Sun, Dec 01, 2013

Anger!: Amos 1:1-12

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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AMOS 1:1-12

Please turn in your Bibles to Amos chapter 1 this morning. And as you are turning there, listen to this true story of Gilbert and Sullivan:

The names of Gilbert and Sullivan are well known by all lovers of music. They produced 14 operas together in the period from 1871 to 1896. Gilbert’s words allied to Sullivan’s music produced magic.

The tragedy, however, is that the two men detested each other. The problem arose because Sullivan ordered some carpet for the theater they had bought, and when Gilbert saw the bill he hit the roof. Neither could control his temper, and the two battled it out in court. They never spoke to one another again as long as they lived.

When Sullivan wrote the music for a new production, he mailed it to Gilbert. When Gilbert wrote the words, he mailed it back to Sullivan.

Once they were forced to be together during a curtain call, but they stood on opposite sides of the stage and bowed in different directions so they wouldn’t see each other.

They knew how to make beautiful music, but they knew nothing about harmony.

Robert J. Morgan, Stories, Illustrations & quotes, p. 31

What a tragic story, and yet, similar stories are taking place in the lives of people around the world. Anger, bitterness takes a foothold in people and it grows to the point of being manifested in the actions of these people. And even worse, many Christians allow anger and bitterness to destroy relationships between family and friends. And I am hear to tell you, that should not be taking place!

In our study this morning we are going to be looking at Amos chapter 1. And in Amos chapter 1 God is going to pronounce His judgment upon 5 gentile nations for their actions. And God is going to call a man named Amos to do the work. His name means "burden" or "Burden Bearer." His name truly reflects his mission. And we are told that Amos was a herdsman or a shepherd. And the word that is used for "shepherd" speaks of managing or owning large herds of sheep and goats, and also being in charge of other shepherds. Amos also cared for sycamore-fig trees, but now God is going to call him into ministry for a short period of time, in the year 762 BC.

This morning we are going to focus on the fourth nation that will be judged by the Lord, the Edomites. And we will be looking at verses 11 and 12 of Amos chapter 1 this morning. So with that said, let’s read through those verses and see what the Lord has for us this morning.

AMOS 1:11-12

That phrase, "For three transgressions...and for four" speaks of the completeness of their sin, of their transgression. I tend to look at it like this, three plus four equals seven, the number of completeness. And thus, the cup of Edom’s sin is full and God is going to judge her for that. The main sin of Edom was their anger towards Israel, their brother, which lead to a perpetual hostility towards them and was manifested in the way they treated Israel.

How did this all transpire? Why was Edom so angry at Israel? Believe it or not, this ancient rivalry got its start in the womb of Rebekah, as she carried twin boys, Esau and Jacob. And as it was time for Rebekah to deliver, Esau came out first, he was the oldest, but Jacob, not wanting to lose, grabbed hold of Esau’s foot. But, Esau was the oldest, Jacob was not!

Now the rule in those days was the oldest son was to receive the blessing of the birthright and the blessing that the father would pass on to his son, in this case it was the Abrahamic Covenant. But, before they were born, God spoke to Rebekah, for she was concerned about the pregnancy, for these two boys even fought in the womb. And God said to Rebekah"...‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger." Genesis 25:23. The key of course is the older is going to serve the younger, the birthright and the blessing would go to Jacob.

Now Esau, as he grew, was not concerned about his spiritual heritage. Thus, one day as Esau came in from hunting, he was starving and Jacob was cooking up some stew, and he offered it to Esau if he would give to him his birthright. And Esau didn’t even think twice, he gave his birthright to Jacob, selling it to him for a bowl of stew!

As the years passed by, Isaac, their father grew old and it was time to pass on the blessing to the eldest son. Now Isaac loved to eat the game that Esau hunted, and that was Isaac’s request, before he gave the blessing, he would partake of this meal. So Esau went out to hunt, and Rebekah heard all that was about to take place.

So she told Jacob to gather some goats and she would prepare a meal for Jacob to bring to his father. But, because Isaac’s eyes were bad, Jacob was going to disguise himself to be Esau so he could get the blessing. And Isaac was fooled and we can pick-up the story in Genesis chapter 27, beginning in verse 26, which says "Then his father Isaac said to him, ‘Come near now and kiss me, my son.’ And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said: ‘Surely, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed. Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be those who bless you!" Genesis 27:26-29.

And as the blessing was finished, and Jacob left the tent of his father Isaac, in walked Esau with his meal. The problem was that Isaac already ate, he was fooled, and now it was too late, the blessing had been given and we read in verse 41 of Genesis chapter 27, "So Esau hatedJacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’ And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, ‘Surely your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran. And stay with him a few days, until your brother's fury turns away, until your brother's anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereaved also of you both in one day?" Genesis 27:41-45.

