Avoiding the Anger that Kills
Avoiding the Anger That Kills
How does wrongful anger affect and influence our lives? How do we avoid the anger of the world? What does the Bible teach about dealing with anger?
Today we find ourselves living in a very dangerous world. It's a world that is a boiling pot of hostility that is growing, and also in conjunction with that hostility, it is being fed by a very terrifying anger that is arising on the world scene. And it is this wrongful anger that we need to look at today and watch what the scripture has to say about this subject and how it impacts on the life of a God-fearing man and woman. Because again, wrongful anger, if it invades our life, it will have devastating effects; there's just no ifs, ands, and buts about it. This is a subject that needs to be looked at in light of the BIBLE, and it tells us from a scriptural point of view that the damaging effects of wrongful anger - it just - it can have so many ramifications that we won't even be able to cover all of them in the sermon today. We'll just be hitting highlights.
So in the time remaining, let's explore together this very thing. I've entitled this message, "Avoiding the Anger that Kills," "Avoiding the Anger that Kills" because today on a physical plane you look outside in this world, and you will see physical anger being manifest on a very, very rapid-fire scale. I mean it's explosive. You can drive down the highways and see anger in people in the way they drive their automobiles, and how, if you don't move fast enough, suddenly they will look at you and like, "Get out of my way, what are you doing? Why don't you get out? Quick, I belonged there first. Get out of my way." And there's just an anger, you can sense it and almost feel, just like the scripture says:
I Corinthians 2:11 - "What man knows (the things of a man) (what's in another man) except the spirit (of) (in) man?" The spirit in man helps us to sense that something's not right here. And in the world we live in there is a very powerful force that is being driven behind the scenes and that is this spirit of Satan himself, a very angry being. He's angry at God because God has thwarted his plan to take over His throne, and he does not, in any way, shape, or form enjoy anything that reminds him of God and God's plan, His purpose. And he's out to destroy it; and that's why he's called in the scripture, the destroyer. He's also referred to as the "god of this world," and one of the things that we need to look at is how this angry being infects the masses of human beings. Because what it does, it not only impacts on a physical area, but it has great consequence for us in the Church of God, because we've been called to understand the spiritual ramifications of this thing, not just the physical.
And so this subject is one that we need to explore together in the time remaining, and what I'd like to do is first of all ask you to join me in Galatians 5, in Paul's writings here. We're going to notice something in Galatians 5:19 Galatians 5:19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
American King James Version×. He stresses and draws a comparison of what is called "the works of the flesh" and "the works of the spirit, and the fruit of the spirit," so to speak.
Galatians 5:19 Galatians 5:19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
American King James Version×- The works of the flesh, the way the average carnal man and woman would operate is as follow. It says it will show manifestations of "...adultery," which is obviously wrong, "fornication," which is wrong, "uncleanness," which is wrong, "lasciviousness" - all these are wrongful elements, these are damaging elements to the human make-up and this is why they are cited as such.
Verse 20 - "Idolatry, witchcraft," notice, "hatred..." Now hatred is fed by anger. People just don't wake up and hate to be hated, but anger feeds hatred, and of course - "...emulations," it says here, and then "wrath." Wrath is when people begin to get so inangered that they just, they begin to execute behavior that is very, very wrongful. And many human beings today are spending the rest of their lives in prisons; locked up for the rest of their lives because they couldn't control their physical anger. And the consequences we need to look at, as Passover and Unleavened bread approach is that we don't want to engage in allowing any type of wrongful anger to work in our lives as well. Because while we don't want to condone the physical aspects of this anger, the spiritual is where you and I must really focus in on this point because anger can hurt the relationship between husband and wife. It can hurt the relationship between parents and children. It can hurt the relationship of your fellow workers on the job. Anger is a killer, and wrongful anger is one that we need to be very mindful of because again, it's the anger that kills and God has something very strong to say about this very subject.
Let's notice first of all, if you will, that one of the key areas here that is spoken of if you move down to verse 21; it finishes up by saying the following:
Verse 21 - "...as I have (also) told you (before and as I told you) in time past, that they that do (these) (such) things," the things that have just been outlined," notice, "shall not inherit the kingdom of God." God says, "There is no place in His kingdom for a bunch of hotheads; a bunch of sons and daughters who are angry and upset with one another and with everything that is going down." God wants us to learn to understand why He gave us this emotion, and we all have it.
