Anger and Violence

What do you think? Are anger and violence expressions of power or of weakness?

Moses explosive outburst against an Egyptian slave-driver was about as fruitful as an expensive firework. The loss of a taskmaster didn’t weaken pharaoh. The Hebrews sneered. Moses ran for his life. How counterproductive our self-efforts can be!

Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. He went out the next day, and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other; and he said to the offender, “Why are you striking your companion?” But he said, “Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said, “Surely the matter has become known.” When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well. (Exodus 2:11-15)

So, why did Moses strike the Egyptian dead? Surely his anger reflects his sense of isolation in the midst of heart-wrenching injustice, powerlessness in the face of crushing oppression. Moses had nowhere else to turn for justice, crude or otherwise, except to his own resources. That’s a sign of weakness. Moses hadn’t really grown up at all. Neither have we if we know no other help than our own wits and whips.

We begin to mature spiritually when we are adopted into God’s family. Moses’ encounter with His heavenly Father, who blazed at him from a desert bush, triggered his growth. Gradually Moses came to understand the purposes of God for His people, and His power to accomplish those purposes. Ten plagues later, Moses no longer had to yell and thrash out. He raised his staff, the sea parted, and a whole chariot battalion wallowed and drowned.1 It was the beginning of a life of intimacy with God through which God’s power flowed and made history. Adoption ends isolation and connects us to the divine power supply.

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  1. Exodus 14:21-31. []

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