Daily encouragement

Video by

Kendra Cortez

ACF Devo Team

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Psalm 78:38

“Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.”

Behind the Scenes

I’m so ANGRY! I was on the phone, holding, for customer service for 30 minutes. I finally got a real human on the phone, and they had to transfer me to another department. Another 22 minutes later, I got another real human who was looking up my information when we got cut off. ARGH!! Now I get to start the whole process over…

Ever been there? Whether it’s on the phone navigating the dozens of different options, sitting in traffic, or working through a toxic situation at work, I think we have all been angry at some point in our lives. We’ve been pushed past our limits of patience, tolerance, or understanding.

But what does God say about this? Does God get angry? If you read all of Psalm 78, you will see that, indeed, God does get angry. Verse 58 says, “For they provoked him to anger with their high places; they moved him to jealousy with their idols.” However, our God is a God of love. He IS love, and therefore, he acts in compassion and mercy.

You see, God’s anger is a righteous anger. Since He is holy, He cannot tolerate or be in the presence of sin, and the Israelites sinned again and again. You may have learned about their cycle of sin: they lived under God’s holy laws, worshiping and devoted to Him alone. Then, as time would go on, they would begin to forget what God had done for them. They would grumble and start acting like the nations around them, forsaking God and worshipping foreign gods. As a consequence of this idolatry and sin, God would allow them to be attacked by their enemies. After struggling under oppression and dominance from other nations, they would remember God and turn back to Him, repenting of the sins they committed, devoting themselves once again to God. He would then redeem them, and they would live in relative peace until... The cycle would start over….again and again and again.

In this cycle, God would get angry with His people, He would discipline His people in order to bring them back to Him, they would repent, and He would again bring them peace. In all of this, God still loved His people — don’t miss that. The point of the “punishment” wasn’t because He didn’t love His people anymore. The punishment was specifically because of His love — to bring them back into right standing with Him.

Make it Real

So, what’s the difference? I guess that means that I can fly off the handle and be angry at all the “offenses” I’ve suffered right? When I sit on hold for an interminable amount of time, I can lay into the customer service rep, right? When I sit in traffic, I can honk my horn and “wave” to the offenders - yes? When someone at work looks at me the wrong way, I can turn a cold shoulder and write them off?  

NO, of course not! The difference is that God’s anger is about God. When we get angry in situations like the above, it’s about US. I’m inconvenienced by sitting on hold or in traffic. My feelings are hurt as someone at work disagrees with me. These instances are all about me. When the focus is on self, anger is sin.

However, there is such a thing as righteous anger. Being angry about domestic abuse is righteous anger. Being angry about sex trafficking is a righteous anger.  Being angry about racism is a righteous anger. These examples are about others and are situations where God is angry too. In those cases, your anger is right and expected.

So yes, we will get angry — we’re human. But we can follow God’s example in this and restrain our anger, remembering that God’s righteous anger could have meant the end of all of us — but it didn’t. He loves and shows mercy to us; therefore, let’s try to follow His example and show mercy to those around us who inconvenience us or hurt us. Though difficult, we need to remember that this life is not about us, it’s about God. When we focus on God and His loving kindness, we see the right (righteous) perspective and can let go of the anger.

End in Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your compassion and mercy. Thank You that You restrain Your anger because of that love. Thank You that You sent Jesus to take the wrath that we deserve upon Himself. God, when I start to get worked up over things that affect me, help me to re-focus on You and put things back into perspective. In Jesus’ name ~ AMEN.

Written by

Colleen McGeorge

ACF Groups Coordinator