If you've ever been angry in life you know that it is something you have to deal with very carefully because if you go too far over the line with it as we say, "Why did I say that?" You're sorry, but the damage is done. When people do terrible things and act in terrible ways toward other people driven by anger, and of course this is what Satan loves, he feeds that anger. He just loves to feed that anger because he knows what that will do. It will completely wreck the relationship that God has purposed in the life of all of us as human beings to be made in the image of God. That's why he feeds that; he is an angry being. But we'll understand the positive, and the good side of anger, and why God gave us this emotion as we move along in this story. But here we see very plainly that these are things that we don't want to encapsulate or bring into our lives because if we practice these things driven by anger, ...and many of these things are the result of anger driven.
People do these things because they get angry. Something happens and they get angry and so they spawn a certain reaction and God doesn't want us to react that way. So, the first thing we learn is that sin of anger, this wrongful anger has a hindering effect upon one's inheritance in the kingdom of God. You can't inherit the kingdom of God. Now that ought to spell a big "I gotta watch this carefully. I cannot allow this to get away from me in any way, shape or form."
But being human, remember we are subject to the weaknesses of the flesh and we do cave in at times. You know, sometimes I have to catch myself because sometimes these guys will come flying by on the freeway and, whoom, I find myself getting angry. And I have to always remember to say, "Get home safely tonight," because if I don't, something else might fly out of my mouth 'cause I'm as human as the rest of you. I mean, I don't like seeing people do these type of things. I want things to go right, and I think you know I want everything that... but it doesn't work that way in this world, does it? So we have to realize again, we need help with this, we need God's help. We are but the dust of the ground and the scripture shows that to have help in every given area of overcoming it can only be with the assistance of Almighty God and Jesus Christ. And through the power of their Holy Spirit working in our lives we can accomplish and do what we would not be able to do apart from him.
Please take a quick look back at the book of Corinthians if you would. Let's go to the book of I Corinthians and remember here what the apostle Paul is reminding us.
I Corinthians 1:26 - He says, " 'For you see your calling, brethren...' " This is something you're supposed to see. This is not something where you're to be blindsided; you're to see this, " ' that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.' " God does not reach down there and take, as we say, "the highest of the brain trust." Now that does not mean that the sons and daughters of God, the people he works with, are stupid and dumb. It's not that they fell off the turnip truck or something of this nature. What God is showing us very plainly is that He cannot use the wise of this world because they have this high and mighty understanding of themselves and how they look at life. They don't have this humility that God is looking for. He goes on,
Verse 27 - It says, "...God has (purposely) chosen the (foolish) things of the world to confound the (wise)...." He's done a just the reverse equation. God has chosen the weak things, or the weak ones, and all of us are very weak. We acknowledge our weakness to God. We tell Him we need His help, His strength, His wisdom, His knowledge, His understanding. How do we get that? We get it through Jesus Christ and through the power of God's spirit that fashions Christ in us. And there's no other way it can be done. You can't make it happen. I can't make it happen, but God can make it happen because all things are possible with Him. So notice as Paul goes on to say, "But God has chosen the weak (ones) (things) of the world to confound the things which are mighty." Yes, the ones that put a lot of confidence in themselves have this high and mighty approach to life. And he says,
Verse 28 - "And the base things of the world...." The things that the world would say, "Oh, no, not that." God says, "I'll use that. That's what I'll use. Why? Because that I can demonstrate my glory in." And He goes on to say, "He has taken the "...things which are despised, (that's what) God has chosen, (yea) and things which are not, (and) to bring to naught the things that are." In other words, God has things going on where He can completely reverse the world of man. He's going to one direction and God says, "You think you're going in that way? No way!" He turns it around and completely foils their plan and they can't figure it out. Then He goes on, He says, "And the reason for this is" -
Verse 29 - "That no flesh (should) glory in His presence." There's not a one of us in this room that can afford to glory in His presence. But notice,
Verse 30 - "But of Him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
Verse 31 - "that, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord," or in what God is doing in our life. He's the one who is bringing us to fruition. He's the one that is molding us into the character and the frame of sons and daughters that He can glorify in the process of time.
