A book could be written about the danger of anger. There are not enough words to describe all the horrible harmful things that have happened as a result of anger. It is an issue we all must deal with, even preachers–maybe I should say, “especially preachers”. Just about every preacher at some point has used the pulpit as a whipping post to vent his anger on the people. But preachers aren’t the ones guilty of unjustified anger. It affects everyone.
Even a great man like Moses had a problem with anger. Numbers 20:1-13 describes an event that Moses deeply regretted for the rest of his life. Without the approval of God he delivered a scathing message of rebuke to the people and disobeyed God, by striking the rock twice. Charles Swindoll gives this excellent account of what happened:
I think there’s even a hint of blasphemy here. “Shall we bring water out of the rock?” he asks. But Moses, when did you ever bring water out of a rock? Isn’t God the one who summons water? True enough. But when you give in to rage, you sort of black out; you set aside your right mind and are driven by the unchecked emotions of anger. So the text states, Moses “lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice” (20:11, italics mine).
God had told him to speak to the rock; Moses struck it, not just once, but twice. And I frankly doubt whether he even cared if water came. He probably hoped it wouldn’t. He was so angry, he wanted their throats to stay dry. He wanted them to choke and writhe in their thirst. “Do you think we’ll give you water, you low-life scumbags? Hah!” So he belts the rock—Wham! Wham!—and much to his surprise, out flows fresh water. Scripture tells us that “water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also” (v. 11). Absolutely amazing! Amazing grace!
But that’s the way God’s grace works, isn’t it? Have you ever acted in rash unbelief, and yet God went ahead and opened up the door in spite of you? Talk about ultra humiliation. It happens when you’re out to lunch spiritually, when you’re walking in the flesh and you know it. You know when it began, and you know the depth and intensity of your carnality, but God graciously gives you what is best anyway. It’s remarkable, isn’t it, this thing called grace? It was grace that brought forth that clear stream of fresh water for the rebellious Israelites, as well as for ill-tempered Moses. (References to scriptures changed to KJV)