Saturday, September 19, 2015

overcome by a Good, Good Father

artwork by Bonnie Miller

I pondered this colorful work of art by Bonnie Miller on our Artful Story—Journaling Facebook page, while listening to the anointed new hymn, Good, Good Father by Housefires II featuring Pat Barrett…I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like, but I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night, You tell me that you're pleased and that I'm never alone. You're a Good, Good Father, It's who you are, It's who you are, It's who you are, and I'm loved by you, It's who I am, It's who I am, It's who I am. I've seen many searching for answers far and wide, but I know we're all searching for answers only you provide, because you know just what we need before we say a word. Love so undeniable I can hardly speak, Peace so Unexplainable I can hardly think, as you call me deeper still…into love, love, love…You are perfect in all of your ways…You are perfect in all of your ways to us…this drew my heart to a word study of the word, overcome, from Romans 12:18-21:

NASB: If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Amplified: If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome and conquered by evil, but overcome evil with good.

NLT: Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” (Deut 32:35) says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” (Prov 25:21-22) Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Phillips: As far as your responsibility goes, live at peace with everyone.
Never take vengeance into your own hands, my dear friends: stand back and let God punish if he will. For it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay’.... these are God’s words: ‘Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head’. Don’t allow yourself to be overpowered with evil. Take the offensive—overpower evil by good!

Wuest: If it is possible so far as it depends upon you, with all men be living at peace.  Do not be avenging yourselves, beloved ones, but give place at once to the wrath, for it stands written, To me belongs punishment, I will repay, says the Lord.  But, if your enemy is hungry, be feeding him. If he thirsts, be giving him to drink, for doing this, you will heap burning coals of fire upon his head.  Stop being overcome by the evil, but be overcoming the evil by means of the good

Young’s Literal:  If possible—so far as in you—with all men being in peace; not avenging yourselves, beloved, but give place to the wrath, for it hath been written, `Vengeance [is] Mine, I will recompense again, saith the Lord;' if, then, thine enemy doth hunger, feed him; if he doth thirst, give him drink; for this doing, coals of fire thou shalt heap upon his head; Be not overcome by the evil, but overcome, in the good, the evil.

Overcome which in Greek is nikao from nike, means victory, to get the victory, overcome, conquer, or subdue. Nikao means to conquer, to be victorious or to prevail in the face of obstacles. The verb is in the present imperative and thus is a command to keep on overcoming. May we be empowered by His Spirit to stand firm against the onslaught of evil, being supernaturally enabled. Overcome describes the quality of a true saint who may stumble and fall, but who God always picks up and he continues onward and upward in the power and motivation of the victory Christ has already won for us on the Cross. The only way to overcome evil with good is to do it in reliance of God, motivated and enabled by His indwelling, empowering Spirit.

Pastor Warren W. Wiersbe has said, “As children of God, we must live on the highest level—returning good for evil. Anyone can return good for good and evil for evil. The only way to overcome evil is with good. If we return evil for evil, we only add fuel to the fire. And even if our enemy is not converted, we have still experienced the love of God in our own hearts and have grown in grace.”

Greek Scholar Kenneth S. Wuest writes: “As to heaping coals of fire on the head of the one who has injured one, that is equivalent to satisfying his hunger and quenching his thirst. The latter two actions meet a desperate need of that individual, and are an outstanding kindness shown him. Heaping coals of fire on his head also meets a desperate need. In Bible times, an oriental needed to keep his hearth fire going all the time in order to insure fire for cooking and warmth. If it went out, he had to go to a neighbor for some live coals of fire. These he would carry on his head in a container, oriental fashion, back to his home. The person who would give him some live coals would be meeting his desperate need and showing him an outstanding kindness. If he would heap the container with coals, the man would be sure of getting some home still burning. The one injured would be returning kindness for injury, the only thing a Christian is allowed to give back to the one who has injured him. This act of kindness God could use to soften the heart of the person and lead him on to repentance and the offering of a recompense for the injury sustained. In this way the Christian would overcome evil with good.”

