DEALING WITH THE ROOTS OF ANGER
BY: TROY NICHOLS
If I were to ask how many of you reading this have a problem with anger, there would be some that would readily agree while others may readily disagree. With that said, I want to take you on a journey through the scriptures and see God’s thoughts on anger and how it plays a role in causing God’s people to live a life of defeat, frustration, discouragement, loneliness and even financial ruin if not dealt with and overcome.
CHARACTERISTICS OF ONE WHO HAS A PROBLEM WITH ANGER:
Temper tantrums – outbursts of anger – angry reaction to unfairness.
When someone else gets hurt, you will rush in with self-righteous anger to defend him or her.
When you express frustration over a circumstance that you have no power to change.
Continued inability to trust God and others. These will try and excuse such behavior by saying that others let them down.
Extreme sensitivity – touchiness – irritability.
Murmuring – complaining – gossiping – open to receive gossip and slander. If you find yourself frequently saying cutting remarks towards others.
Continually blame others when things don’t go your way and never examine yourself.
You defend your rights, your desires, and your possessions.
Many try and excuse their anger by calling it a righteous anger. However, if your anger is self-centered in anyway, it is not righteous at all.
We can see a picture of righteous anger in Mark 3:5 where it says, “And when he (Jesus) had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”
The anger being expressed here by Jesus was not a spiteful type of anger. It was an anger addressed towards their state of being, which was being hard-hearted. Jesus knew that they had advanced to a state of being in that nothing he could say or do would overcome the hardness in their heart. Simply being, if God didn’t intervene supernaturally, they would die in this state of being (See Rev 22:11).
If you will read on, you will see in Mark 3:6 that these hard-hearted people were so angry with Jesus for revealing their hypocrisy, weakening their influence and winning the hearts of the people that they wanted to destroy (kill) him. However, it is these very ones that Jesus looked down on in Luke 23:34 and said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
Principle: Anger is never lawful except it is reinforced with grief or compassion towards those that have offended. Eph 4:26 backs this up where it reads, “Be ye angry, and sin not.”
The wrath of God is as pure as the holiness of God. When God is angry he is perfectly angry. When he is displeased there is every reason he should be. We tend to think of anger as sin (and some anger is); but sometimes it is sinful not to be angry. It is unthinkable that God would not be purely and perfectly angry with sin.
The power and strength of being a Christian is not that they never get angry. The strength of a Christian is when they see unrighteous anger; they take it to the Lord in repentance and ask Him to uproot it.
A Christian is someone who is being transformed by having his or her mind renewed by the Word of God (See Ro 12:2). They don’t excuse their imperfections and flaws but trust in the Lord to help them to overcome them as they apply the Word of God in their areas of weakness.
When we talk about integrity, holiness, Godly character and then say that we can handle difficult situations or circumstances most of the time without getting angry, that is not alright in the sight of God. If you can bear it, the Lord purposes to make his body unoffendable. I know some would say that such a thing is not possible. Once again, we need to get a grip on our thinking and see what Gods’ word has to say.
Ps 119:165 Great peace have they, which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
The word love here in Hebrew speaks of a sexual love. This person therefore manifests their love for the Word not just by saying they love it, but by spending time with it and receiving it (seed) into their souls that they might bring forth fruit (the fruit of the spirit as can be seen in Gal 5:22-23) and live a life of peace in the midst of perilous times and circumstances.
Jesus is the word (Jn 1:14) and the prince of peace in Isa 9:6. Col 3:15 says, “Let the peace of God (Son of God) rule (decide, determine, govern) in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
John 14:23 says, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” The word keep in Greek means to guard from loss. I am reminded of David’s words in Ps 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Principle: If the Word of God doesn’t get from your bible into your heart, you will find areas in your life where you will fall short of the Glory of God on a consistent basis and thereby find yourself living a life of discouragement, frustration and despair.
I want to point out that David hid the word. But, before he hid it, he had to find it. Even so, the area in your life that you find yourself being overcome in is the area that you must be determined to find a word for and then hide that word in your heart that you might apply it and walk in victory.
With the above insight, we can now better discern those that love the Word of God. They will not only have a peace in their lives that passes all understanding (Php 4:7), but nothing they come up against or comes up against them will offend them (cause them to get angry and sin).