So here we see a very clear example that what we must understand is that as human beings we have a serious responsibility that involves our calling. We see that we cannot allow this thing of wrongful anger to come in, because if it does it can really throw us a curve; it can affect our future inheritance in the kingdom of God.
Now let's move on to Colossians 3, and here we see another very important thing, a list of deeds showing how the old nature in all of us operates and why we've got to be alert to this and fight it. It's in Colossians 3:5 Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
American King James Version×is where it begins. It says we have a responsibility to:
Verse 5 - "Mortify," that means put to death, or as the Greek would have it, deprive of power, take away the power of these wrong actions. Don't allow yourself to go in those directions. So it says, "Mortify therefore your members (your physical body) which are upon the earth; fornication." It says, "uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." And then he goes on, he shows, and moving down to verse 8 - take a look at this and see what he says we need to be understanding:
Verse 8 - "But now you also put off ...." As we approach Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread we have to evaluate ourselves and see what is our spiritual condition? Just what have we done this past year? Have we drawn closer to God, closer to one another, or are we just kind of cocooning in our own little world and doing our own little thing? God has not called us to cocoon. He's called us to be a family. He's called us to love one another. He's called us to be sons and daughters, brothers and sisters in Christ so that we can have a viable part in the kingdom of God. That's His plan and purpose, otherwise, there's no reason for us to be on this planet and most people are walking around today totally void of this understanding. They think they are just some kind of an accident and fluke in this universe and nothing could be further from the truth. They are the most unique and awesome creation that is the handiwork of the living God. And it goes on to say in:
Verse 8 - "But now put off all these..." And what is the very first thing that is mentioned here? Note: "anger." He's talking about wrongful anger. You've got to get rid of wrongful anger in any way if it's tainting your life and then it escalates, notice "anger goes to wrath, wrath goes to malice, malice goes to blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth."
Now I submit to you this is what Hollywood is cranking out today in the motion picture industry. Many of the movies are driven with what fact? They will start out where individuals will start for one reason or another getting angry with one another. Then that anger will get hotter and hotter; and then they will start fighting with one another and maybe they'll have them a "shootem up" scene in the movie. And it just goes from bad to worse; and then they'll use four-letter words and all kinds of vulgar type of communication with one another. It does exactly what the scripture says. Anger just feeds this and who's the one driving behind the scene? We're told it is Satan who feeds this and says, "Come on, come on, keep doing it." And people today on the physical level are doing this all over the world.
If any of you saw the news last night you saw something quite interesting down in Managua, Nicaragua in which the so-called men who represent their equivalent to our congress. They were there having a free for all, a brough-ha-ha. I mean they were slugging and fisticuffing and coming over at each other and just as the police were trying to pull them back and everything and it was showing plain and simple what happens when people get all bent out of shape with anger. They're not reasonable.
You can't reason with angered minded people, and so this is why God is telling us to be very careful of this, that Satan never gets us on a situation where we become so inangered about something that it could actually damage us spiritually. And so that is a very important part that we don't give in to a manifestation of the old nature. Paul calls it "the old man." The old nature that rises up and we all have to fight it as men and women. We all have that nature, and if we say we don't, we kid ourselves. If we think we are doing, you know, we're just hunky dory and everything's going great, God says, "You're lying and the truth isn't in you." You've got to be honest with yourself and realize you could be subject to anger, but God wants you to understand the right way to use anger. He doesn't want you to get caught by the devil and use this emotion in a wrong way that you would be regretting it for the rest of your life; then these are the things we need to understand.
All right, let's take a look at something else in James 1:20 James 1:20For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.
American King James Version×. The seriousness of wrongful anger is manifest in these scriptures.
James 1:20 James 1:20For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.
American King James Version×- It says, "For the wrath of man..." when man gets all angered and he's all upset and he wants to, as we say, "in your face" type of attitude, notice - "the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God." Because God's commandments are what define His righteousness and He does not command us to have this kind of attitude and approach toward life.
