Anger: A Tool Or A Liability

Faith Schiller, Associate Online Campus Pastor | March 28, 2024

When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 
Exodus 32:19

“I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” 
Exodus 32:9-10

I had a dream last night that I was really angry at a dressing room attendant at Kohl’s. I was so angry in this dream that I went into my car and yelled for a while, just to release the frustration building up in me. It was one of those real-feeling dreams where you wake up and wonder, “Did that really happen?” It was odd though, because  I don’t really shop at Kohl’s nor is anger an emotion I feel very frequently. It takes a lot to make me feel angry, and even more to make me react in anger, so yelling in frustration in my dream was quite a new experience for me. 

It took a lot for Moses to experience his anger, too. Remember, Moses was the guy who had spent his entire adult life running away from the people of Israel only for God to speak to him through a burning bush and make him the spokesperson for the entire nation… not to mention, he hated public speaking due to his stutter. But then, Moses runs into roadblock after roadblock in carrying out the things God has asked him to do on account of the absolute stubbornness of the people around him: Pharaoh, the Israelites, even his brother Aaron couldn’t seem to grasp what God was doing!

So after 40 long days and nights on the mountain, talking to God about what it means to be a holy people, Moses finds the nation of Israel defiantly rebelling against the Lord… again. And he absolutely loses it. Moses had so many reasons to be frustrated, but what we see in the text is Moses actually mirrors God’s anger at the people, not his own. Moses was angry because God was angry because the people were worshiping something else. There were many other things Moses could have been angry about and many other moments where Moses’ anger could have erupted. And yet, this is the moment we see his anger. 

Anger is not a bad emotion, although we sometimes villainize it. When it is aligned with God, anger can become an indicator of what we should be paying attention to in our lives and the things God cares about. Moses used his anger as a tool but didn’t let it become a liability.

Next Steps

Consider what God gets angry about. Pray and ask God to align your heart with His when it comes to the injustices that make Him angry.

How can you use anger as a tool to understand more about what God cares about?