Those few days at his uncle Laban’s house lasted 20 years, and during that time Rebekah died, and Jacob did not, nor could he come home because of the hatred that Esau had for him. Finally, after those 20 years, Jacob started back home with his family, and word got back that Esau was coming to meet them with 400 men. But for now, Esau greeted his brother, but they still didn’t trust each other. Their final meeting was at the funeral of their father where we read

"So Isaac breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people, being old and full ofdays. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him." Genesis 35:29. They buried their father but not their bitterness!

Then, years down the road, as the children of Israel are making their way to the Promise Land, we read beginning in Numbers chapter 20, starting in verse 14, "Now Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. ‘Thus says your brother Israel: "You know all the hardship that has befallen us, how our fathers went down to Egypt, and we dwelt inEgypt a long time, and the Egyptians afflicted us and our fathers. When we cried out to the LORD, He heard our voice and sent the Angel and brought us up out of Egypt; now here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your border. Please let us pass through yourcountry. We will not pass through fields or vineyards, nor will we drink water from wells; we will go along the King's Highway; we will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory."’ Then Edom said to him, ‘You shall not pass through my land, lest I come out against you with the sword.’ So the children of Israel said to him, ‘We will go by the Highway, and if I or my livestock drink any of your water, then I will pay for it; let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.’ Then he said, ‘You shall not pass through.’ So Edom came out against them with many men and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory; so Israel turned away from him." Numbers 20:14-21.

For some 600 years the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, let that anger, that bitterness grow until now, as the children of Israel ask to pass through their land, and they refused to let them.

We can move on another 800 years or so, to the time the Babylonians came against the Southern Kingdom of Judah. And that anger, that bitterness against the Jews by the Edomites still remained. In Obadiah 10-14 we read "For violence against your brother Jacob, shameshall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. In the day that you stood on the otherside-- in the day that strangers carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem-- even you were as one of them. But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress. You should not have entered the gate of My people in the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those among them who escaped; nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained in the day of distress."

They brought violence against the Jews. They bought some Jews as slaves. They rejoiced over the captivity of the Jews. They mocked the Jews during these times. They even prevented those Jews who tried to escape from the Babylonians from passing by them and those they captured they handed over to the Babylonians. And as we read of these things we can’t believe the things they are doing, over an incident that happened so long ago. And this was family also. And yet look at your own life. Who have you cut off? Who have you mocked? Who have you rejoiced over their failure? Anger is a monster that can grow out of control if we let it!

This may not be an easy study to hear, but I do believe it is one we all need to hear. You may not agree with everyone, and you won’t agree with everyone, but that should not cause anger to grow or divisions to occur, one side against another. I hate to tell you this, but I will any way. Those people in the body of Christ you can’t get along with now, that you are bitter or angry with, you better deal with it now because you are going to have to spend eternity with them!

In II Chronicles chapter 28, the Southern Kingdom of Judah is being judged for her wickedness, first by the Syrians, and then by the Northern Kingdom of Israel. And Israel was brutal against their brethren to the south, killing 120,000 in one day in Judah, taking captive 200,000 women, sons and daughters plus much spoil and carrying them all away to Samaria. And they were pretty smug about what they had done, and in II Chronicles 28:9 we are told"But a prophet of the Lord was there whose name was Oded, and he went out to meet the army that was returning to Samaria and said to them, Behold, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, He delivered them into your hand; but you have slain them in a fury that reaches up to heaven." The Amplified Bible.

This prophet nails them for their actions and their attitude. They saw themselves as better than Judah, and thus, they let them have it, thinking that God was on their side. In reality, God says their wrath, their anger against the Southern Kingdom of Judah has come before God, it is not pleasing to Him.

We must also be careful in how we handle situations. When you speak, when you have to correct someone, you need to do it in love and temper it with mercy. Do not go up to someone with a "holier than thou" attitude because the reality is, we are all sinners saved by grace. And understand the purpose is not destruction, but restoration. We are in the body building business, not "pump you up" with muscles, but in love, encouraging people to walk with the Lord.

James hits this issue on how we speak really hard. It gives us a correct perspective of things that we need to remember when we talk to people or about people. He said "But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out ofthe same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to beso." James 3:8-10. That is a hard one to swallow, and I guess before we speak, we need to think about what we are going to say!

I love what the Psalmist said, I just wish I would remember it more often. In Psalm 37:8 David said "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret-- it only causes harm." Anger causes harm with relationships and within yourself. I like to watch people because I think you can learn a lot about them. And one thing I have noticed is angry people don’t smile much, they are short with their answers, there is no joy in their life. I can’t imagine living like that, and yet we all descend into that abyss from time-to-time. Be careful, be aware of what you are saying before you say it. If someone is making you mad, pray before you speak, it will help.

