March 19, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Anger #2: Anger With God






     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites. 




#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)


Anger #2:

Anger With God

SCRIPTURE: 1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?” 3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” 4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 The LORD answered Moses, “Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Exodus 17:1-7)

DEVOTION: Why didn’t it rain?

     The spring in the woods was drying up. It was the source of water for five families that needed water to drink, to bathe with, to flush toilets, and to wash clothes. There was so little water available that showers were short, no clothes were washed and the toilets flushed rarely. Tenants carried drinking and cooking water from outside sources into their apartments.

     It was late summer, the driest time of the year. It was easy to blame God when the weather map never showed shower patterns Some people were telling me to drill a well for water that would be much poorer than this good spring water.

     When the water totally stopped flowing, I felt like I was at Meribah. Why did I ever build these apartments? Why did God open this door for me and leave me with these unhappy people?

     It’s easy to forget our blessings. God provided me with help. A good friend lined up a man with an earthmoving machine to build a dam in front of my spring to trap the small amount of water flowing from it. My friend loaned me a pump and generator to open up a pipe that had become plugged with silt from the dry spring. With their help we had plenty of water until the abundance of the rainy season came.

     Anger can stifle us, bringing us to a point where we resort to blaming God and rebelling against God. Trusting God and the kindness of those around us is the better solution. I don’t want my spring to be remembered as Meribah (testing God), as it was for the Israelites. A better name would be Grace (God’s kindness.)

Prayer: Loving God, it is easy to lay blame for all our difficulties at your door and become angry. Thank you for being a kind God that works in this world through those around us and ourselves if we open our hearts to you. Amen.


To read the previous devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Envy #2: Brotherly Envy

To read the following devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Lust #2: Jesus First



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