“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.”                                                 (And the Lord will reward you). Pr 25:21,22                                                                        (Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good).  Ro 12:20,21

gbug carrying coals

This saying may seem strange to our modern world but it was a very practical act in ancient days. To make a meal, a fire was necessary. If a person’s fire went out and he was unable to start a new one, he would have to borrow some coals from a neighbour.  These coals, he would carry in a pan on his head, in much the same way as easterners carry water on their heads. So this action, of heaping coals on someone’s head, was a loving not a retaliatory one.  Jesus said to feed and give drink to your enemy and thus blessing him, was analogous to pouring hot coals on the head of a neighbour needing to start a fire. The Bible concludes by saying the Lord will reward you and you will overcome evil by doing good.

How does this action overcome evil and why would the Lord reward you for doing so?  The answer is found by going back to this ancient illustration.  Pouring hot coals on your enemy’s head (doing a kindness such as giving him food and drink to meet his needs) will make him contemplate why you acted so differently than most of the people in this world.  One reason which he might conclude, is that your faith in Christ made you act in this way. He may be convicted by the Holy Spirit, to desire to live that same type of life as you, through Christ.  So God will reward you for pointing the glory to him rather than to self and you may have overcome evil by doing good.

Song: Oh How We Should Love