BECAUSE THEY DID NOT CONTROL THEIR ANGER (UNABRIDGED)
This is what the LORD says:
“For three sins of Edom,
even for four, I will not relent.
Because he pursued his brother with a sword
and slaughtered the women of the land,
because his anger raged continually
and his fury flamed unchecked,
Anger is an instant reaction to being wronged. We were designed to get angry. The anger in us was not designed to last forever. There is a point where anger is a natural reaction. There is another point where anger is no longer a natural reaction, but a personal effort to sustain animosity. This is what God is opposed to, anger that is unnatural. Vendetta, a prolonged feud or quarrel against opponents. When families or communities or nations have a doctrine of revenge against others for sins that were long ago committed against them. For this kind of anger, God promises to punish Edom in our text today. Because they did not control their anger!
The book of Amos shows the universal justice of God. It may seem from a casual study of scripture that God is only concerned about what goes on in Israel. The book of Amos particularly the first chapter, reminds us that God is the God of the whole world and He cares about what happens everywhere. In Amos chapter one, God tells the various nations that He is going to punish them for their various sins which the prophet lists. God has a record for each nation and individual, whether they acknowledge Him or not. God remains God, whether you listen to Him or ignore Him, He holds everyone accountable to Himself. God through the prophet Amos tells each nation how He will punish them, and for what exact sin. The phrase, “for three sins…even four” is a reference to many sins or multiple sins. Our text today is God’s message to Edom, the descendants of Esau. God accuses Edom of relentless anger against Israel. Because they did not control their anger!
Jacob and Esau were twin brothers born to Isaac the son of Abraham the father of faith. Jacob and Esau had a major disagreement when Jacob stole the birthright blessing from Esau. Jacob had to run away to his uncle for many years, but later returned home. The descendants of Jacob are known as Israel. The descendants of Esau are known as Edomites, or the people of Edom. When Israel left Egyptian slavery, Edomites refused to allow them a safe passage through their country, they still held a grudge against them. When Israel settled in the Promised Land, Edomites never assisted them wherever they had need or were attacked. In the book of Obadiah, God accuses Edomites for standing a loof as Israelites were being attacked. https://reikesis.com/2018/08/03/you-stood-aloof/. Therefore it is clear that Edomites had a permanent anger attitude against Israelites. It is for this reason that God promises in our text today, to destroy Edom. Because they did not control their anger!
We have several articles on anger on this blog, check the following, https://reikesis.com/2020/04/14/keep-off-hot-temper-and-the-hot-tempered/ . The Bible is very clear in several passages that anger needs to be controlled. Edom is punished in our text today for relentless anger. Because they did not control their anger!
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
Are you angry against someone or some people and you don’t want to let it go? God will punish you for this very reason. God understands when we are offended. God expects us to react angrily when we are offended. God even expects a limited retaliation, but God is completely opposed to relentless anger. God has made it clear in scripture that revenge belongs to Him and not us, Romans 12:19. Permanent cultivated enmity, that keeps retaliating for things which should have long ago been settled, is against God’s will. For this attitude, God punished Edomites. Because they did not control their anger!
What anger haven’t you let go? A spouse you divorced with? A parent who did not support you? A father who mistreated your mother or vice versa? A man who did not accept responsibility for the pregnancy? A business partner who killed your dream? A teacher or school official who was unfair while disciplining you? A neighbour who won a land case against you? A murderer who took the life of a loved one? A friend who snatched your boyfriend or girlfriend? The organisation that fired you? The boss who reprimanded you? The person who borrowed your money and hasn’t paid back? Whatever it is, God knows and expects you to be angry and somehow react, but not relentlessly. For relentless anger, God punished Edomites. Because they did not control their anger!
Anger must have an end and life goes on. Anger holds you back. Anger hurts you as much as it hurts the other person, and it even hurts you more many times. When anger is sustained for too long, even your faith weakens. Sustained anger is a rejection of the biblical teaching on forgiveness. With sustained anger you cannot pray the Lord’s prayer. With sustained anger, God will never forgive you, because His forgiveness is pegged on how you forgive others. With sustained anger, your church attendance and participation is a waste of time. No amount of baptism and re-baptism, can replace the need to let go of past anger. God destroyed Edom because they had sustained anger against Israel. Because they did not control their anger!
Forgiving and letting go, doesn’t mean everything is restored with the offender and thus putting you at risk again. Forgiving and letting go means, you have forgiven that particular past act and you have taken necessary precautions to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Forgiving and letting go means you can greet each other and help each other in times of need, if your past offender is in dire need. Forgiving and letting go means you no longer remind the person of their past mistakes, because that renews hostility and we wouldn’t want God to remind us our sins. Forgiving and letting go means you can someday laugh about it and testify how, though you were offended God came through to save you. Forgiving and letting go means you won’t celebrate and do nothing when you can do something, when your past offender is being punished or is suffering. Forgiving and letting go means you won’t enlist others to hate your past offender, by sharing the offence stories in a manner to win them in your anger against him/her. This is why God punished Edom. Because they did not control their anger!
Dear God save me from uncontrolled and sustained anger that i have cultivated for long. In Jesus name, Amen!