Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise, The worries of my God and King, the triumphs of His grace. This is Listeria Bradley, Jr., welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. Listeria, why do the clouds hang low? Why does the sun no longer glow?
Why is my going so state and slow Over the sands of time? Through the dark skies, oh, let me see Glimmerings of eternity Owning a welcoming light for me Over the path divine Give us the courage to bear our cross Counting our life as home alone Sweeten the purging of every cross Bringing us forth as gold Tell us, oh Lord, the park not far Come in thy love right where we are Oh, for a gleam of that great day's star Shining within our soul Life is a tangle of toil and care Delves and dark tears so hard to bear Frighten our soul from its power of prayer When thou art far away Grant us through faith an open door Looking beyond this earthly shore Where the poor pilgrim will love no more In that eternal day As we've recently mentioned, our new website is up and we hope that you will visit it. That's baptistbiblehour.org. You will find sermons and articles available there.
And if you'd like to help with the support of the program, you can make a donation at the website. We've been bringing a series of messages on the subject of anger. We've already noted the fact that there is such a thing as righteous anger, but there is also sinful anger, and we've talked about what the scriptures say about how to get rid of that sinful anger and to conduct ourselves in an honorable way. And then we have moved on to talk about anger at God. We have actually read after some writers who have suggested that it is appropriate to be angry at God, that God understands, and you may feel free to express yourself and vent your anger toward God.
And already we have examined enough scripture to make it clear that no matter what the counselors of our time may advise, that such concepts are foreign to the Word of God. It is never right to maintain anger toward God. Why is it that people become angry at God? They frequently say, this situation that has touched my life is just not fair.
I just don't understand why this was allowed to happen. I see no reason for this. Now just because we fail to see the reason at that time, does that mean there is no reason? Does that mean that God is not mindful of our situation and that He has been so aloof from us that He hasn't been involved in our life?
Certainly not. Somebody says, my wife was sick, I prayed for her, but she died. And I'm angry at God. Someone else says, I worked hard on the job for many years.
I gave it my best. But unexpectedly, the plant closed down. I lost my job. Why did God let that happen? I've been going to church. I've been praying. I've been doing the very best I can. If God really cares for me, why did He let me lose my job?
A person may not come right out and say, I'm upset with the Lord, but the fact that they're so upset and they're angry, when they get down to the bottom line, it's often the case they are angry with God. A young wife says, I've been praying to have a child all my life. That's what I've dreamed about. I wanted to have several children, and I'm not able to have one. Why? I thought it was right to have children. I thought it was God honoring to have children.
Why is it some people have children and don't want them, and I want them and can't have them? And then people are angry at substitutes. Man is very bitter toward his wife, which the scriptures specifically say he ought not to be.
The woman is angry at her husband. Parents are angry at their children, children at their parents, and on the list goes. But when you get past the fluff, get beyond the surface, in many instances, the anger is really against God. If God is all powerful, if God is sovereign, if God is on the throne of the universe, then why doesn't He make my life smoother?
Why hasn't He done what I asked Him to do, and why didn't He do it on my timetable? You can see that to become angry at God under such circumstances is to ignore His sovereignty, forget who God is, knowing that God is on the throne of the universe, and He works His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest Thou? And our position is to be one of humility and submission and praise Him even when we don't understand.
That's going to be a significant part of the time. There are going to be a lot of things we're not going to understand. And if the only time you're going to praise God is when you clearly understand all that's happening, you're going to be angry more times than you're praising. Now in this particular part of our study, in talking about anger at God, we're looking at the cause, the cure, and the complaint. And we've already noted two biblical examples where individuals were very angry at God. The first one being Cain, the second one King David. David was doing what seemed to be a very worthwhile project. He was moving the ark of God.
The problem was he had not gone to God's Word to review what the procedure was to be. They were transporting it by cart. And when the oxen stumbled and the ark was ready to fall off, Uzzah, who was standing at hand, put his hand up to steady it, and God struck him dead.
You talk about having your parade rained on. That quieted things down considerably. The people had been shouting and singing and praising God and all of a sudden the march has ended. And David was angry.
But what was the real problem? David and the people had not done things God's way. See, we get in the frame of mind that we decide detail isn't important. If our bottom line is correct, if we want to do this for God, then does it matter how we get there?
Method isn't important. Well, it may not be to us, but it is to God. God had some specific regulations concerning the moving of the ark and some particular people that were authorized to do it and nothing else would work. Anything else was going to dishonor God. Well, we come to another example now, turning to the book of 2 Chronicles 16. Here we read about King Asa. Asa started out as a very good king.
He was one who honored God and God blessed him abundantly in his early reign. Now though, when we come to the 16th chapter, we read that Asa wants some help to stand against the king of Israel. So in verse 2, he's sent to Ben-Hadad, king of Syria. And he says, there is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father.