Now that doesn't mean we're supposed to be some kind of a wishy-washy individual; some kind of a pacifist in terms of just living life in such a way where we never get angry. That's why we're going to understand the right side of that equation too because God says there is a time we're going to get angry and we should get angry but use it in the right and proper way that reflects God's anger because God gets angry. Yeah, even God gets angry, but He never sins. And that's what God wants you and I to learn; to learn how to be angry but not to sin. But all too often when we get angry we're sorry individuals when that happens because we sin. We say something then that is hurtful and then how do you make it go away? Well, it's just hard. It doesn't go away. It can be forgiven. Thank God God provides forgiveness, but it still hurts and mankind is laboring under tremendous hurt because of this thing of anger. It works contrary to the righteousness of God.
In Ephesians 4:30-31 Ephesians 4:30-31  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.
 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
American King James Version×we see how that it impacts on the work of the spirit of God. It says,
Verse 30 - "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption." So, what are we saying? Notice -
Verse 31 - "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." Get rid of all this stuff. Why? Because it grieves the spirit of God. God's spirit can't flow in our lives like He wants it to flow when we have given ourselves over to an angry state of mind. So this becomes very important and I would just give you this little something that might be helpful to you. It's helpful to me that if you ever have to struggle with anger for one particular reason, just add the letter D in front of that word and what have you got? Danger, danger - one letter, just add D and you've got danger when you let anger get away from you.
This is why this is an important topic for us because you see, brethren, many of us may be struggling with problems and difficulties from the past that are hidden angers and resentments that are brewing deep down inside that just kind of simmer like a slow burn. And God does not want that in us. He wants us to get rid of those things. That's why He says, "Put it off, put it away. Get rid of it, because these things will hurt you. They will damage your physical life and spiritual life." God does not want us caught in that trap.
Some of the causes for anger. Let's look very quickly at time, some of the causes of anger. It's called foolishness in the heart from a scriptural point of view, that we're very foolish. We're not considering what God has said when we allow anger to erupt like a volcano in our life. If we read Ecclesiastes 7:9 Ecclesiastes 7:9Be not hasty in your spirit to be angry: for anger rests in the bosom of fools.
American King James Version×we find it says -
Verse 9 - "Be (do) not hasty (hasten) in your spirit to be angry." Don't rush there. Don't go there and the reason why, it says, "for anger rests in the bosom of fools." We're branding ourselves as very foolish when we allow ourselves to be pushed in that direction because Satan is pushing us when that happens. He wants you to get angry because when you get angry you don't think clearly. I think all of us realize that from time to time we may have been angry for this reason, that reason when as we say, "when you get all hot and bothered." You're not thinking straight and we say, "I'll talk to you later when you cool down." When you cool down you see things from a different perspective because the Adrenaline is not flowing, you're not all up in the air and all aggravated as a result.
We have other examples in scripture such as the example that is given about a prophet of God. This is one thing that is interesting about the word of God. It does not sugarcoat the situations of life. It does not give us a spin, you know the good guys whom God uses, they've got problems too. Everybody has problems and it's important to us to understand it, just take...it's not a sin, and you know, "Oh, I got problems" and we just feel, "Oh, Oh..." Why we've got problems is because of sin. It creates problems in our lives. It really does.
Let's go to one that I think we're all familiar with. It's in the book of Jonah in the Old Testament, the book of Jonah. This individual had a unique experience quite different than most individuals. He experienced, first of all, a runaway from God. He was enlisted by God to carry out a mission. He had a job to do. He was supposed to go to Nineveh, the capital city of ancient Assyrian empire, but this Assyrian empire was an enemy hostile toward the people of Israel and Jonah knew that and Jonah understood this and Jonah did not have any great affinity for the Assyrian people, especially the Ninevites. And here God says, "I want you to go to Nineveh." What did Job say? You know the rest of the story. He said, "Not me, I'm going to Tarshish." He gets on a boat and God says, "Oh, no, you're not going to Tarshish. You're not going, you're going where I said you're going to go." And what ended up happening? He has to end up aborting and going overboard into the water. All of a sudden, "Gulp, Gulp." Here comes this fish or whale, whatever you want to say, and people say, "Oh, that never happened."
