Proverbs 18 7-18-22

Just being different is not enough. We need to be the right kind of different. Jesus-different.

24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Over the past two days, we have discussed Romans 12:9-13 and 14-18. Today, we finish with 19-21. The Jesus Way is different than the world’s way. The world would have us love our friends and hate our enemies; it would have us seek revenge upon those who hurt us or our loved ones. The Jesus Way is different. The Father wants to shower mercy and grace down upon every living soul regardless of what he or she has done. Humanly, we cannot conceive such grace, much less give it. Jesus gives us His power via His presence to think as the Father does, which, by the way, is exactly how Jesus thinks, and His power to do His will. Let’s read Jesus’ words again,

44 But I tell you: love your enemies! Pray for people who persecute you! 45 That way, you’ll be children of your father in heaven! After all, he makes his sun rise on bad and good alike, and sends rain both on the upright and on the unjust.

Now, let’s read Romans 12:19-21,

19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Paul quotes two OT Scriptures. The first is Deuteronomy 32:35,

35 It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
    In due time their foot will slip;
their day of disaster is near
    and their doom rushes upon them.”

Vengeance is the human way of saying that what a person reaps, he sows (Galatians 6:7). Notice the passive wording: “in due time their foot will slip,” which implies that the trail they are on will ultimately fail them and cause them to stumble and fall.

The other Scripture is Proverbs 25:21-22,

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
    if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the Lord will reward you.

This verse was written around 1,000 years before Christ. Even then, people had glimpses into the true character of God, as is revealed in Jesus’ teaching on loving our enemies. If we want to be like the Father, be like Jesus. Jesus Christ came to show us the Father as He truly is.

The part about leaving room for God’s wrath is about leaving them to the consequences of their actions and how the Lord deals with them through those consequences. Our job is to “over-underreact” (borrowed from Andy Stanley). Do we trust Jesus to take care of us until we die, and then to take us to be with Him? Then our goal should be to honor Him and to give Him the greatest amount of glory our circumstances can create. How do we overcome evil? With good. Even if it kills us. It may be that through our death someone hears the voice of Jesus and responds to His love, mercy and grace. Is that not worth dying for?

Abba, may my life and my death bring glory and honor to You. Amen.

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