Cooler Heads Prevail

For years I have followed a certain United States senator. I really admire him, which is something I don't say about most of them. He is of ethnic minority. He never loses his cool. He consistently handles himself with dignity. It is refreshing. He is not your typical politician in that he doesn't just toe the party line. He is not just a "yes man" for some constituency. He is fair, calling balls and strikes as they really are whether it be politically correct or not. This man speaks truth to power but does it with a tone that is respectful. He is a crusader for change but not with a bitter spirit. Oh, and he is a Christian. He is a great testimony in how he carries himself in responding to the issues day in and day out. He is a "voice of reason" in a context of political chaos. What a great example! I have not named him because that would get "political" and detract from my point.

There is a place for passion. There is a place for righteous anger. But there is also DANGER with anger. It is for this reason the Bible says, "Be angry, and do not sin" (Eph 4:26). Anger can quickly give way to sin. Therefore, Paul adds, "do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." (Eph. 4:26-27). Extended wrath is the devil's playground. When anger gives way to bitterness things never get better!

Moses is known as Israel's greatest leader in the Old Testament. Yet, there are indications that he struggled with anger and it eventually got to him. The last time he confronted Pharaoh Exodus 11:8 records: "Then he went out from Pharaoh in great anger." I think he was very frustrated with the STUBBORN REBELLION of Pharaoh. But God said to Moses, "Pharaoh will not heed you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt." (Ex. 11:9). In effect, God told Moses to cool his jets because He was going to use this rebellion for His glory.

Consistently when the children of Israel faced hard times they would blame Moses. It got old. In Numbers 20 there was no water for the people. That is a CRISIS for sure! The people contended with Moses saying, "Why have you brought up the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here?" (Num. 20:4) Moses and Aaron then properly took it to God and God told Moses to SPEAK to the rock and it would bring forth water. But the temper of Moses got the better of him. He said to the people: "Hear now you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?" Moses then lifted his hand and STRUCK the rock twice with his rod contrary to what God had told him to do (Num. 20:10-11).

That error in judgment on the part of Moses was very serious before God. God said, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them." (Num. 20:12). Belief properly honors the LORDSHIP of God and lets God do it according to His Word. Moses in the flesh tried to make the point. Hallowing God means doing it His way according to His Word. The wrath of Moses caused him to sin in such an egregious way that God did not allow him to go into the promised land. What a lesson!

Rarely do people in great wrath do great exploits for God. Rather, it consistently puts the flesh in all its ugliness on display. Before God the fruit of the Spirit is "self-control" (Gal. 5:23). The wrath of God is best left to God. Only in God is it assured to be HOLY! Before God it is the cooler heads that prevail. This is in keeping with the fruit of the Spirit!

James 1:19–20 (NKJV)
19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

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