A Bible Study Series Using the book
Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way
by Gary Chapman
We are studying the emotion of anger in our lives. It is a HUGE part of society today. We looked at statistics last week and I would dare say that each of us could share anecdotal information about how much we experience or are confronted with anger EVERY day.
As we go through our study guide and the Word of God we will address the cause and effect of anger, but today as we have read Chapter One, we are introduced to the source of anger and what happens when we are angry.
Does Anger have a purpose? I believe it does. Anger is not a byproduct of the fall of man a result of our sin. What we DO with our anger and the consequences of misused anger CAN be a result of sin but ANGER in itself is not the culprit.
We are using a companion to the word of God on this issue. The Book by Dr. Gary Chapman, Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way. If you do not have a copy I recommend you buy one on line or let us order you one. Download one to your computer, smartphone, or book reader.
The Dictionary Definition for anger – “a strong passion or emotion of displeasure, and usually antagonism, excited by a sense of injury or insult.”
So we see anger at its heart is the result of something we feel is not RIGHT or JUST
It is more though than a simple emotion, but a physiological response of body, mind, and will.
Chapman says it is a “response to some even or situation in life that cause us irritation, frustration, pain, or other displeasure.”
Disappointment, hurt, rejection, embarrassment, are feelings that feed anger
Anger sets you Against someone … while Love draws you toward someone
Anger gets your mind working … playing out scenarios imagining intentions and motives that may or may not be true
So, with negative thoughts and emotions, our body joins in … adrenal glands start working which can lead to tension, excitement, heart rate raised, blood pressure, lungs, and digestive activity.
So … if allowed to run free, you might shake something/someone, throw a fit, kick the dog, write a letter, sock someone in the face.
WHY? Why do we even HAVE Anger?
What does our author say is the root source for Anger? It is in the NATURE OF GOD. Now we are NOT talking about sinful acts of anger like you and I exhibit. If God has a dog in heaven he has NEVER kicked it. He has never cursed. He has never be disrespectful or needlessly hurtful. He has never been selfishly manipulative. He has NEVER SINNED. But God HAS Been Angry. As a Matter of Fact he has a STANDING ANGER toward Sin. But he is Holy!
Dr. Chapman says two parts of God’s nature are where anger comes from what are they? His Holiness and His Love.
God is LOVE
God is HOLY …
God is Holy – 1 Peter 1:16 – “be holy because I am holy”
Holy means set apart, unique, apart from sin … There is NO SIN in God OR anything he does or produces.
Jesus was Angry at times yet Hebrews 4:15 says he was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin”
Go is Love – 1 John 4:8 says simply that “God is Love”
but it never says
God is ANGER. It is not in his Character but it is in his nature to be Holy and Love and that sometimes results in righteous anger.
Psalm 7:11 – makes it clear that God has an ongoing anger toward unrighteousness
God experienced anger in the Old Testament
Jesus experienced anger in the New Testament, both are because of his Holiness and Love
He wants us to do what is right and experience his blessings.
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess” (Dt. 30:15-16)
God is angered at the results of sin and his desire for Justice
Chapman says “Anger is his logical response to injustice and unrighteousness”
Why does that affect us? We are created in God’s image (Gen 1:27)
So what do we say when something makes us angry? “That’s not RIGHT” … even a lost person says that … because we are made in his image. There is a sense of RIGHT and Wrong even when it is skewed by sin.
Ever had your child say “that’s not fair”?
So anger comes from perceived wrong. Why? Because That’s GOD in our nature. If we are lost it’s still embedded in our DNA.
Even when you are WRONG … your anger is probably based on a feeling or perception of INJUSTICE --- even if it’s as simple as someone cutting you off in traffic you feel slighted … “don’t they know who I am”? ok well maybe you don’t say that but it’s really what you feel. INSULTED
Anger is NOT Evil
Anger is NOT sin …
Anger means we were created BY God and LIKE God
As long as there is anger it means someone FEELS right and wrong and senses right and wrong that’s a good thing
If we don’t care, if we have a society where NO ONE gets angry that is probably a dangerous thing
So we can celebrate that … anger has a purpose … and we will learn that next …
But I read this quote from Lee Iacocca who was the chairman at Chrysler who saved that company … he said this to a graduating class in 1983
I want you to get mad about the current state of affairs. I want you to get so mad that you kick your elders in their figurative posteriors and move America off dead center. Our nation was born when 56 patriots got mad enough to sign the Declaration of Independence. We put a man on the moon because Sputnik made us mad at being No. 2 in space. Getting mad in a constructive way is good for the soul—and the country.
