Proverbs 25: King James Bible
Time for Mercy – Daily Devotion of Proverbs chapter twenty five, Verses 21-22
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.
Daily Inspiration from These Verses – Time for Mercy
These two verses don’t make a lick of sense to the world at all now do they? Even believers have trouble with it in real time, because they remember verse 21 but forget verse 22.
The first verse is the command from the Father, the second is his end, or rather, his response to your obedience to the command he’s given. We’re all ready for verse 22 as it would relate to the coals over the heads of our enemies and especially being rewarded, but not nearly as ready to follow the commandment that makes it happen.
I titled this “Time for Mercy,” because there is a time specified in the scriptures above. The Lord is not suggesting that we lay down our arms in the heat of battle in order to make sure our enemies are well fed.
He is declaring a point where they are not warring against you, but are in need of help. Why else would they be looking for bread to eat, or water to drink? This would be the time for mercy. Solomon is famous for many things, but he is the one who wrote: for every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.
Seizing the the opportunity when a time for mercy presents itself can cause an end to conflict. That first step of mercy toward your enemies can cause for them to have a few things begin to brew, as coals of fire upon their heads.
They could think that your actions of kindness toward them while you take advantage of a time for mercy, as a show of strength. This has a crippling or disarming effect in many regards.
Your enemies might begin to question what it is they’re fighting about. This takes the matter into their own hands to work out. How you treat anyone during a time for mercy will determine their thoughts on you going forward.
Utilizing a time for mercy with gladness and sincerity can wreak havoc on the minds and hearts of our enemies. This and what I’ve mentioned above is what I believe the Lord is talking about, when describing it as heaping burning coals upon their heads.
That aside, the Lord will see to it that one way or the other, the coals will be heaped, should your mercy sway them or not. He will see to it because he is faithful to his Word, and will do things that we don’t even deserve, even if only for his own Word’s sake.
He watches over his word in order to perform it. But we have to hold up our end when a time for mercy is at hand. Upon us he’s displayed great and longsuffering mercy, therefore we should show mercy all the more. To keep our eyes peeled even while in the heat of battle, for an opportunity to put mercy on display at the appointed time.
Related New Testament Scripture
Matthew 5: King James Bible
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Matthew 5: King James Bible
43 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.
Luke 6: King James Bible
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Thank you for the verses above, knowing that they are a commandment alongside a promise and a blessing. Help us to always hold up our end of any conditional rules that you have established such as this. It is so easy for us to remember what will make us feel good, but often fail to recall or carry out things that we’d rather not do. Strengthen our resolve to be obedient to your Word, your will, and your ways. All that we are more like you, our Father, and become rich in mercy. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray.
Have you ever failed to take advantage of a time of mercy?