Ah, with God, all things are possible. If he prepared a fish, that fish was there and Jonah's life was gobbled up. Three days, three nights, a wonderful prophecy yet that symbolized something far down the road concerning the resurrection of Christ, but now here he comes at the appointed time. And guess where this prepared fish comes up? The very place he was supposed to go in the first place. Nineveh, and "glug," out he comes.
He has to now carry out the mission of God, which is what? Go to these people. There's over three thousand strong in this city. I believe that's what it is. Let's check it in just a minute here, but anyway, in this particular account we find that Jonah goes and marches through the city and he says, "Unless you repent, boom, God's going to destroy this place." And we have the only recorded event in human history where a non-Israelite gentile city repented and turned to God. They hated the prophecy warning of Jonah and were scared to death. The king rent his clothes; the people fasted. They prayed in sackcloth, a symbol of humility and it was an awesome thing and is recorded showing that God, it assuaged His wrath. What He would have done, He changed His mind and delayed that prophecy.
Later on history says in secular history Nineveh was overthrown because they went back to their old habits, their old ways and when they did that it brought the curse that God said was going to come down on them. But in the meantime, let's go to this thing here in Jonah and see what Jonah had to say. It's found in Jonah 4:1 Jonah 4:1But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
American King James Version×, it says -
Verse 1 - "But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was (notice) very angry." Now do servants of God get angry? Well, just like lay people of God. Yeah, they all, everybody gets angry because we're all subject to this emotion, but how you control it and what you do with it is the rest of the story. He goes on and he prayed and he got so carried away he says, "Oh, I knew it, I knew it, I knew you are a gracious God" -
Verse 2 - He says, "...and merciful" and notice God's character, "slow to anger, slow to anger." So what is the admonition to us? We should be cultivating an attitude that when, anytime anger comes around to visit us we should be slow to get involved with anger to make sure that we're doing it the way God says to do it and not to, as we say, "just fly off the handle and go crazy" and do some dumb, stupid thing. And human beings have been doing a lot of dumb, stupid things down through time driven by anger and so as a result of this, notice what it says - "I knew you are a gracious God, ...slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest you of evil." In other words, you changed your mind concerning the devastation that was going to come upon these people if they had not repented. Then he goes on to say,
Verse 3 - "...take (I beseech thee,) my life." He says, "...It is better for me to die than to live." He now is starting to exaggerate, getting so carried away. "What good is me? You sent me out here, I go out there, I tell these people, 'Repent or you're all going to get killed' and then you don't kill'em. You're making me look like a fool out here as your servant." You see where he's coming from? He's having a little bit of a razzle-dazzle time trying to control his own state of affairs and this pride of Jonah, it's carried on.
Verse 4 - "And then the Lord said, 'Do you do well to be angry?' " In other words, do you have a justification here for being angry? And so Jonah went out of the city and he was up there, it says until he might see what was going to happen to the city because he still hoped God would change His mind and zap this place. That's the bottom line. He still wanted to see fireworks on the 4th of July and he waited and God, in His kindness, because it was out there in the sun on the hillside,
Verse 6 - "...(put) (prepared) a gourd (out there) and (made) it (come)(came) up over Jonah that he might have shade (over) (for) his head to deliver him from his grief. And Jonah was exceedingly glad (of) (for) the gourd." "Boy, I'm glad this gourd sure popped up here because I'm burning up out here on this hillside." Then it goes on and God then did something else.
Verse 7 - "...(He prepares) (God prepared) a worm..." He can prepare a fish, you didn't know he could prepare worms, did you? There He is. He prepares a worm. "...when the morning rose the next day, it smote the gourd (that) (and) it withered.
Verse 8 - "And it came to pass, (when) the sun (did arise) (came out as it did), vehement east wind; (now) it's beating on the head of Jonah, (that) (and) he fainted, and (he) wished in himself to die, (and said,) It is better to die than to live." Now, he's really getting wild. He's just getting wild.