Jer 17:7-8 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
Hosea 6:4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
In light of these two verses, what is your walk with the Lord like? What kind of character do you reveal when things get heated up around you? Are you like a the tree that is planted by the river that doesn’t fail to yield fruit when the heat comes, a morning cloud that is blown away when the heat comes or the early dew which evaporates when the heat comes?
The word goodness is in reference to kindness, humility, faithfulness and merciful. Of a truth we see these characteristics in a Christian when everything is going good, but what happens to them when the heat comes or is turned up? Do these Godly traits suddenly blow away or evaporate right before your eyes?
Principle: The real test of your anger is not if you are free from it most of the time. The real test is; are you free from it when the heat comes or is turned up in your life or circumstance.
A man is about as big as the things that make him angry.
A fellow with the smallest mind is the one who is usually most willing to give someone a piece of it.
The more you grow up, the less you blow up.
Unspoken anger is never regretted.
The emptier the pot, the quicker it boils. Watch your temper.
The more often you lose your temper, the more you have of it.
When a man’s temper gets the best of him, it brings out the worst in him.
Every time you lose your temper you advertise yourself.
A temper displayed in public is indecent exposure.
Anger is one letter short of being DANGER!
How many of us can say that we get angry every once in a while? Well, if we can, that is a sign that we have a problem with anger. And though it may not seem to be a big problem to us, we shall learn from the Word of God just how big a problem it is as well as how much it can cost us in our walk with the Lord.
Anger is a reaction to an external event, when a right you have has been challenged or questioned.
Anger is the opposite of meekness.
One rendering of humility is a character in people that regards the words of another as more important and valuable than their own. For example, a Christian walking in humility values the Word of God higher than any other authority in their life. They thus come under the authority of another (God himself) and His word.
Pride is the opposite of humility. God resist (doesn’t help) the proud (James 4:6). However with humility, God will give you the grace to do whatever you need to do (James 4:6).
Grace is the unmerited love and favor of God toward mankind as well as divine influence acting in a person to make the person pure and morally strong. It is a special virtue, gift, or help given to a person by God.
An acronym for meekness is: M=mighty – E=emotionally stable – E=educable, (one that can be trained) – K=kind
Meekness is the reception of injuries with a belief that God will vindicate us (Ro 12:19).
Meekness comes from a heart too great to be moved by little insults. Thus, he that is constantly agitated; that allows every little insult or injury to throw him off his guard and to raise a storm of passion within is at the mercy of every person that chooses to disturb him.
Meekness is an active trust in Gods’ ability to take care of my life, my desires, my possessions and my rights.
Meekness is a response and it responds by taking your life, desires, possessions and rights and giving them over to God, trusting him to take care of them.
Meekness is built upon humility, thus you can’t have meekness without first having humility.
Meekness is so important, that it will affect every area of your spiritual life if you neglect it, as we shall see more clearly in this teaching.
Matt 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit (be partaker of) the earth.
The simple truth here is that you are blessed (well off, fortunate) if you are MEEK.
The meek shall inherit the earth. The word earth here is also translated land throughout the NT. This verse is quoted from Psalms 37:11 where the word earth is also translated land throughout the OT.
This land in the OT was in reference to the promise land or Canaan, a land that flowed with milk and honey, as well as fruit (See: Num 13:27).
Numbers 14:8 says that if the Lord delight in us, he will bring us into this land. Ps 18:19-20 says, “He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.” God delighted in David because instead of being an enemy to Saul, he was a friend to him. He dealt righteously with Saul while Saul dealt unrighteously with him.
David was obeying Mt 5:44 before it was written which reads, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Isa 1:19 says, “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” David was obedient; God delighted and brought him into the land. Selah
Ezekiel 20:15 shows us that this land was the glory of all lands, or the choicest part on earth. We who live in the NT are not looking for a literal piece of land to inhabit for we are coming to understand the natural pointed to something spiritual which was to come.
We can see this spiritual land in Isa 62:1-4 where it reads, “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou (people) shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah (means my delight is in her), and thy land Beulah (also translated dominion over us in Isa 26:13): for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.”