Pastor Ray Stedman states, “You say, "What do you expect me to do? Somebody hits me—do you expect me just to sit there and do nothing? Oh, no. There is something you can do. Look what it is: "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.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Two things will happen if you refuse to avenge yourself and let God do it: First, you will be enabled to act positively instead of negatively. That will result in what Paul, quoting Proverbs 25:21-22 calls "heaping burning coals on his head." This doesn't mean that you are going to get even by another process—burning his head. No, this refers to the ancient way of lighting fires. They didn't have matches in those days, so if you wanted to light a fire in your home, you couldn't go and borrow a match. But you could go and borrow some coals from your neighbor. Of course, you took along an earthen jar that would not burn. Then you would ask your neighbor if you could borrow some coals to light your own fire. Now, if he was a good neighbor, he would fill the jar and you would carry the padded jar home on top of your head. This became a picture of an ample, generous response to a neighbor's need. Because of that, it became a metaphor for responding so generously to your neighbor that it made him ashamed of himself for his attitude toward you. That is what Paul is suggesting here. The second result of leaving vengeance to God is that you win the battle. If there is a conflict going on, you will win it if you respond with doing good instead of evil.

Pastor Ray Stedman continues: “I was reading one day a story about a boy who was in the army. He was a Christian and had formed the habit of praying beside his bed before he went to sleep. He kept up this practice in the army, but he became an object of mockery and ridicule to the entire barracks. One night he knelt to pray after a long, weary march. As he was praying, one of his tormentors took off his muddy boots and threw them at the boy, one at a time, hitting him on each side of his head. The Christian said nothing about it, and just took the boots and put them beside the bed and continued to pray. But the next morning, when the other man woke up, he found his boots sitting beside his bed, all shined and polished. It so broke his heart that he came to that boy and asked him for forgiveness. That led, after a time, to that man becoming a Christian. This is what Paul means when he says you overcome evil with good. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "The best way to overcome an enemy is to make him your friend." Three times in this passage the apostle has stressed the fact that you are not to return evil for evil. In Romans 12:18-21 he states it. So, throughout this passage it is underscored that the major way we express love in the world is by not reacting in vengeance when we are mistreated by the world. Can you imagine what would happen if Christians would begin to act this way? How many times we turn people away from Christianity by assuming the same attitude the world around us has. Surely, this is a practical way Paul has of reminding us that we are not to be conformed to this age. We are not to think like they do. What a testimony of grace that would be!

Pastor Charles H. Spurgeon states: “Beloved, this spirit of forgiveness is the Spirit of God, and he that hath it becomes like to God. If thou wouldst rise to the highest style of being, rise thou to the condition of a being who can be injured, and yet forgive. To be just is something, scarcely for a righteous man would one die; but to be merciful and kind is much more, since for a good man some would even dare to die — such is the enthusiasm which a loving spirit will kindle. Rise above mere righteousness into the divine atmosphere of love. But whether men love you or not is a small matter; whether you conquer them or not is also a little matter, but that you should conquer evil, that you should be victorious over sin, that you should receive from your Lord at the last the “Well done, good and faithful servant,” and that you should be like to God in your nature, this is of the utmost importance to you, for this is heaven. Heaven is to have self dethroned to be purged of all anger—to be delivered from all pride. Heaven is in fact to be God-like. May we be made so through Jesus Christ our Savior, by the work of his Holy Spirit.”

Heavenly Father, You’re a good, good Father. It’s Who You are. Thank You for Your
tender whispers of love in the dead of night, when You tell me that You're pleased, that I'm never alone, and I'm loved by You…It's who I am…You give me my identity…who I am in Christ. You know just what we need before we say a word. Your love is so undeniable I can hardly speak. You give me a peace so unexplainable I can hardly think, as you call me deeper still…into love, love, love…You are perfect in all of your ways…You are perfect in all of your ways to us. May we trust You in the big plan you have for our lives. May we yield to the empowering presence of Your Holy Spirit in the innermost part of us, taking authority over our soul—the seat of our emotions, and our body—our fleshly desires and appetites, so that You overcome us with Your love, so overwhelmed by Your grace, that all we can do is say, Thank You, as we shine the muddy boots thrown at us.