Verse 9 - "And God said to Jonah, 'Do you do well to be angry (to) (with) the gourd?' And he says, 'I do well to be angry (with the gourd), (even) unto death.' "In other words, I'm, I'm just so upset that happened. He got carried away with himself. Now we don't see, we don't see the final answer in Jonah's response. It's not recorded, which means we're going to have some interesting conversations in the kingdom of God when Jonah comes forth and we ask Jonah, "Jonah, what happened that day after God spared Nineveh? Could you fill in the rest of the story for us? We're going to learn an awful lot. In this particular case, verse 11 it says -
Verse 11 - "And should I not spare Nineveh, that great city, (wherein are more than) that has sixscore thousand, (so that's six hundred thousand people) that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle? In other words, he's saying, "Look, these poor people living in the city, they don't know their right hand from their left hand." Now they probably thought they did, but God says, "when you see it from God's perspective, mankind, without God is lost." We were designed and created to understand life in the context of our creator and when we are cut off from our creator we are in the dark. So Jonah was a classic example. His pride and his prestige got in the way and anger flew out of him because of that.
Now we have another example if we go back further in time using the BIBLE as our time machine. What do we end up showing? We see in the book of Genesis the very first example in Genesis 4, 5, and 6. It deals with the so-called Cain and Abel incident. There we have the first heartbreak of mom and dad when they discover their oldest son killed the brother Abel. And he was driven by anger as you read that account. He was so angry at his brother because his brother was accepted and he wasn't; and yet God warned him and told him. He said, "Now look if you do what's right, won't you be received?" He says, "But you're going to have to watch out for this attitude in your heart because there's something out there crouching down trying to jump up and take you over." And that something was the anger that once fed by Satan literally did take him over and he committed the first human murder that we have recorded in the scripture. Very sad case indeed, but yet the reality of what can happen so fast and so quick.
There are many other examples and things that could also be brought into play. I won't take too much time to go over some of these. Saul and David's account, you read about that back in I Samuel 18:8-9 in which Saul got very angry with David, and why? Because he heard this song in the background: "Oh, Saul has killed his thousands but David killed his ten thousands. And he didn't like hearing that; he didn't like hearing that he's getting more credit than me. I, who am the king and so it says that from that moment on, he watched him very carefully. He watched David and he had an anger in his heart that built and he started chasing David and accounts are given in the scripture to show us the type of human response; what happens when anger and jealousy take hold. In this case it was the jealousy of David's success.
Another area that also can foster anger is a lack of discretion. Well, we're told in -
Proverbs 19:11 Proverbs 19:11The discretion of a man defers his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
American King James Version×- "The discretion of a man makes him (note) slow to anger...." A man or a woman who follows with discretion is slow to anger and it is his or her glory to overlook a transgression. Yeah, somebody may have done something wrong, but, again, it's not the end of the world. I use a little expression from time to time, you know, if this is the worst that ever happens, you're still smelling roses because sometimes the things you go through are so minuscule by comparison there's no reason to get all bent out of shape over it. You really have much to be thankful for. We all do.
And of course, we have the example, a cause for anger not appreciating God as to where he's coming from. Now, what do I mean by that? I mean the example we see of the elder brother in Luke 15:27-28 Luke 15:27-28  And he said to him, Your brother is come; and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.
 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him.
American King James Version×of the prodigal son. Remember? He got all upset. He saw the father running out to the younger son who was now coming back, had gone through his inheritance - wine, women, and song. Had no place to go, said he would come back, just be a servant.
His father came...put the robe on, and put a ring on his finger, cut the fatted calf, you know, let's have a party. That which is lost has now been found. And the father ran to meet his son showing the attitude of God the father is running toward all of us. He's running to embrace us, not to create problems for us but to embrace us and welcome us back home where we belong.
And in this particular case the son, the eldest son takes offense of this and he gets angry and he says, "Now, wait a second. How come, here I'm living with you all this time. You never did this for me." So he starts really pitching a fit and he's very upset with his father as if it's his father... and the father turns to him and says, "Now son, wait a second, wait a second. Everything I have here is yours. You've been here with me. You had the benefits of all these things." To put it in modern vernacular, brethren, "Your younger brother has gone through hell to have to learn the lesson of coming back home. You haven't had to go through that hell. You should be happy that you're here. You've had all these good things right here. You didn't have to go through the hell he had to go through to wake up and come back home where he belonged."
