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Im So Angry I Could
Scripture: Numbers 12:3; Exodus 2:11-12; Acts 7:23;...
Track 12 of 14 in the Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication series
Running time: 44 minutes, 08 seconds.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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I’m So Angry I Could…

Anger. Does it seem to you that our society feels more anger than it has in the past? To me, it seems people can get angry over just about anything these days. The simplest of things can turn people in raging Rhinos. I don’t know what it is but we even have terms for this type of anger. Have you ever seem things like “road rage”? Maybe you even displayed a little of it yourself. Then there is the phase, “going postal”.

What do these types of phrases describe or mean? What is the difference from being mad verses going postal? Where does all this anger come from? Is there something deeper to what is happening today?

Psychologists have identified 5 levels of anger. Each level is actually a step; each step is more intense than the last.

• Mild irritation: Brought on by some unpleasant disturbance. It could be brought on by a traffic jam, noisy kids, not enough money, a lack of patience or a lack of sleep.
• Indignation: Usually can be brought on by something that seems unfair or unreasonable. It can be expressed by violence. This is most often witnessed at sporting events. A mother’s son gets knocked down, a blind referee or one who is perceived to be unfair.
• Wrath: This action never goes unexpressed. No one restrains wrath. There is a strong desire to avenge, to fight back or to defend.
• Fury: Fury introduces violence. It may include a momentary loss of control and even a temporary loss of sanity. Unresolved domestic conflicts often lead to fury.
• Rage: This is the most dangerous form of anger. It leads to brutal violence often times out of conscience awareness. A person can commit murder when in a rage. A person can black out from the rage they have in them.

What we all have to remember is that each one of us has the potential for violence. The only difference is the matter of control. Each one of us have been given free choice to act out our anger anyway we want. But in Christ, we have been given Someone inside us to help us to control our anger. The Holy Spirit brings us the needed restraint and control during angry situations. He acts as the spiritual governor who tells us, “That is enough”.

Have you felt that restraint before. All of us get angry, but what actually keeps you from going too far?

I think it would be very hard as a nonbeliever to have the restraint needed to hold back from anger all on your own. Jesus does offer hope to those of us who struggle with anger. In fact, he offers a whole ocean if it because there are so many things out there pulling at our emotions. We will see that God makes available to us resources that can help us to overcome the anger we can feel.

Many people don’t think of Moses as being a man who had trouble with his temper. In fact, last weeks lesson told us something very unlike a man with a temper:

Numbers 12:3 Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.

Scripture does show us that Moses was a man who struggled with his temper. Periodically Moses controlled his temper but when he allowed his anger to show itself, it tended to explode. Sometimes we have to wonder if his anger reached the level of rage. If you learn nothing more from this lesson, I want you to be aware of the sad consequences of an uncontrolled temper.

Examples of Moses anger:

Murderous Anger:

By the time Moses was 40, he saw an Egyptian slave-driver beating a defenseless Jew. The beating was unfair and Moses quickly came to the boiling point. He reacted in the following way:

Exodus 2:11-12 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

Acts 7:23 When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian.

Do you notice the reason for the murder?

That act caused Moses to flee for 40 years. Even though Moses learned some very valuable lessons in Midian, unfortunately he didn’t learn to control his temper.

Unnecessary Anger:

Have you ever gotten angry over something you knew was going to happen? Why?

When Moses returned to Egypt to lead the Exodus, after the 9 face offs with Pharaoh, God told Moses that the tenth and final plaque would involve the death of Egypt’s firstborn. God also told Moses that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart causing the 10th plague to happen. But it is interesting Moses response when dealing with Pharaoh.

Exodus 11:7-8 Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.

Now why did Moses get angry? All he was supposed to do was give the message, that was it. There was no reason for him to leave in the throes of fury. He was not content to give the message; he acted way beyond God’s intention or desire. Also I think Moses took this thing way too personal. Notice who he said the officials would be bowing down to.

Destructive Anger:

We skipped over the event when Moses, after receiving the 10 Commandments from God, found the Israelites worshiping a golden calf. The reason they did this is because they thought Moses wasn’t coming back so in unbelief, they started to prance around and commit obscenities in front of their new idol. At the height of their fun, Moses returned.

Exodus 32:15-16 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.

Name for me one artifact that is more precious, more valuable than the tablets Moses was carrying. What object can we point to that is more important, more significant than those tablets?

We have to remember that these tables were written by the actual hand of God. Imagine possessing a document personally written, deposited into your care and signed by Almighty God. That is what Moses had in his hands as he came down from the mountain. Moses looked up and saw the people doing a horrible act. They were dancing around and worshiping a golden calf that they made with the gold that God secured for them from the Egyptians. They had nothing, they were nothing before God set them free through Moses. And Moses burned with anger when he saw what was going on?

If you were Moses, what would you have done? Would you have been angry also? How angry would you be?

Exodus 32:19-20 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.

Imagine that. It is hard to see people drinking gold mixed in with water. He sis this after he smashed the tablets against the foot of the mountain.

What purpose did the smashing of the tablets do for this situation? How did this act help fix the problem?

We have heard this story all our lives since being little kids. But how many of you were taught that this act was simply an act of out of control temper? All my life I excused Moses for his action thinking he did this in righteous anger. But his anger was not righteous; it was out of control anger. God never approved of what Moses did. God didn’t excuse him. When the law had to be rewritten, God made Moses cut the tablets out of the stone himself before God rewrote the commandments again. It was though God was saying, since you threw a temper tantrum and destroyed the first set, you have to with your own hands cut out the second.

Rebellious Anger:

Now we have to fast forward many years ahead. Israel already refused to enter the Promised Land and now the nation is wandering in the wilderness. They in fact had wondered for 39 years complaining all the way.

Have you ever witnessed a mother say to a child, “Don’t do that”. Then the child does it and mom says, “I told you no. Now don’t do that again or else.” Then the child does it again to receive only another warning. In the end the child gets what he wants. What message does this send to the child?

But all the time this is going on, the mother getting irritated. How many times does the child have to disobey until mom has had it and lets loose her anger? Who wouldn’t grow irritated? This is exactly how Moses felt toward the Hebrews. By the time Numbers 20 rolls around, Moses has had it. He is tired of all the complaining and disobedience.

Numbers 20:1-2 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron.

A familiar scene isn’t it. This is all the nation did for 40 years. I don’t know why God and Moses even put up with the actions of this nation. When things didn’t go their way, they always called out the lynching party.

Numbers 20:3-5 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD! Why did you bring the LORD’S community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”

Here is the same old thing over and over again. They were still complaining, still carping, whining about how tough life was and how neglected they were. They didn’t realize it and probably Moses didn’t either, that they were just about to push their leader who is struggling with anger right over the edge. Watch carefully in scripture what Moses does as he struggles with his anger.

Numbers 20:6-8 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. The LORD said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

What was the simple message and action Moses was to do? Could God have been more clear? For a man who is angry at his own people, what is the danger lurking close by?

Numbers 20:9-11 So Moses took the staff from the LORD’S presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

Wait a minute! Where did Moses get the okay to deliver such a scathing message? He didn’t! Where did it come from? His anger! Moses speaks a bit of blasphemy here? What was it?
When did Moses ever bring water from a rock? God is the only one who summons water from rocks. What else did Moses do wrong? He struck the rock; he was to speak to it.

From that act out of anger came a harsh judgment from God. Moses would not lead the people into the Holy Land. Someone else would do it. Three times Moses prayed to God to change his mind but God finally told him not to pray it again. The final word was no and God was not going to change his mind. James writes for us a very strong warning:

James 1:19-20 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.