Sunday, January 20, 2008

"I'm not angry!"

Three weeks ago, we visited Northwood Church. The speaker was recounting the life of Moses, and how God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land. He noted various points in Moses' life where his anger got the best of him: When he killed the Egyptian (Exodus 2:11–15), when he broke the stone tablets on which were the 10 Commandments (Exodus 32:19–20), and finally when he struck the rock with his staff rather than speak to the rock (Numbers 20:1–12). The last offense was the reason Moses was not allowed to lead the people into the Promised Land.

On each occasion, Moses could claim that he was righteously angry. He killed the Egyptian because the Egyptian was beating a fellow Israelite. He threw down the stone tablets because the Israelites had made an idol and were worshiping it. He struck the rock because the Israelites were whining, moaning and complaining—again—about not having any water, and questioning the wisdom of leaving slavery in Egypt.

Who can blame Moses for being ticked off? If only people would get their acts together and do the right thing, Moses wouldn't be forced to fly into a rage.

At least, that's what Moses thought.

God did not see things the same way. After he struck the rock, God said to him, "Because you " God expected Moses to represent Him and show His character regardless of what everyone else was doing. Moses was supposed to set the example. Moses was to be holy as God was holy. If the example didn't reflect God's character, people would not know what God was truly like. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

I've justified my anger on many occasions. "They're not doing it right. Look what they've done! Did you hear what she said!? Look how he's acting!" But God's Word says, "In your anger, do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26) and "Let put away from you" (Ephesians 4:31).

I can see that this is one issue that God wants to work on at this time in my life. "Lord, just don't let the process be too painful."


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