Summer in the Psalms - Emotion: Anger - Sunday, August 22, 2021

As we continue in the sermon series, “Summer in the Psalms”, we swayed through happiness (Psalm 1), sailed to fear (Psalm 23), and now we slowly and rhythmically swing to the emotion of anger (Psalm 4).  Anger is an intense emotional state involving a strong, uncomfortable, and non-cooperative response to a perceived irritation, frustration, hurt, or stress.   Below, we have two examples of anger, one is factual, and one an enactment:

  1. Righteous Anger or Righteous Indignation – In Matthew 21:12 it is recorded when, “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there.” He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves by way of usury. His anger was pure and completely justified because at its root was concern for God’s holiness and worship.
  2. Dangerous Unprocessed Anger - “Pop it Open! Pop it Open, then!”  exclaimed, Hattie, one of the characters in Tyler Perry’s play, “Madea Gets a Job”.  We may laugh, but Hattie’s character exudes levels of unprocessed and unhinged anger from deep-seated issues of hurt and abandonment.  In any instance of irritation or confrontation she urges her opponent to and without provocation that she would uncap (Pop open) her shaken bottle of (Pepsi) anger and release the episodic bubbles of turbulent misbehavior.  If her anger were processed and under control she would see her option to leave the cap on the bottle and let it rest until it is completely mellowed.

Two very different scenarios, but the same emotion. Anger can help or hurt you, depending on how you react to it. If you can react without hurting someone else, it can be good. It’s useful when we need to protect ourselves and others, and it can motivate you to change things.

This week’s foundational scripture, Psalm 4:4 proclaims, “Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah” Here the Psalmist provides five (5) step-by-step instructions to be carried out  in a simultaneous sequence to appropriately process anger. These instructions, are not easily transitioned into, but with practice they will encourage the doer who stands in covenant relationship with God. The will also encourage the doer to trust and believe that God is an adversary to their adversaries (enemies), and know that God is for them. Truly, God has positioned us in greatness and will defend us.  

  1. BE ANGRY - you can get angry, but don’t let anger get you AND, (together, along with) 
  2. DO NOT SIN - don’t allow anger to present an occasion to sin (incur guilt or act contrary to God)
  3. MEDITATE WITHIN YOUR HEART ON YOUR BED, process your anger. Think about it in a place of safety, rest, and peacefulness AND (together, along with)
  4. BE STILL – don’t perform out of anger.  The best thing we can do when we’re angry is NOTHING! “If you don’t have anything good to DO, then DO nothing at all.”
  5. SELAH – pause.  That peace brokered from meditating and being still...take it in, breathe it, weigh it, reflect upon it and absorb it.

O that men would take the advice of this verse and commune with their own hearts. C. H. Spurgeon, an excerpt from, The Treasury of David.

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