I submit to you with the above insight that the land flowing with milk and honey in the OT pointed to a land or body of people in the NT whose head is Christ out of whom will flow milk and honey (Word of God – 1 Cor 3:2, Heb 5:12, 1 Pt 2:2, Ezek 3:3).
We, the body of Christ are under the dominion of Christ our head and his delight is in us. His body shall be the glory of all lands (people). People shall come from the north, south, east and west to be in the midst of such people. Selah
Zech 8:20-23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
While there are historical references in these verses, there is a prophetic overtone also as can be seen by the scriptures below.
Gal 4:22-26 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Rev 21:9-10 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
Heb 12:22 But ye are come (present tense, imperfect tense which is ongoing) unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Rom 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
2 Cor 6:16-18 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Matt 23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name (authority and character) of the Lord.
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear (lift up) my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
ILLUSTRATION ON MEEKNESS:
For a number of years, until her death in 1976, I worked off and on with Kathryn Kuhlman as a writer. Although Miss Kuhlman was very sensitive to criticism, she never let it deter her from her goal. Instead, she used it to help her get there–always seeming to make the very best out of even the harshest criticism. Shortly after she went on nationwide television with her weekly program, she received a letter from a public school official in the little town of Iredell, Texas. “I love you and love your program, he wrote. “It would have been much better, however, if you didn’t have to spend so much time tugging at your skirt trying to pull it down over your knees. It was really distracting. Why don’t you wear a long dress instead?” Kathryn read the letter. “You know, he’s right,” she said to her secretary. She never wore another street-length dress on her TV program. A lesser person would have responded with anger, or passed it off as just another senseless remark. But she was not that sort of lesser person. She heard. She coped. She let it help her toward her goal of communicating. All of which was possible because there was no root of bitterness to give a bad taste to everything that came into her life, which presented another viewpoint.
James 1:19-21 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (See other translation below for these verses)
James 1:19-21 Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
How many of you can say that you have been quick to hear, quick to speak and quick to anger? In fact, you were so quick at times that you didn’t allow the other person to finish what they were saying before you jumped in with anger.
Anger as we have learned is a reaction to an external event, when a right you have has been challenged or questioned.
The word wrath in James 1:19 is also translated anger in Eph 4:31 where it reads, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Another translation reads, “Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk.
Note the words, “be put away” in Eph 4:31. The words be put away is also translated, “TAKE UP” in Matt 16:24 where it reads, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Principle: To put away bitterness, wrath, anger and evil speaking is to take up your cross in that area of your life and see yourself dead unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Ro 6:11).
Consider the thoughts of God on the following page in regards to being slow to wrath or anger:
Ps 103:8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
One that is quick to anger misrepresents the character of God.
Prov 14:29 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit (easily irritated) exalteth folly (a lack of good sense).
Another translation reads, “Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding; a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.”
Prov 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
It is much easier to subdue an enemy without than an enemy within. If you can hear it, our main enemy is EN-E-ME and not the devil.
Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
We can look at this list and without hesitation preach that adultery, fornication, murders and drunkenness will keep you out of the Kingdom of God.
However, we are slow and or fail to mention spiritual adultery (having an affair with world – See Ja 4:4) or adultery by lusting after another woman (I recently saw a book in the Christian bookstore in the marriage section titled “Internet affairs”), hatred (hostility), variance (quarrels), emulation (jealousy), wrath (anger), strife and seditions (divisions) will keep you outside of the Kingdom just as well.
For those that would like to know what the Kingdom of God is really like, just see a realm in which a people walk and live in the spirit, void of the works of the flesh (Ga 5:16).
The word do in Galatians 5:21 literally means to perform repeatedly or habitually. These that are repeat offenders if you will shall not inherit (come into) the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is not only a reality in the future; it is a present reality. I say that to say this, those that walk after the flesh repetitiously are in danger of missing out on the Kingdom of God, both now and in the future. Selah
The Kingdom of God is a present reality (Mt 3:2, 23:13). The Kingdom (realm) of God (spirit) is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Ro 14:17).
The first sign of one entering into the Kingdom of God by experience and revelation is that they will begin to cease ruling their lives and will give their lives over to Jesus and he will govern their lives and direct their footsteps. Following this, you will see a peace that passes all understanding begin to manifest in this one and because of that peace, their countenance will reveal that they have been in the presence of the Lord because they will be full of joy (Ps 16:11).