Behold, I have sent thee silver and gold. Go break thy league with Basha, king of Israel, that he may depart from me. Here the king of Judah, King Asa, is sending money so that Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria, will come and assist him in his battle against the king of Israel. Verse 7, And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa, king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.
That's the problem that we see here. This man Asa, who at other times has trusted God, who has done some very worthwhile things to God's honor, now in a moment of weakness forgets. Have you ever forgotten? Has there been a time in your life when you trusted God for everything, but there came a point where you decided God was moving slowly and you needed to help him out?
You surveyed the situation and you said things are not going well, I better bribe somebody to get on my side, I better do a little maneuvering here, I better have me a little scheme and plan of my own in case things don't turn out like I want it. Oh how sad to see men and women of faith forgetting God and relying upon their own plans and leaning upon the arm of the flesh, which the word of God clearly says will fail us. So the seer comes and approaches Asa and says here's a problem, you have not relied on the Lord thy God.
And he gives him some examples of past experience. Verse 8, Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubums a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand.
Look what your past experience has been. You have faced very strong enemies who had chariots and horsemen and it would have seemed impossible for you to overcome them. But the Lord delivered them into your hand.
Now you've forgotten all that. You decide I've got to hire out help from a heathen king to come to my assistance. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly, therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. What was the message of God to this king? Did God say, I'm going to overlook this situation, I know your intent was good, you really wanted to win the battle and I admire that, so I'm going to overlook what you've done. No. God says you have done foolishly and as a result you're going to have wars.
You're going to have problems that will follow you. Now how does Asa respond? Is he humbled? Is he repentant? Does he fall on his face before God and ask for forgiveness?
No. Then Asa was wroth with the seer and put him in the prison house for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. The king is angry. He's in a rage. He's beside himself. Who do you think you are anyway coming up here telling me, the king, that I am wrong?
Have you forgotten who's who around here? I am on the throne. I know what I'm doing. I've got a right to run my life the way I want to run it and run my kingdom the way I want to run it.
Have you ever been in that frame of mind when the flesh was overpowering and somebody came with the message of God to exhort you, to warn you, and you became angry? And you said this is my life. Who do you think you are coming to tell me my faults?
I'm an independent thinker. What right has the church to interfere or question or ask about the kind of life I'm living? Well, if you're a member of the church, it has every right because you have surrendered yourself through baptism to the lordship of Jesus Christ and say I'm no longer out here charting my own course.
I want to be submissive to the teaching of the word of God and live according to the disciplinary principles of the church. And oh, this king is in a rage. And you know, that's so often the case when people really get angry and upset. What's the problem?
They're guilty. You see? The seer hit the nail on the head. He brought a message that was God sent and it was for this man and it convicted him of his sin but instead of bringing about repentance, he was upset. He was disturbed. And he oppressed some of the people at the same time.
Here's this substitution. I'm really angry at the seer because ultimately I'm angry at God for sending me this message but I'm going to vent some of my anger and oppress the people. I'm going to make it tough on them. How sad to see that kind of behavior. A man comes home upset because it's been a bad day on the job and he oppresses his wife and his children. A mother is upset because she's had a bad day and she oppresses her children and her husband. People become upset because the road of life is rugged and they're going to take it out on this person, that person and the other.
Friends, it doesn't matter where your anger is directed. If it's sinful anger, it's displeasing to God and the more you vent it and let it take control of you, the greater your sin becomes. And behold the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. And Asa, in the thirty and ninth year of his reign, was diseased in his feet until his disease was exceeding great. Here's a man that had everything going for him. He was a king that at first honored God, did what was right in the sight of God. But now he makes his own plans, charts his own course. God sends the message to him and rather than being humbled by it, he's more determined, he's angry at the messenger.
And what's the result? He's diseased in his feet until his disease was exceeding great. Do you suppose that some of the diseases that people struggle with today may be a result of their intense anger toward God? Would you well know, I've never taken the position that every time somebody is sick, it means that the chastening rod is upon them. Sometimes the Lord in our afflictions is simply training us and teaching us some things we need to know, but it behooves us to search our hearts.
We pray that the Spirit of God assist us in that search to see if there is some evil way in us. He was diseased in his feet and sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians. Even when God touched him and he was afflicted and he was diseased in his feet, he sought to the physicians and not to the Lord. How many professed Christians today, when they do have problems, they're depressed, they're diswrought, they're confused, where do they go for help? To the Lord or to the physicians of this world?
To those who are offering man-made solutions, turning to the psychological approach instead of the biblical approach? You see that on every hand today. And Asa slept with his fathers and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.
What a sad ending for a man who started out so well, but he was self-willed and self-determined and he died an angry man full of disease. Oh friends, let it not be said of any of us that we are angry people. Let us follow the admonition of the Ephesian letter which we use for the text of this message. Be ye angry and sin not, let not the sun go down upon your wrath. If we find anger in our heart today, let's deal with it before sundown. Let's bring it before God and acknowledge it and ask for His forgiveness. The biblical principle is not vented, but repent of it.
