Summary: An investigation into what made Moses angry and what we can learn from it.
Anger is a big problem in our culture. Things like "road rage" and "going postal" are only the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface there are all sorts of volcanoes preparing to erupt in the lives of many.
Leslie Charles, the author of "Why Is Everyone So Cranky?" lists the following ten trends that are driving Americans to epidemic bouts with ill tempers: (See if these don’t sound familiar to you.)
1) Compressed time. "We are living in an age of immediacy, impatience, urgency, interruption, and intolerance to inconvenience."
2) Communications overload. You’re always tuned in to TV, radio, Internet, Cell phones, I-pods, etc. You’re surrounded by piles of papers and magazines you never get to.
3) Dis-Connectedness. We’re overloaded and don’t have enough time for one another. It’s hard to stay connected in houses where every family member has his or her own television, cell phone, computer, etc.
4) Cost. As the cost of living continues to rise we are bombarded with commercial enticements to earn, spend, and accumulate.
5) Competition. "We compete on the road, for parking places, in lines, so we constantly feel the pressure of other people around us…If you are in the grocery store’s express lane, chances are you will count the items in the cart of the person in front of you. We are constantly monitoring other people’s behavior."
6) Customer Contact. Since neighborhood stores seldom exist any more, clerks and customers don’t have time to build the relationships they use to.
7) Computers. Technology surrounds us and is part of the culprit in our era of emergency, urgency and interruption.
9) Coming of Age. "Old is younger than it used to be. People are living longer and staying healthier than ever before" and yet that still isn’t enough.
10) Complexity. Things like genetic engineering and reproductive technologies have us dealing with issues today that we don’t even have legislation for. We are overwhelmed to the point of feelings of inadequacy.
We’re finishing up the series today, "Loving the Life You Live", and trends that lead to unresolved anger are certainly major players in making it difficult to love life. It’s more difficult to stay happy when you or someone close to you is cranky.
That’s why we need to find out what triggers anger, like the things on the list I just read, and that’s why we need to consider how we can effectively deal with the things that are making us angry. Once again we look to the Word of God for answers.
There was a great man in Scripture who had a bad temper. His name was Moses. You probably don’t remember him as much for his temper but you’ll see from today’s Scriptures that anger was Moses’ Achilles’ heel.
By reading and studying his biography in the Bible you can learn what to do and what not to do when it comes to anger. We’re going to look briefly at several times when Moses’ anger got the upper hand in his life. We’re going to think about why he was so angry and what he could have done about it.
The first thing you can learn from Moses about dealing with a cranky person, even if that cranky person is yourself is:
1. Find out what makes you tick so you can handle what ticks you off.
The first time you read of Moses’ tendency to fly off the handle is when he was forty years old and has decided to identify himself with the Hebrews, his biological family, instead of the Egyptians who had adopted him as a baby. It was at this point in his life that his anger motivated him to commit murder.
Exodus 2:11 (CEV) After Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were hard at work, and he saw an Egyptian beating one of them.
12 Moses looked around to see if anyone was watching, then he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand.
How could someone become so angry that they would take the life of another human being in cold blood? How could such a blemish occur on the record of such a great man?
Moses had what we call today "issues." We’re not told when he found out he was adopted, perhaps he knew it from childhood, but in his early life he was torn between two identities. In his favor, he eventually made the right choice.
Hebrews 11:24 (CEV) After Moses grew up, his faith made him refuse to be called Pharaoh’s grandson. 25 He chose to be mistreated with God’s people instead of having the good time that sin could bring for a little while.
You too have a decision to make when it comes to whom you identify with. Are you going to identify with God’s people or are you going to identify with those seeking the temporary good time that sin brings? You can’t live on a balance beam between two worlds.