The unrighteous (those habitually walking in sin – refusing to do what is right) shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Those that are walking after the flesh (doing what is not right or righteous), and thus manifesting the works of the flesh will be discerned for they will lack two things.
One, they will lack the peace of God within. Because they will lack peace, it will be commonplace for them to be on edge. Their minds will be in turmoil (state of confusion and agitation).
Two, because they lack the peace of God within, they will manifest no joy without. Simply being, this person is very miserable (unhappy, uncomfortable, distressed, suffering, tormented) within. If you hang around this person long enough, you will see some of these attributes come forth.
With this insight, is there hope for such a person? The answer lies in the word as can be seen below.
Ps 119:9-11 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (See other translation on the next page)
Ps 119:9-11 How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed and keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to it].
With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments. Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
As you hear the Word and receive the word, you become cleansed. We can see this in John 15:3 where it reads, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
You can hear that there is soap in the shower, but if you don’t apply that soap, you will leave the shower just as dirty as you were when you entered it.
The Psalmist hid the word in his heart that he might not sin against God.
Principle: The amount of word that you have within your heart will determine the degree of righteousness that you walk in. And, the less word you have in your heart, the more you will manifest unrighteous behavior in your daily walk. Thus, the way we live and act lets those around us walking in the spirit and understanding easily discern our hearts as well as what fills our hearts.
Remember that the Psalmist hid the word in his heart that he might not sin against God. I am reminded of Matt 25:40 which reads, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” The principle being, when you hide the word in your heart, you will not only refrain from sinning against God, but you will refrain from sinning against those around you (leaders, brethren, family, neighbors, co-workers, employers).
A Bible that’s falling apart probably belongs to someone who isn’t.
A real book is not one that we read, but one that reads us.
Once you and I are face to face with the Word of God. . . we can only accept or reject it. Jesus becomes the two-edged sword that cuts right down the middle, dividing us into believers and nonbelievers.
Sin will keep you from this book. This book will keep you from sin.
When you read God’s Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, “It is talking to me, and about me.”
I know the Bible is inspired because it inspires me.
James 1:19-21 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Meekness is an active trust in Gods’ ability to take care of my life, my desires, my possessions and my rights.
One English rendering of meek is patient and mild; not inclined or prone to anger or resentment.
Have you ever wondered why you could read the Word or listen to the Word preached and yet it never penetrates your being and takes root like it should?
If you answered yes, consider this text with me for a moment. We can look and see two prerequisites for receiving the Word of God and thus acquiring salvation in the area that we need deliverance as well as taking on the nature and character of God in that area of our life. One, there is a laying aside of some things that have come between you and God. Two, there is a change of attitude (repentance) that must take place.
The principle is simple, if you refuse to lay those things down that you have allowed to come between you and God and refuse to change your attitude, you will find yourself wasting away spiritually while sitting, (even though you may be sitting under valid ministry) due to your heart becoming hardened.
We can see a picture of this in Judas. Simply being, he sat under Jesus ministry and died under Jesus ministry because he would not lay aside greed.
Note that James said to lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word. This word engrafted is a word whose property (capability) it is to root itself like a seed in the heart.
I trust you see that there are some things that you can permit in your life that will actually hinder the word of God from doing what it is designed to do within you (which is to produce the nature and character of God).
Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Matthew states, “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended (Mt 13:20-21)
Mark states, “And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away (Mk 4:5-6).
The backdrop here is a shallow ground with a layer of rock just under the surface. This type ground speaks metaphorically of a shallow Christian with a hardened heart.
The rocky person will endure until tribulation (pressure) or persecution comes because of the word they received into their heart. Simply put, they will love the word till it begins to press them in areas of their lives that need to be changed and then they will get offended at the word (and or the one delivering the word) and eventually begin to withdraw or fall away from God.
The rocky person after hearing the word will spring up quickly. The principle being, they will seem to have received the word and deliverance but will suddenly find themselves down and out shortly thereafter.
Note that when the sun was up, it was scorched and because it had no root, it withered away. You will know these that have no root when the SON RISES upon them for they will not be able to stand up under the HEAT!
Revelation: If you are rooted in Christ, you will be rooted in water and when the SON (word) RISES upon you, that water will be drawn through you and will cleanse and refresh you.
