, graciousness an concern for their well-being.

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  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.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”   (Romans 12:19-21)

22) For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.
Why show love and concern for our enemies?
1. We are piling up coals of fire upon their head
2. The Lord will reciprocate us for our faithfulness to Him.

By treating our enemies kindly, we are producing and increasing their feelings of guilt. Also, it is increasing their responsibility before the Lord to treat us properly.  Not only will these acts of kindness possibly work to mend the rift between us, but also the Lord will bless us for our efforts whether our enemy makes things right with us or not.  Either way, we really have nothing to lose.

Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.  And David answered and said, Behold the king’s spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it.  The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the LORD delivered thee into [my] hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed.  And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.  Then Saul said to David, Blessed [be] thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great [things], and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.”   (1 Samuel 26:21-25)

23) The north wind driveth away rain: so [doth] an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.
We should be honest with our enemies…
1. the wind that blows from the north will send away the rain (that comes from the south)
2. in this same way a stern look of indignation will send away a tongue that deceptively gossips

When our enemies offend us, we are to show them we have been offended by their actions.  This is the only way that we can be sure they realize that they have offended us.  Also, it puts them on notice that we know what they are doing and are not pleased with it.

This principle is simply a matter of honesty.  By showing our enemy in a kind and controlled way that we have been offended, we are opening a channel for communication, and hopefully, reconciliation will follow.

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.  [He that] backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.”   (Psalms 15:2-3)

SUMMARY:

Four basic principles in dealing with our enemies…
1.  We are to be careful not to make light or ignore our enemies’ grief, it displays a lack of concern and only increases their grief and their bitterness towards us.
2.  We are to show them our love and graciousness by attempting to help them during times of need …
3.  By treating our enemies kindly, we are producing or increasing their feelings of guilt and putting ourselves in a position to be blessed of the Lord.
4.  When our enemies offend us, we are to show them we have been offended, in doing so, we are opening a channel for communication, and hopefully, reconciliation will follow.

May we all possess Godly wisdom and live our lives for Him.

By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.

May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.

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15 Comments

  1. Terry says:

    thank you so much Rob

  2. Charisse says:

    Dear Pastor Barkman,

    Thank you for faithfully preaching God’s Word!

    My youngest son is having a difficult time with another boy who is treating him badly. We have started praying for this other child and asking God to soften his heart and give him eyes to see the hurt he is causing my son. It is hard to let go of our fleshly desire to retaliate and take it upon ourselves to right the wrong. (As a mom it is very difficult:) But if we don’t bring it before the Lord and trust that ultimately God will be our defender, then do we really trust Him?

    Thank you for the continued prayers for my brother. He is physically doing much better. Praise the Lord for His mercy! Now he is more alert to be able to receive the Good News of the Gospel.

    Kept only by His amazing grace, charisse

    • Rob Barkman says:

      HI Charisse,

      We will be in prayer for your younger son. It sounds to me as if you are handling things very well and setting a wonderful example for your son to follow throughout his life… giving our problems to the Lord and trusting Him every step of the way. May the Lord bless and honor your efforts.

      My prayers will also continue for your brother that the Lord may bless Him physically and, most importantly physically as well.

      Thanks for keeping in touch. Keep looking up (otherwise, this world can become very depressing!) Lord bless you my friend. Rob

  3. Wonderful exegesis !

  4. SLIMJIM says:

    Thank you for this; what a great contrast with the study on how do we relate to our neighbors

  5. People whose natural instinct is to ‘hit’ back find that a gentle, kind response is mind-blowing. If it makes them think there is something different, then maybe the Lord has a chance to speak.

  6. […] SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 25:20-23 (settledinheaven.wordpress.com) When we make light or ignore our enemies’ grief, it displays a lack of concern and only increases their grief and their bitterness towards us.  It is very similar to taking an acid and pouring it upon a base, which renders both substances ineffectual.  Likewise, it is like taking away a warm garment from an individual, leaving them exposed to the cold weather. […]

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