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Don’t Sin By Letting Anger Control You
“Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.”
Psalms 4:4 NLT
Barb and I often play the mental game of “what advice would you give to yourself as a teenager?” There is so much wisdom gained in living a long life, often through years of making the same mistakes over and over again…
One thing I would tell the skinny 1970s teen Steve is “since you’re not smart enough to believe in God, at least get copies of two Bible books — Psalms and Proverbs — read them, and take the advice to heart”. Today’s verse is a short one from Psalms containing a lesson that could save many relationships and end a lot of violence.
David, the great Biblical figure and third King of a United Israel, had many reasons to be angry. His nation was overflowing with ungodliness. Despite his anger, he knew that he should not sin as a result. Instead, he sought comfort and guidance in meditation before the Lord.
Now, this isn’t the type of eastern meditation that has been popular for the past fifty years or so. Eastern meditation seeks to empty the heart and mind, leaving them wide open for deceptive spirits (also known as the enemy). At one point in our desert years away from Christianity, Barb and I spent a day at a Buddhist center in a fruitless attempt to “bring spirituality” to our lives. What we found while trying to meditate was that our brains and hearts are not made to be emptied, so they were immediately filled with other thoughts and feelings… not all of them good.
I don’t regret that tiny exposure to Buddhism, as it demonstrated to me the futility and hopelessness of looking inward toward oneself rather than outward to the one true God and our fellow humans.
So, what was the meditation that David was practicing overnight? Biblical meditation fills the heart and mind with God’s Word. It’s thought that the Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges and Ruth existed during David’s life (1040 - 970 BC), so there was much in terms of Biblical knowledge and wisdom that David could call on in his meditations.
David’s advice to “think about it overnight and remain silent” is timeless. How many times have you gotten into a disagreement about something and become really angry? My younger self loved to argue endlessly, even if I was on the wrong side of a disagreement! I’d stew about something or someone for days, lose sleep thinking about how wrong that other person was, and was generally miserable until I felt that I got my way.
I can’t truthfully say that I no longer get angry, but I do try to heed the advice of David that is at the heart of this psalm. When the aging, 21st-Century Steve is stewing over some point of contention, he keeps his mouth shut (usually), launches his Bible app prior to going to sleep, and searches for God’s guidance. Praying on that guidance before sleeping rests my soul and gives me control over the anger.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Lord, don’t let my anger cause me to sin and rebel against you! Remind me to consider others and think on Your Word before opening my mouth in anger. If it means turning away from others and studying Your Word overnight before responding, that is much better than surrendering to my emotions. Since my usual quiet time is at night in bed, let me use that time to focus on Your Word and consider a peaceful solution to all conflict. In the blessed name of Jesus I pray, AMEN.