You will find it hard to draw life from the rocky person for they are very shallow. Though outwardly they seem to be joyous, as you begin to come into their life through fellowship, you will hit rock (hardness) just under the surface.
Question: How does ones heart become hardened?
Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
We can see a powerful principle in this verse in that one sets themselves up to be deceived and overcome by sin when they withdraw from Godly fellowship on a daily basis. For example; have you ever got around someone that you knew walked closed to God and suddenly you had an urge to change some things in your walk with God for the better. Well, what would happen if you were in constant fellowship with such a person? Your chances of being deceived and caught up into sin would decrease dramatically.
Dan 5:20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed (to remove from office or power) from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:
Pride will cause ones heart to become hard in time and therefore hinder them from receiving the engrafted word of God into their hearts.
Prov 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
The neck speaks metaphorically of a rebellious spirit as can be seen in Psalms 75:5 where it reads, “Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.”
When the word comes to you in the form of correction and you reject it, you begin the process of hardening of your heart. The more you rebel, the harder your heart becomes. The danger of this is you can find yourself in a place without remedy. I wouldn’t want to be in such a place.
Zech 7:9-14 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words, which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts: But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, which no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.
Before I show you some powerful truths and principles from this text, I want to first point out what it was that Gods people refused to listen to and even pulled away from and in doing so, they hardened their heart.
One, execute true judgment. We can see a picture of true judgment in
John 8:15-16 where Jesus said, “Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.”
Two, every man shew mercy and compassion to his brother. Simply being, be kind and forgiving. I am reminded here of Eph 3:19 which reads, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” If the love of God passeth knowledge, the only way one can know it is to EXPERIENCE IT! When one truly experiences the love of God, they will have no problem shewing mercy and compassion to anyone and everyone.
Three, oppress not the widow, fatherless, strangers or poor. Jer 7:6-7 says, “If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.” We are looking at this verse now through New Testament eyes and therefore it speaks to us in principle as follows; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this local assembly, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in the realm of my spirit, in the promises that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
Four, let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. I am reminded here of Prov 6:16-19 which reads, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination (disgusting) unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
We can see a picture of imagining evil against a brother in Jer 18:18 where it reads, “Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite (translated kill in Ge 4:15) him with the tongue (See Pr 18:21), and let us not give heed to any of his words.” This ties in with I Jn 3:14-15 which reads, “We know that we have passed from death (realm) unto life (realm), because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death (realm). Whosoever hateth (feel animosity or hostility) his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
Note in Zechariah 7:11 that Gods people refused to pay attention to what God was speaking and therefore pulled away their shoulder and shut their ears and in doing so, they made their heart as an adamant stone. The act of pulling away the shoulder came from the beasts of the field refusing to bear the yoke that was being placed upon their shoulders. In this scenario, Gods people pushed away from them the yoke of obedience and the Lord therefore laid on them the yoke of oppression. God broke their hard hearts with judgment. The principle being, hard hearts must expect hard treatment. The harder the heart, the harder the blow of the hammer to break it (See Jer 23:29).
We can a picture of this yoke of obedience in Matt 11:28-30 where it reads, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek (gentle) and lowly (humble) in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Because Gods people refused to hear God when he cried out to them, he let them reap the harvest of that which they sowed. Simply being, when they cried out to the Lord, the Lord did not hear them. This would be a good place to stop and take spiritual inventory in your life. Are you pulling your shoulders away from God?
It is bad enough to know that the Lord is not listening to you. Now we see in Zech 7:14 that he scattered his people among all the nations whom they knew not. You don’t know how good the people around you are until you are removed from them and placed amongst strangers.
This message though weighty as it may be does have a happy ending. You will note also in Zechariah 7:14 that their land was desolate after them, and that no man passed through nor returned. The history here is that God reserved this land for them for seventy years. The number 70 speaks of restoration in the bible. The principle being, no one can take your place in God. Selah
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when (translated that throughout NT) the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (See other translations below for this verse)
Now change your mind and attitude to God and turn to him so he can cleanse away your sins and send you wonderful times of refreshment from the presence of the Lord.
Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you.
DEALING WITH THE ROOTS OF ANGER, Parts 1-4 [Troy Nichols] 1