"Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?" Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. Numbers 20:10-11
Have you ever seen a bull fight? The brave matador goes toe-to-toe with an angry bull. And why is the bull so angry? The red cape of the matador is waved in front of his face. When the bull sees red, he goes ape … and he tries to gore and stomp anyone in his way.
What do you do when you “see red?” What do you do when the daily trials and frustrations of life cause you to get hot under the collar? Do you lose it and charge ahead to get a pound of flesh, as the bull does? Or are you able to process the anger and respond in a Spirit-controlled, godly fashion?
MOSES AND THE ROCK
Without question, Moses is a great hero of the Old Testament. He is a prophet unlike any other, one whom God knew and spoke to “face to face” (Deut. 34:10). But Moses wasn’t perfect. In fact, he could see red on occasion … and respond out of anger. If you don’t believe me, just ask the dead Egyptian.
In the Book of Numbers, he got very angry with the people one day, as they whined, griped, complained and blamed him about having no water to drink. God told Moses to speak to the rock and the water would flow. But Moses angrily struck the rock twice in the sight of all Israel. The water flowed, but Moses lost the privilege of going into the Promised Land as a result of that outburst, one that was very disobedient and dishonoring to God.
While the whys of God’s severe chastisement on Moses’ sin can be debated, there are practical lessons to learn when we are “seeing red.”
1. Don’t respond to situations in anger. Responding in uncontrolled anger will get you in trouble every single time. You will say things you’ll regret. You will do things you wish you hadn’t. You will make a bad situation worse. Trust me, I have experienced it all too often.
So, what is the answer? Don’t respond until you can cool down. Oftentimes, I will get an email from someone who doesn’t like me or takes issue with something I said or did. Sometimes, it can really tick me off. My natural response is to fire back with an email of my own, clicking on “Bold, Italic, and Underline” for added emphasis. But that response is very unwise and causes an unpleasant situation to escalate. I must practice the 24 hour rule: Do not respond for 24 hours in order to let the emotions settle down. I must remember Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” When I respond gently, the tension lessens significantly.
2. Don’t let another person control your actions. Moses let the whines and gripes of the people get his goat. Arguably, his poor response came from a desire to lash out at those “rebels.” It is easy to respond in the flesh, looking for a pound of flesh to satisfy your anger, but that is not the Lord’s way. On the cross, He prayed for those who were mercilessly mocking, taunting, and jeering Him. They could not control Him, because the Holy Spirit was in control of Him all the way. Let it be the same with you.
3. Be patient and wait on the Lord. I love the acronym H.A.L.T. What is H.A.L.T.? When facing a key decision and emotions are running high, don’t make a decision if you are:
H - Hungry
A – Angry
L – Lonely
T - Tired
Wait on the Lord and call upon His name. He will settle you down and allow you to quit seeing red and start seeing things from His perspective. He is a good God. You can trust Him.
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
P.S. To find out more about handling anger and other negative emotions, check out the book RUNAWAY EMOTIONS. I trust it will be a help and encouragement to you. www.fromhisheart.org/emotions.
Jeff Schreve founded From His Heart Ministries, www.fromhisheart.org, in 2005 with the vision to reach as many people as possible with the good news of God's love. Jeff believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a great plan just for you. He broadcast on radio, TV and in the internet around the world from his pulpit ministry as Pastor of First Baptist in Texarkana, Texas. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.
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