Summary: This is the final sermon in a series over the life of Moses that shows being God's man is never easy. This is the message examines the importance of not allowing our emotions to get out of control.
At some point in our lives every one of us has experienced anger. Psychologists define anger this way: Anger is an emotion related to one's psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to undo that by retaliation. Modern psychologists view anger as a primary, natural, and mature emotion experienced by virtually all humans at times, and as something that has functional value for survival. Anger can mobilize psychological resources for corrective action. Uncontrolled anger can, however, negatively affect personal or social well-being. In fact, anger can be a destructive emotion that can quickly destroy your mental and physical health. Anger has the ability to cause us to act in ways that seem to be out of character for us. Moses, the great leader of the Hebrew people who spoke face to face with God was subject to the effects of anger. As we progress through today’s text we need to take note of how God dealt with His servant’s anger. From the way God dealt with Moses we will discover some valuable insights on how to deal with anger in our own lives. God’s desire is for us to live in obedience rather than anger. So let’s dive into our text and see the insights we can gain.
I. Psychologists have identified three levels of anger.
A. The low level of anger.
1. This lowest level of anger can best be characterized as irritation.
2. We become irritated simply because something has not gone the way we believed it should.
3. This level is usually a result of impatience or exasperation over the smallest of issues.
B. The medium level of anger.
1. This next level of anger is usually demonstrated by actions or words.
2. At this stage our reaction to the circumstances are quite a bit stronger.
3. Sometimes self control is required so that we don’t say or do something that we will regret.
C. The severe level of anger.
1. This final level of anger is quite dangerous because we react to the circumstances with the highest level of intensity.
2. At this stage we will often fly off into a fit of rage saying and doing things that are out of character for us.
3. At this stage we do not stop and consider the consequences of our words and actions.
4. This level of anger resembles animal instincts and often in some cases results in different acts of violence.
II. Moses struggled with uncontrolled anger throughout his life.
A. Moses got in trouble because of his anger in his early adult years.
1. The first flare up of uncontrolled anger happened as Moses witnesses an Egyptian taskmaster cruelly beating a Hebrew.
2. Moses’ anger caused him to lose touch with his sense of right and wrong as he flew into a rage and killed the Egyptian.
3. Moses obviously was aware of the fact that what he did was wrong because he hid the body and tried to cover his tracks.
4. This act of uncontrolled anger cost Moses quite a bit.
a. He lost his place in Pharaoh’s household.
b. He lost the respect of the Hebrew people.
c. He was forced to flee for his life and live in exile.
B. Moses’ anger was shown twice again after he emerges from his forty year exile.
1. The next recorded flare up of Moses’ anger occurs in Exodus 11 after he announces the tenth plague.
2. Despite God telling Moses that Pharaoh would not budge in regard to releasing the Hebrews, Moses’ anger surfaces because of Pharaoh’s stubbornness.
3. Exodus 11:8 tells us that Moses stomps out of Pharaoh’s presence hot with anger.
4. The next recorded instance of Moses’ uncontrolled anger happens as he returns from Mount Sinai after receiving the Law from God.
5. When Moses witnessed the people partying around a golden calf, Exodus 35:19 tells us the he burned with anger.
6. The problem is not Moses being angered by the Hebrew’s sin; the problem is the way Moses chose to express his anger.
a. Moses flew into an uncontrolled rage once again.
b. This outburst resulted in Moses throwing things, in this case the tablets on which God had written His Law.
C. Moses’ display of uncontrolled anger in our text had grave consequences.
1. The combination of another water shortage and being fed up with the people’s constant complaining led to the next uncontrolled display of anger.
2. God’s anger burned against the complaining Hebrews as well, to the point that He began to kill the people off, but Moses’ anger will lead him down the path of disobedience.
3. Many interpret the event as Moses got into to trouble because he took credit for bringing water from the rock but that is not the act of disobedience.