And so there again, we see a very important lesson in the prodigal son where God the father is coming from and also again the failure of the elder brother because he forgot that God is a loving and a forgiving God. It's not like the old idea, there's a song, I forget who sang it but something like, "God's Gonna get you for That." "God's Gonna get you for that." It's the idea that if you step out of line "God's gonna get you." Well, human beings step out of line. It's not that they deliberately do it; some do, some don't. The ones that deliberately do it are going to pay the deliberate consequences for it. The ones that don't realize they're doing it, God is very forgiving when they come to their senses and cry out to him for guidance, help and forgiveness.
Now to move along, let's go to a couple of other examples of punishment because of anger. God does punish because of anger and we'll take a note of a couple of examples here because again we never want to step out of line with our creator whereby he punishes us because of anger that we have allowed to wrongfully get out of control. The example I want to share with you is the example in Numbers 20:10 Numbers 20:10And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said to them, Hear now, you rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
American King James Version×-
Numbers 20:10 Numbers 20:10And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said to them, Hear now, you rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
American King James Version×- "And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock...," this was the incident where they're out in the wilderness and they're all needing water to drink and God has instructed them to make sure that you tell the people water will be provided, God will take care of them and all they need to do is speak to the rock. Just speak to the rock and the water will be there. Well, notice what Moses does. He gathers "the congregation together and he said unto them, 'Hear now, you rebels...' "in other words what? He's angry with them. This is one of Moses' personal struggles in overcoming. He had a problem, apparently with anger, as far as we can tell and this one was going to cost him dearly. And God was still merciful, but he still suffered a punishment that I'm sure was heartbreaking for him at the time. He says, "Hear now, yerebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?" That's the big "no-no." Must we, and notice he goes on to say -
Verse 11 - "And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod (that God had given him) he smote the rock twice" (he whacked it twice.) Now please remember, the rock that followed them in the wilderness was who in I Corinthians 10? That rock that followed them was Christ. So that physical rock that was going to provide water for them now was a symbol of Jesus Christ following them, and what did he do? He whacked Jesus Christ twice with that rod or however many times it was; anyway, he struck the rock. And it says, "the water came out (of the rock)..." because God is a merciful God. He makes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. So God fulfilled his part. "The water came out,...the congregation drank, and their (animals) beasts.
Verse 12 - "Then the Lord spoke unto Moses and Aaron, "Because you believed me not..." You see, it begins to strike at our very structural belief and core of belief in terms of God.He says, "...Because you did not believe me, to sanctify me" (to make me holy in the eyes of the people, to make them aware where this water came from out here), "You know, water doesn't just pop out of rocks. How do you suddenly get water out here?" Well, the way you do is you call on God for a miracle and in this case God provided a miracle for these people. He says, "(And) you did not sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them."
And that was truly a heartache. After all, Moses had gone through dealing with all the problems of the people, wandering with them for forty years and now here you are right on the doorstep of everything God had promised, the Promised Land, and what's your verdict? You don't go in. They go in, but you don't. Oh, you've gotta know that was a crushing moment.
But God even is a merciful God. What did He do? He took him up on the high point of the mountain and allowed him with his eyes, his natural vision which had not abated, he was able to look out and to see the beautiful land and the Jordan valley and all of that that God had promised. He is a merciful God, but be not deceived, God is not mocked; and in this particular case He made it very clear. You didn't honor me in the eyes of these people, folks, and as a result you can't have that privilege. I'm going to give that now to Joshua to lead the people in and he will take charge and that was the end of Moses service, but it was a shocker, I'm sure.
The other case that I would cite for your example showing how serious things can develop. It's the story of King Uzziah. You might not be familiar if you haven't studied the story of King Uzziah in the Old Testament. It's in II Chronicles 26. Let's go back there. And please remember all these stories and things that are recorded here by God in the wisdom that God has purposed in preserving them is written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the age are come. God wants us to grasp and comprehend the seriousness of these things.
The story of Uzziah is an interesting one. He becomes a young king here, taking over his responsibility.
II Chronicles 26:1 - He "...was sixteen (years old) and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah." So Uzziah begins to develop the rest of the story as contained in there. He has a very, very blessed hand of God upon him as mentioned in verse 5 and also in -
Verse 13 - "(And) under their hand" it says, there "was an army of three hundred thousand and seven thousand and five hundred, that made war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy."
