Man! Samson sure has a temper, doesn’t he? At the end of yesterday’s chapter we saw that the father of Samson’s wife give her in marriage to the best man. In this chapter, he decides he wants his wife and goes to her. But her father tells him that she is another man’s wife now. So what does Samson do? He gets angry and destroys all of their wheat, in the middle of the harvest! Then the Philistine’s get mad and take over Judah. The people of Judah go to where Samson is hiding and they arrest him. When the Philistine’s began to celebrate, Samson broke free and killed 1,000 of them with the jaw bone of a donkey! He then prays to God, “You have accomplished this great victory by the strength of your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the pagans?” (15:18, NLT) God then gave him a watering hole from within the ground.
Anger seems to be a problem for the human condition. It can get the best of us and make us do some terrible things. I’m sure we could agree that Samson wasn’t entirely to blame for his setting the wheat on fire. His wife was taken from him. If my wife were taken from me, I’m sure I would do everything I could to get her back! But Samson’s anger brought the Philistine’s upon his people in Judah. When our anger is not in check, we can bring about worse situations.
There is a such thing as righteous anger, and it can be used for good. We have seen the story of Samson killing the 1,000 Philistines, but what about something else. It’s rare, but one of the accounts that all 4 gospels show is an account of Jesus becoming angry. It says in John, “And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the tem, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, ‘Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house will consume me.'” (John 2:14-17, NASB). Jesus got mad and cleared the temple from people treating it like a marketplace.
Anger can get the best of us. It can also be used as a tool to turn people towards God. I’m not saying to get mad at people that are not following God, we should always be kind and loving. However, on occasion, being kind and loving can mean getting angry. We must keep our anger in check. We do not want to turn people away from the glory of God. When our anger gets out of control, we can make a situation worse. Paul even mentions it in a list of things that work against the Spirit, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these…” (Galatians 5:19-21, NASB).
If you are easily angered, try taking a deep breath before you react and say a little prayer. Something as simple as “Lord, I am angry. Please help me to overcome and control my anger, before I make situations worse.” Anger is a tough thing to battle, but with the power of Jesus Christ and the grace of God, we can all overcome it.
Also in this series
Psalms to Pray: Psalm 73