Responding in Anger

Responding in Anger After King Jeroboam set up his golden calves and introduced the nation into idolatry (1 Kin 12:25-33), a prophet was sent to rebuke him and give him a sign that the altar he’d recently built would split apart (1 Kin 13:3). At that point Jeroboam faced the same two choices we face when we’re confronted:

  1. Be humble and repent.
  2. Get angry at the person confronting us.

You can probably guess his choice…

1 Kings 13:4 When King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God [he said], “Arrest him!” Then his hand, which he stretched out toward him, withered, so that he could not pull it back to himself.

Proverbs 9:8 says, “Do not correct a scoffer or he will hate you” and that’s exactly what happened with Jeroboam.

When we’re confronted we might all feel like pointing at the person and saying, “Arrest him!” but the verse shows how God felt about Jeroboam responding the way he did, and I believe it’s instructive regarding how God feels when we respond angrily when we’re confronted.

1 Kings 13:5 The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.

Jeroboam’s anger didn’t change anything: the prophecy still came true. And the same is true for us: getting angry doesn’t change anything. Usually it just makes things worse. This is exactly what happened with Jeroboam:

  • He continued with his wickedness: 1 Kings 13:33 After this event Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way.
  • His lack of repentance led to his death and the death of his descendants: 1 Kings 13:34 [Jeroboam’s sin] led to the destruction of his house from the face of the earth.
  • Jeroboam’s son Nadab became king, he was murdered by Baasha who took the throne in his place, and that was the end of Jeroboam’s dynasty (1 Kin 15:25-33).

If Jeroboam had repented instead of getting angry, he and his descendants could’ve been spared judgment, but he’s an example of what Proverbs clearly shows: responding poorly to correction always leads to terrible consequences…

  • Proverbs 13:18a Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction.
  • Proverbs 15:10b He who hates correction will die.
  • Proverbs 15:32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul. Why does it say this? Because the consequences of getting angry when corrected are so severe it’s almost like punishing yourself.
  • Proverbs 29:1 He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

The next time you feel yourself getting angry, remember your anger won’t improve anything. It will probably just make things worse: James 1:20 the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

The situation with Jeroboam can serve as an example…

When we’re confronted and we feel ourselves getting angry – we want to point at our husband or wife or children or parents or friends or coworkers – picture Jeroboam pointing at the man of God and having his hand wither as a result.

  • Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger…be put away from you.
  • Colossians 3:8 Put off all these: anger, wrath, malice…9 since you have put off the old man…10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.

When we respond in anger we’re forgetting who we are in Christ and we’re living as the old man instead of the new one.

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