That should give you hint to the purpose of anger …
Before I send you into small groups to discuss the book, each week I’m going to take us to a Godly example or a Human but Correct Response to Anger … for us to learn from
Number 11 is a prime Old Testament Example of the Anger of God driven by his Holiness and his Love
Now remember as we read that the people didn’t have a Bible to read. They were still learning about God. His revelation to them was often a day by day moment by moment thing.
We have the Word of God and the recounting of these events so we are without excuse.
They had the experience and history verbally of those who came before them But Moses had not written it yet, they had not lived it yet.
V1 God’s anger is aroused because “the people complained about their hardship in the hearing of the Lord” –
Why Was God Angry?
The People Complained …
so loudly that it reached Heaven … i.e. this wasn’t just a little whining
he had delivered them from Egypt, he was delivering them TO the promised Land, he was protecting them and providing for them. They didn’t have to plant or harvest, to forage for their food. They complained about the Process and Product.
They were calling into question the Goodness of God
and so questioning his Holiness and his Love – If He was NOT being good toward them then he had lied in his promises to care for them and so he had sinned and was not Holy. If He was not good then He didn’t love them and thus was acting contrary to his nature.
What Did he Do?
He showed his displeasure through a fire
“on the outskirts” of the camp
In order for them to hear and understand he need their attention.
So a little fire on the edge of the Camp should get their attention. Now this could be a literal fire or it could be a sensation of intense heat … whatever it was only affected the edges of camp … perhaps that’s where the greatest complaint came or perhaps he was just showing them what he COULD do … this was a warning
He wanted them to Realize their wrong and repent.
What did they do?
They Cried out … showing repentance and God stopped the fire
- But we are NOT always good “Rememberers” are we?
Then v4 says
- “The Rabble with them began to crave OTHER food and again the Israelites started wailing and said ‘if only we had meat to eat!’”
“The RABBLE” … here is the problem … Exodus 12:8 says that when they left Egypt “many other people went up with them” That is people other than the people of God.
The problem is they had not separated themselves and brought Egyptians with them. These didn’t know God and they STIRRED them to rebel against God.
--- FOLKS when you surround yourselves and give your heart, eyes, heart to those who do not know God they CRAVE other Things than you do and they will turn your heart.
When you serve God, be careful whose voice you listen to and surround yourself with.
So READ 5-10
V10 – “The Lord was exceedingly Angry and Moses was Troubled”
Now we won’t take time to address that Moses was getting overwhelmed and he told God and God helped him by providing 70 others who could share the Burden … that’s a good thing to see … but we don’t have time for that …
Why Did God Angry?
The people complained
about his provision of manna. They complained because they had to gather it and it was just the same stuff every day in their diet.
They Listened to the Rabble
God was angry because they listened to “The Rabble” instead of Him
Did God Provide? Did He Ever Lie? Did He Mistreat? Again this goes to the GOODNESS of God … But
They failed to trust and love and listen and instead were ungrateful, unloving, and Open to competing Affections
What Did God Do?
We won’t take time to read the parts regarding the 70, you can read later but go to verses 18-23 and Read … Read 31-32
God gave them what they “wanted”
He was showing them that what we “want”, when it is apart from God’s provision, will eventually make us sick or worse
God’s Further Anger
What He Did
He sent sickness that killed many
The people craved their appetites MORE than pleasing God
When the Quail came …
Those with a soft heart would have been moved by God’s gracious gift and repented of their attitudes and asked god’s forgiveness and perhaps even refused to ea this new gift. That would have ended this. But instead they gorged themselves on something that they had DEMANDED from God.
I would rather have his gifts than MY Demands
What did they name the place?
Kibbroth Hattaavah – “graves of craving”
God was angry because they wanted different food more than they wanted him. They were consumed by their cravings
God’s action was designed to teach them the truth about what our cravings do to us and that they lead to death and to understand grateful living within the provision of God.
Perhaps next time … they would remember …
perhaps, and I’m sure some did … but unfortunately many did not … but we have their experience to teach us today