When the Fire Waxes Hot

Michael Beck

“… Who is offended, and I burn not?” (2 Corinthians 11:29)

Things can and should matter to us very deeply. Paul burned when anyone was offended. But how we feel about anything should not be the final determiner of what we do. Our indignation may be righteous, while our actions are not.

The sons of Jacob were filled with grief and anger when they found out about Shechem’s rape of their sister. “And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; which thing ought not to be done.” (Gen. 34:7) There are many things we encounter in life that simply are not right. They “ought not to be done.” We do well to be angry. But God says: “Be ye angry, and sin not.” (Eph. 4:26) Dinah’s brothers not only killed Shechem for his actions, but they slaughtered all his kinsmen.

Anger should not have the final say in our life. Jesus is Lord. He has faced every grievous event we could ever face, and He always responded God’s way. The ways of God and the ways of man don’t match. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:9) The servant of the Lord must enquire of his Master how to respond to every situation he encounters. When his heart is overwhelmed with the strongest emotions he must go to God for wisdom and strength. “… When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Ps. 61:2)

We honor God when we seek and find His way of escape in the day of our trouble. Our prayer should always be: “Lord, what should this man do?” His answer will always be: “Do justly.” He will remind us not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. He will give us hind’s feet for all our high places. There will be no situation where we are overcome and driven to sin. He will always make us more than conquerors – for weakness He will give us strength, for folly He will give us wisdom, for shame He will give us glory.

When our emotions would move us into a path of our own making, we must learn to run to the Rock which is higher than we are. He will steady our heart. He will establish our goings in His way. He will keep our feet from falling. In the face of wrong it is right to be moved with anger; but before you move anywhere else in the haste and heat of your spirit, go to God. Find shelter in the secret place of the Most High. He will direct you aright from there. He may rev you back up, but only after He calms you down.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.