Previous word studies…

Romans 12:1-2…flawless…transformed by the Spirit


9 word studies from Romans Chapter Eight…

12 word studies from Ephesians Chapter One…

Weekly LinkUps…

24 comments:

  1. Your words are so timely. I just read another person's blog who referenced the song, "Good, Good Father" and we are singing this song right now at my church. It is speaking deeply to me. I also love your message of showing love to others which also was part of our message this morning at church. Thank you for sharing this at Weekend Whispers and even though this is my last weekend, I am sure I will see you out in the blogging world.

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    1. Thank you, Mary...there is something so soothing about that beautiful song...almost like being rocked in a rocking chair by our Good, Good Father ❤️ Looking forward to seeing you soon...many blessings to you!

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  2. Beth, you know how much I enjoy your posts :)
    I utterly believe in this teaching about repaying evil with good,, turning away wrath with a soft answer etc....but this part:
    If there is a conflict going on, you will win it if you respond with doing good instead of evil.
    seems to go haywire between me and my daughter.
    When I live out this teaching she gets very cross with me as she thinks I am just trying to keep the peace and ignore the conflict while she wants to battle it out.

    Any words of wisdom ?

    With love and appreciation for your teaching.

    Love,
    Mary G ( the other Mary G ;)

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    1. Thank you, Mary. When we have experienced God's grace and unconditional love, we want all our loved ones to rest in His loving arms too...praying for our loved ones as we forgive them just as we have been forgiven. ❤️

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    2. Hi Mary and Beth, I love this post too. But sometimes I feel some people deliberately work hard to suck out our peace. It takes Grace to continue with peace and paying back with good.
      Blessings to you Beth

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    3. Amen, Ifeoma! Truly, all is grace...from the moment He knits us together in our mother's womb until we see Him face-to-Face ❤️

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  3. I'm going to have to find this journaling page you're part of. I love the artwork you share.

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! I will be happy to add you to the Artful Story--Journaling Facebook page...it's a very creative and inspiring group of sweet sisters in Christ. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  4. Something I needed to hear this morning as I face some things that need overcoming! Thanks, Beth!

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    1. Thank you so much! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  5. Beth, I enjoy comparing different interpretations and explanations of a passage.Thanks so much.

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    1. Debbie, I so appreciate your comments...many blessings to you ❤️

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  6. I'll have to check out that hymn and the artwork is beautiful. Thanks for sharing both of those. Forgiveness is a tough subject for me. But the more I accept it through Christ, the easier it is for me to give it to others. It's amazing how that works :). So much great food for thought here, Beth!

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    1. Candace, thank you for stopping by...I so agree with you...the Spirit of Christ flowing through us makes everything easier...many blessings to you ❤️

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  7. Beth,
    As always, I love stopping by for your in depth look at scripture and words in scripture! Great insights and I love the quote from Abraham Lincoln...one of my favorites! Thank you so much...
    Blessings and ((hugs)) to you this day,
    Bev

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    1. Bev, I so appreciate your kind words...many blessings and ((hugs)) to you, too ❤️

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  8. Beth, Thank you so much for taking the time to post these very meaningful words and the artwork of Bonnie Miller! Praise God! I, too, enjoy comparing different translations/interpretations of Scripture. May God continue to bless you richly.

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    1. Thank you, Cindy! It is a joy to share with others what Jesus has used to encourage me...many blessings to you ❤️

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  9. I just read that Proverb about the coals the other day and I loved the historical background that you gave. I think this whole post is spot on - it can be so hard to leave the vengeance to the Lord, but the reward for doing so is so rich.

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    1. Jen, I appreciate your sweet comments so much! I so agree with you about the Proverb about coals...this really helped me understand it, too. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  10. Oh, we do have a good, GOOD Father don't we. God bless!

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    1. Amen, Jenny ❤️ His loving kindness is better than life! Many blessings to you!

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  11. I haven't understood Paul's comment about "burning coals" until now. That was a very helpful (and encouraging) explanation.

    I appreciated your prayer at the end, about shining the muddy boots thrown at us. When I feel hard pressed by the world I often listen to "Losing" by Tenth Avenue North. It does well to express the frustration at feeling like you're "losing" but knowing you must forgive others and love them. Even if they don't recognise it God sees.

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words. It is such a joy for me to share with others what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has used to encourage me. Many blessings to you ❤️

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