Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man, preserve me from the violent man. . . . Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked! Preserve me from the violent man, who have purposed to overthrow my goings. . . . I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God! Hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord! . . . . Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked. Further not his wicked device, lest they exalt themselves. As for the head of those that compass me about . . . let burning coals fall upon them. . . .”
Psalm 140 excerpts
There is no doubt that the prayer of this suffering, godly man was answered, that God did rescue him from the poisonous hatred and evil intentions of those who wanted to destroy him and his work. I feel sure that God did pour out “coals of fire” on the head of the wicked who were persecuting this upright man. But if God did that, God did it only because this godly man did things God’s way. He took his cause to the Lord, and then waited on Him for justice.
God will also answer our prayers for His help if we follow the wise examples of suffering saints that we find in the Bible. David provided a perfect example of trusting God to be his avenger when he and his loyal friends were fleeing from the army of David’s own son, Absalom (excerpts from 2Sam. 16):
And when King David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei. He came forth and cursed as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on David’s right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed: “Come out! Come out, you bloody man, you man of Belial! The Lord has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son, and, behold, thou art taken in your mischief, because you are a bloody man.”
Then said Abishai to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.”
And the king said, “Let him curse. Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, is seeking my life. How much more now may this Benjamite do it? Let him alone, and let him curse. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.”
And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei went along on the hill’s side over against him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust.
Solomon exhorted his son to follow King David’s example (Prov. 25:21–22):
If your enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink. For you will heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord will reward you.
The apostle Paul exhorted the saints in Rome to give good heed to Solomon’s wise counsel, and he added an explanation of why Solomon gave that counsel; to wit, that God said that He was the avenger, not us (Rom. 12:19–21):
Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.” Therefore, “If your enemy hunger, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink, for in doing this, you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It is God’s place to avenge, and He has never failed to take up the cause of those who trust in Him and to bring coals of fire down upon the heads of the wicked. God is Prosecutor, Judge, and Executioner for His people, and He has forbidden us to try to play His part. So, we can rest in hope of our heavenly Father’s care, and do good – even to our enemies – trusting God to take our part in this life and in the next.