TO CHEW ON: "Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still." Psalm 4:4
What makes you angry? People who cut you off in traffic? People who make you wait? Rudeness? Young people? Old people? People who have different beliefs from yours in religion, in social customs, in politics?
There are probably, in each of our lives, dozens of flash points every day—places where we get rubbed against the grain and could easily erupt into anger.
Psalm 4:4 gives us one way to deal with anger [the word used here is ragas which means to tremble, quake, quiver, be agitated, perturbed, disquieted]. It is to meditate [amar: to say, speak, utter, think, command, promise] and be still [damam: be silent, still, struck dumb].
The picture is of someone who is still shaking mad at bedtime. Perhaps it's the psalmist himself. He does seem to be talking to himself here. Instead of lashing out—what he probably feels like doing—he answers his anger, thinks twice, and reasons himself into silence and stillness.
Here are some more places Bible writers speak of dealing with anger. Let's notice the actions words:
"Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm" - Psalm 37:8.
"He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty
And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city" - Proverbs 16:32.
"But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath…" Colossians 3:8.
"But then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" - James 1:19.
Do you see the common thread that runs through all these verses? There's a sense that this is something over which we have control. We can rein ourselves in. We don't have to let anger run away with us and take us to that hot speech, door banging, pot throwing place. Why? As David reminds us, anger only causes harm and God has us and our situation in hand: "…put your trust in the Lord. … For You alone, O LORD make me dwell in safety" - Psalm 4:5,8.
PRAYER: Dear God, please heighten my awareness of things that anger me. Help me to rule my spirit with Your Spirit. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.