So Uzziah was one now who comes and he has this problem. It's a problem that can surface in the life of any human being from time to time. It surfaced in the heart of an angel. The most beautiful cherub that God had ever created. You know him by the name of Lucifer and he had an experience some time in the process of time; we don't know exactly when, but it came into his heart and God says something came into his heart. It was called iniquity, lawlessness. He was entertaining lawlessness in his heart, and he executed that lawlessness with a third of the angels to create a sedition in the universe that we know as the angelic rebellion. Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28 addresses that.
But now notice how Satan nowhere is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air. Notice how he can influence and come on the scene, and you just have this story of a situation of somebody out here, but remember who's driving this machine behind the scenes. It says,
Verse 16 - "But when he was strong," when he really came to the zenith and was really, as we say, cooking with gas - everything was going his way; "his heart was lifted up." The very thing that happened to Lucifer; got the big head, and what transpired? "His heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense (to) (upon) the altar of incense. Now that was strictly forbidden. Not just anybody could go in there and do that. The rest of the story talks about how the priests came in there and withstood him. They said, "You can't come in here, king and ..." "You're telling me I can't come in here, who you telling me I can't come in here. I'm comin' in there!" And so, what does it say?
Verse 19 - "...Uzziah was wroth." His anger was just absolutely inflamed. It says, "And (he) had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose (up in) (from) his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, (from) beside the incense altar." In other words, God struck him for his violation, struck him with leprosy right there while he was arguing with the priests of God in the temple. Whooah, if that doesn't get your attention, nothing will. The rest of the story of Uzziah is he lived his life out as a leper. That's not very thoughtful, encouraging, you know. It's a very sad story of a man gone wrong because of anger.
Now if an individual, if you have to get angered for some particular reason, let's take a look at what the positive side of this is. The positive side of this is this - Ephesians 4:26 Ephesians 4:26Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath:
American King James Version×. You and I are admonished that if there is a situation where for some reason we feel justified or a need to be angry about something, here's what it reminds us. It says -
Ephesians 4:26 Ephesians 4:26Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath:
American King James Version×- "Be angry, and do not sin." The very next verse says -
Verse 27 - "(Don't) (Neither) give place to the devil" because you see he's an angry being; he's always there stalking, always seeking whom he may go after. And if Satan can find any form, let's take this in context with Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. If Satan can find any form of anger lurking in your heart, he's going to feed it. You might have had some type of hidden anger for some reason. I don't know what it might be; I'm not pointing at anybody. I'm just saying, we're talking about the broad, general picture here. But why we cannot entertain any form of anger because that's what immediately alerts Satan. He is an angry being and he loves when people are angry and then he feeds that anger and you and I are told we can't go there. We have to resist the devil and submit to God and when we see this, it goes on to say -
Verse 26 - "...do not let the sun" in that given day when you erupt in anger for whatever reason, "...don't let the sun go down on your wrath." So it shows very clearly that if you prolong this thing and it goes on, it has damaging effects in the life of a man and a woman even if you are a man and a woman of God. Because we see examples of men and women that God has used and when they got angry and when they stepped over the line, it could happen to them too; so it can happen to anybody; nobody is exempt in this thing.
God says if you want to stay clear of this problem of wrongful anger listen to me and follow my instructions carefully, because this wrongful anger will kill you. It will kill you spiritually as you are looking out in the world you live in and you are watching people who are angry and they are getting killed left and right every day. What do you think? What drove individuals to blow up trains in Madrid, to do the twin towers? And obviously, it is an anger and a hatred toward the western civilization of this earth. What did we do? We didn't do anything to them. They don't like us and so they shall kill you and say they do God a service and they feel dedicated. They strap bombs to themselves, send children in with bombs and walk in to blow other human beings up because driven by anger.
These are the things that God says, look around, what do you see? This is the world you live in. This is why you pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done," where there won't be this kind of anger running rampant; because you and I can't be at peace when we're living in a world that's coming unglued with anger and heartache of this magnitude. God says that we must not let the sun go down on your wrath. If you have a legitimate reason for being upset, OK, but just cool it quick. Don't hold on to it. We see a couple of examples of this by God's own manifestation.