Dramatic difference. The counselors of the day say, let it all out. Get your little teddy bear and beat the stuffings out of it.
Buy you an old set of dishes and break them up in little pieces and throw them in the river and scream and holler in the process. You'll feel better. God's word says, repent, not vent. Let's get back to biblical principles. So Asa was angry, was wroth, was in a rage at the messenger of the Lord and he put him in the prison house.
I'm thankful that I've never been put in the prison house as yet, but I think that a few people would have enjoyed seeing me go there. And I don't think that it was necessarily that they disliked me so much as they didn't like what I preached. That was the problem here. Asa didn't like the message. I don't want to hear that. I don't like that. Walk this fella up.
Get him out of my way. I'm not going to listen to that kind of preaching. Well, more and more of that attitude is seen in the world around us today. Man preaches something that's not popular. People say, get rid of him. I don't know what he's talking about.
Get him out of the way. So here is another case of a man being angry and the real basis of his problem was he had forgotten God. Rather than to ask help of God, rather than to depend upon the Lord as he had in previous victories, he charged his own course, made his own plans and he brings trouble and judgment and then he's angry because of the message that God sent him. Now in talking about those that are angry at God, we couldn't leave this subject matter with talking about our old friend Jonah.
You remember we studied his experience here on a verse-by-verse basis some time ago. Here's a prophet that the Lord sends on a mission. The Lord says, Jonah, go to Nineveh and preach. Preach that judgment is coming.
Call on the people to repent. Well Jonah wasn't happy about that. He didn't like the people that lived in Nineveh. They were ungodly people and we could say, well that was righteous indignation.
No, it was a little more than that. If it was righteous indignation, he would have been happy to have contemplated the possibility of them repenting under his preaching but Jonah went farther than to be concerned about their ultimate welfare and the real problem he had was he reasoned that if I go over there and preach, there is an outside possibility they might repent and if they do, knowing the Lord like I do, he's just apt to forgive them. So it's just too great a risk.
I just don't want to go. So he buys passage on the ship to go down to Tarshish and I tell you the Lord has a lot of ways of bringing around an attitude adjustment in our life. After three days and three nights in the belly of the great whale, he came out with a different outlook on things. Salvation is of the Lord, friends, from start to finish. Whatever kind of salvation you want to talk about, it's all of the Lord. He certainly knew that salvation from the whale's belly was of the Lord. And the Lord can take us down into the depths until the seaweed is wrapped around our head and we say, alright, Lord, I've learned the lesson, just point the direction and I'm already ready to move. I'm ready to go.
No matter what I may have said and what I have felt in the past, I'm ready to go. So Jonah did arrive, a little late and a little wet, but he does show up and here he is coming into Nineveh, a city of great wickedness. He didn't have any posters out on the bulletin board, he wasn't invited to the local talk show to attract attention, he just comes in the city, I'm sure, making a very unimpressive appearance saying, Repent, repent, repent, judgment's coming. And people just came out in throngs to hear him and the message got to the king and the king said, you know, we better listen to what this old man says. And perhaps we ought to humble ourselves and repent, and they did. Now you know, for most gospel ministers, that would just be the thrill of a lifetime. I made reference to this one time when I was preaching down in Barwick, Georgia. I said, I'd just be thrilled to death if all of Barwick repented.
I'd love to call back home and tell them up there in Cincinnati, I've had the most astounding trip of my life, the whole city of Barwick has repented. That wouldn't have been with about four dozen people, but I'd have been thrilled with that. But here is a metropolitan area in its day consisting of several thousand people and instead of Jonah rejoicing, he's upset. He's unhappy about this whole ordeal because he wanted to see God's wrath meted out. He wanted to see these people suffer for their sin. The book of Jonah, verse one of chapter four. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly and he was very angry.
He wasn't just disappointed, he was very angry. And he prayed unto the Lord and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish, for I knew that thou art a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness and repentance of the evil. Lord, I knew it. This is the very thing that concerned me to start with. I knew this is the way it was going to turn out.
Therefore now, O Lord, take I beseech thee my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live. You're talking about somebody that's upset. That's having a tantrum, folks. You've seen little two-year-olds that didn't get their way and they fell down to the floor in the middle of the store and they kicked and screamed and squalled. What's the problem?
They weren't allowed to have their way. But when you see a grown man who's a prophet having a tantrum in the presence of God, that's despicable. He says, I'd just rather die. Glad you've been with us today. Hope that you will pray that our needs will be supplied and if you would like to make a donation, you can go to our website at BaptistBibleHour.org. To greet you next time, this is for Sarah Bradley Jr. bidding you goodbye and may God bless you. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior, praising my Savior, praising my Savior all the day long.
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