In fact, that is what Proverbs 25:28 tells us, we need to have control of ourselves. Solomon said "Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls."If you fly off the handle frequently, or at all, the Lord is saying you are like a broken down city with no walls for protection, you are falling apart. Your life and those that you have affected is a mess because of your anger, your loss of control. Now I have heard some people say, "I just couldn’t control myself!" That is ridiculous. If you are not controlling yourself, then who is? You just refuse to take control, to be responsible for your actions!

In Ephesians 4:26-27 Paul tells us "‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil." Now I do like that because Paul recognizes that at times we will be angry. The hard part is Paul tells us "do not sin." Isn’t that the whole thing about being angry, getting back at the other person? Not at all! Paul tells us to deal with the anger before it grows inside of you and reaches a point where it will boil over into actions, the way you treat others, into sin. If you are angry with someone, deal with it before the sun goes down!

Now some don’t like that. They feel they have every right to be angry at someone for the way they have been treated, for what that person did to them. I’m here to tell you that you are wrong! If you don’t deal with it you are going to give the Devil an opportunity to use that anger in a destructive way, and I’m sure we can all relate to that!

Charles R. Swindoll put it this way when he said:

Anger won’t fix a flat tire or a dirty diaper. I remember reading about an eagle that swooped to the ground one day, catching a weasel in its powerful talons. But when it flew away, its wings inexplicably went limp, and it dropped to the ground like a lifeless doll. As it turned out, the weasel had bitten its attacker in mid flight, killing the proud eagle as it flew. If we cling to an attitude of anger or jealousy, it will, like the weasel, sink its teeth into us when we least expect it.

Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale Of The Tardy Oxcart, p. 33

Yes there is a righteous anger towards those that come against the Lord, but, for the most part, our anger is the result of someone coming against us and what we are doing. In fact, anger is not a fruit of the Spirit as some would like to think, but it is a work of the flesh!

Anger is a problem today, from road rage and beyond. And many people have come up with ways to deal with this problem of anger. Some say you need to count to 10, or if need be, to 100! Others say just walk away or ignore them. Still others say you need to fight back, that will help you get rid of your anger. But the reality is, there is only one way to deal with anger and that is told to us in the book of Exodus, as the children of Israel are leaving Egypt and traveling through the wilderness.

In Exodus 15:22-25 we read "So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them. And there He tested them."

Here is the thing. The children of Israel were thirsty and the waters they came to were bitter, they couldn’t drink from them, and it made them angry. So Moses came before the Lord and the Lord told him to place a tree in the middle of those bitter waters and they will be made sweet!

Now how in the world does that apply to us today? If I go and cut down a tree when I’m mad not only will my neighbors be mad, but there won’t be any trees in Manitowoc! Think of it this way and I think you will understand what the Lord is showing us here.

When life gets bitter, when we become angry with others for what they have done or what we perceive they have done to us, place the cross into those bitter waters, give it to Jesus and then rest in that. You are not going to make everyone your best friend or your closest friend, but if you don’t give the anger to the Lord, put the cross right into the middle of that situation, that anger will grow until there is an explosion and hurt feelings. Lives can be destroyed, relationships broken. There is nothing wrong with talking with someone about something that has caused a problem, but there does come a time where you need to let it go and give it to the Lord.

It is interesting to me, this story in Exodus, because God says it was a test for the children of Israel, and I think it is a test also for us. What are you going to do with that anger, let it grow or let it go? Paul said in Colossians 3:8-11 "But now you yourselves are to put off all these:anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to oneanother, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new manwho is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all." You need to put anger off, for you are a new creation in Christ, He is in you, and thus, this new nature should be reflected in the things you do, the things you say.

God was going to judge the Edomites for their anger they allowed to grow which caused them to tear at the Jews, ripping them apart. We saw in the story of Gilbert and Sullivan how these two talented men let anger grow to the point where they never spoke to one another again!

This morning, I am encouraging you, challenging you, if you have allowed anger to get in the way of a relationship, that you deal with it now before the sun goes down, before destruction comes, and it will. If there is a friend, a family member that you haven’t spoken to in a long time because you are mad at them, call them. Resolve the conflict. I am not saying you have to agree with everything, but love them, heal those relationships while you have the chance.

I see this happen far too often in the hospital where I work. Family members that have not spoken to each other in years, and in the end, because of death, they never get the chance. Don’t make the same mistake. Instead of being concerned that you are right and they are wrong, be concerned about building them up, encouraging them. For those that know the Lord, keep them on track with the Lord in love. For those that don’t, point them to Jesus in love.

Let me leave you with these words from a short story titled "Together." It goes like this:

A man was walking in a wilderness. He became lost and was unable to find his way out. Another man met him, "Sir, I am lost, can you show me the way out of this wilderness?" "No," said the stranger, "I cannot show you the way out of the wilderness, but maybe if I walk with you, we can find it together."

Emery Nester, Stories for the Heart, p. 15

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