Summary: Moses' life shows a pattern of anger issues. Because Moses never got control of his anger, he faced tragic consequences. This sermon will motivate us to do something about our anger with God's help.
A. There is a story told about a girl who was writing a paper for school and asked her father for help, "Dad, what is the difference between anger and exasperation?"
1. The father replied, "It is mostly a matter of degree. Let me show you what I mean."
2. With that, the father put his telephone on speakerphone and dialed a number at random. To the man who answered the phone, the father said, “Hello, is Melvin there?”
3. The man answered, “There is no one living here named Melvin,” and hung up abruptly.
4. "See," said the father to his daughter. "That man was likely a little unhappy with our call. He was probably very busy with something, and our call annoyed him. Now watch...”
5. The father dialed the same number again. “Hello, is Melvin there?” asked the father.
6. “Now look here!” came the heated reply. “You just called this number a minute ago, and I told you that there is no Melvin here!” The receiver was slammed down hard.
7. The father turned to his daughter and said, “You see, that was anger. Now I'll show you what exasperation means.”
8. He dialed the same number, and a angry voice roared, “HELLO!”
9. The father calmly said, “Hello, this is Melvin. Have there been any calls for me?”
B. There are so many things that can cause us to become angry.
1. As you know, our society is rife with all kinds of angry eruptions.
2. Almost every day we hear news stories about anger and violence.
3. Whether it is on the highways, or in the grocery store, in the work place, in politics, in schools, or in the sports arenas, we see outbursts of anger far too often.
4. Anger is a God-given emotion that was given to us for our well-being and good health, but Satan has twisted it, and we have become conditioned by what we see in our homes, schools, and society to let our anger get out of control and become destructive in all kinds of ways.
C. Social commentators warn that people today are sitting on emotional powder kegs.
1. We’ve gone from short fuse to virtually no fuse.
D. Psychologists have done many in-depth studies of anger.
1. While they have come up with no guaranteed answers – for there is no ultimate answer outside of God – they have helped us analyze the emotional dynamics of anger.
2. They have told us that anger rises along five stages, each stage more intense than the last.
a. Anger, we are told, begins with mild irritation – it may be as mild as a traffic jam or a car full of noisy children.
b. Mild irritation begins to build and leads to indignation – a deeper level of intensity.
c. The third level is wrath, which psychologists say never goes unexpressed.
d. Wrath soon becomes fury, the fourth level. Fury introduces violence to the mix.
e. The fifth stage is rage, the most intense of angry expressions.
1. Rage, we are told, is the most dangerous form of anger.
2. It can so overcome a person that it inspires acts of brutal violence, sometimes performed without conscious awareness.
E. Before we sit in judgment upon anyone who struggles with anger issues, we must confess that we all have within us the very same potential for anger and violence.
1. The only difference is a matter of control.
2. Those of us who have given our lives to Christ know that we have the Spirit inside us who enables us to control our anger.
3. If you are not a Christian today, then I must tell you that I have no hope to give you in this area of anger.
4. The living Lord is the only one I know who can give us the power to overcome sin and the sinful expressions of anger.
5. It may be that even though you are a Christian, you still wrestle with controlling your angry outbursts.
a. If this is the case, then I’m sure you feel guilt and shame about it and may be at a loss to know what to do that this point.
b. I want to assure you that God cares, and forgives, and wants to help you find the control you lack.
6. Christ does offer hope to those of us who struggle with anger – He can help us find a healthy way to express our anger.
7. We must do our part to take advantage of the resources the Lord offers us, but if we fail to do our part, then we will continue to struggle, just as Moses did.
I. The Story
A. Let’s turn our attention to Moses.
1. Most of us don’t normally think of Moses as a man given to a violent temper, but I believe that the biblical record shows that he never did get complete control of his anger.