Wow, there’s a lot to be angry about these days.
Lawmakers are promoting harassment. Progressives of every stripe side with illegal immigrants over their own countrymen/women as well as those immigrants who are willing to spend the money and time to do things legally. Though the courts are slowly beginning to push back, we are still living among a large segment of the population who want religious freedom and expression driven out of the public eye. A week doesn’t go by without news of law enforcement officers being gunned down in cold blood while professional athletes disrespect the national anthem in the name of protesting police brutality. Universities across America have turned into progressive indoctrination centers with many even reintroducing segregation on campuses.
And the insanity of all forms of aberrant sexuality being foisted on everyone is especially maddening! Homosexuality, transgenderism, “theybies,” ridiculous (and dangerous) bathroom policies, all demanding acceptance. Dare to call any of that what it plainly is (nonsense, unhealthy, and perverse) and prepare to be lambasted as intolerant (which is itself the height of both irony and hypocrisy), hateful (see the previous comment), and bigoted (again).
The narcissistic selfish entitlement-minded arrogance in America today is both palpable and breathtaking (see Robert DeNiro, Joy Behar, Meryl Streep, et al…). What makes it even worse is the mainstream media’s abandonment of journalistic integrity and impartiality as it colludes with any and every whiny filthy-rich celebrity who didn’t get their way in the last election and decries all things rational and decent by making any of their derogatory comments lead stories.
Perhaps the most bitter pill to swallow is all the religious leaders who seem so starved for attention and acceptance that they fall effortlessly in line with culture forsaking the call to holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16) and ignoring the warning from James that “whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
Today’s faithful Christian is getting a taste of what must have washed through Moses’ mouth after he concluded a 40-day retreat in the presence of God Almighty and descended Mt. Sinai with the original Ten Commandments in hand. Not the ones he had to chisel out himself after breaking the originals. The ones written on the front and back by “the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18).
Imagine for a moment that you’ve been in the presence of God for weeks. Absolute holiness. Absolute love. The origin of truth. The standard of integrity. You have a gift from God to all the people He had rescued from over four centuries of bitter slavery. These people had spent generations doing only what they were told to do, when they were told, and how they were told. God had redeemed them from the Egyptians and even had a place waiting for them. They were soon to be in the Promised Land.
But those who had only known mistreatment were not going to be capable of governing themselves any other way than that which they were familiar with. So God gave them His Ten Words (literally). These words impregnated with His own integrity and righteousness. Words that actually foreshadowed His only Son.
Down goes Moses to present all the people with this wondrous gift. And what does he find when he gets back to the assembly of the Hebrews? Pretty much the same thing you see on the evening news any day of the week now. Wanton sexual immorality. Blatant idolatry. Hedonism. Narcissism. All of which was flavored with religious pluralism.
From the presence of the holy…into this.
Moses blew a proverbial gasket:
And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them a the foot of the mountain. He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it (Exodus 32:19-20).
That is where a lot of us are today (or at least should be). Righteous indignation. The people (nation) God has done so much for is flaunting their sexual immoralities in His face calling it the very thing the Lord has said he hates: pride. They are worshiping a myriad of idols under the golden umbrella of “rights” and “entitlements” crying out like their ancestors of old “these are your gods!” (Exodus 32:4). And all the while the religious leadership (Aaron) calls the revelry and rebellion “a feast to the Lord” (Exodus 32:5).
We should be mad. As with the ancient Hebrews, God has done too much for America to be patronized and trivialized as is being done today. That so many churchgoers show little interest in the worsening cultural malaise and even contempt for those few who are trying to address the evil of our time signifies that the spirit of Aaron is alive and well. When I hear religious leaders condone the sexual sinfulness of our time with condescending remarks like “God is doing a new thing” I can’t help but think of Aaron’s pitiful excuse to Moses when Moses confronted him about allowing the people to engage in blatant sin and idolatry “I threw it [gold] into the fire, and out came this calf” (Exodus 32:24).
However, as bad as things are today and as angry as we should be, let’s not forget that but for Moses’ intercession for that blatantly disrespectful and unconscionably vile people, they would have all perished. Before Moses ever left God’s presence on the top of the mountain, he was informed of what he would find when he descended. It was God who had told Moses “your people…have corrupted themselves” (Exodus 32:7). God went on to say that He was of the mind to destroy them all and start over with Moses (keep in mind this is before Moses actually goes down and sees it all for himself).
It is really hard in the midst of a culture that is so arrogantly disrespectful to many of the hallmarks of the divine character (righteousness, holiness, and faith) to be anything other than angry. But this is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to a valid relationship with God. Others. Even if they are wicked others.
Moses implored God to “Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people” (Exodus 32:12). The people who complained every chance they got against both God and Moses? The people who repeatedly said they wished they had never been freed from slavery in Egypt? The people who preferred a golden calf to the living God? Yes, those people.
Jesus prayed for His murderers and tormentors, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The last words to come from the mouth of Stephen as he was being stoned to death were, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60).
Paul wrote, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26). I wish there was more anger from the average churchgoer about what is going on in our country today. I know I’m angry. Righteous indignation is a good thing. Read the Bible. Even God gets angry. But the difference between the anger of unrepentant sinners and disciples of Jesus Christ is that God followers actually intercede in prayer for those at whom their anger is directed. Or, at least we are supposed to.
It would be nice to see a bit more anger from the faithful. Let’s just make sure not to forget to temper it with prayers of intercession for those we are angry with. Otherwise, it is not righteous indignation. It’s just veiled hatred.