Today’s Reading: Numbers 19:1-20:29 (additional reading Psalm 56:1-13 and Proverbs 11:8)
Key Verse: “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” Numbers 20:12
One generation on from those who refused to enter the promised land, we can see that the new generation isn’t much different to the old. Moses had been putting up with this moaning, groaning bunch, for the last forty years, plus he had only just lost his sister, but instead of sympathy, he just faced an angry mob, wanting answers. One act at this time caused Moses to walk in disobedience and miss out on God’s best for him.
Moses had an issue with his temper (Exodus 2 & 32). His anger may have been justified, but his actions lacked self-control. We can often kid ourselves, that because our anger is the fault of somebody being unjust, our actions are also justified. Moses’ anger is expressed in the harsh words that he uses. ’Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?’ and in that anger, he fails to control his actions and he lifts his hand and strikes the rock twice with his staff. As you are no doubt aware, anger can often be a build up of pressure over a long period of time that emerges in a moment of rage.
We all have the ability to get angry, and even the most laid-back character has the ability to demonstrate rage. We live in such a highly pressured world, so how can we prevent ourselves from becoming angry and being led into sin?
- Make a conscious decision to rid yourself of anger. – Ephesians 4:31 ’Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.’(Colossians 3:8, Psalm 37:8) Anger is an emotion, we should not be controlled by it. The Bible makes it clear that we can make a conscious decision to rid ourselves of anger.
- Don’t let the sun go down on anger – Ephesians 4:26-27 ’In your anger do not sin’ : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.’
- Ask God for wisdom. – This might seem strange, but if we are wise we are able to foresee the consequences of actions taken in anger. Ecclesiastes 7:9 says, ’Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.’
- Ask God for self-control – Galatians 5:22-23 ’But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.’
- Be slow to act. – James 1:19, ’My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.’ Too often we let rage get hold of us and act rashly.
- Learn to be compassionate and to love fully. – Psalm 103:8, ’The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.’ Mark 3:5, show us Jesus perfect example of this ’He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.’ In Jesus’ anger, he didn’t sin, instead, he healed. If we want to ensure that we enter God’s promises, then we need to control our temper in the same way that Jesus did.
- How do you deal with Anger?
- What things make you ‘lose it’ and how can you prepare for those situations?
- How can you learn to be more compassionate?
Father, Thank You for your love for us. Help us to show self-control as we live with those around us and to act in such a way to bring You glory and honour. In Jesus’ name, Amen