As I turned the key in the lock, a foreign sound told me something was wrong. The smell of wetness and dust and plaster assailed me as I walked in, moments before the sight of streams of water pouring through a buckling ceiling into a sodden sofa, flooding the new carpet. I raced upstairs to find the bath tap pouring full blast into an overflowing bath. Our small children had been having fun paddling in it earlier in the day, then, all going up to the toilet together before our trip out, one of them had evidently used the bath tap to wash their hands, and left it running, plug still in. Six hours of devastation while we’d enjoyed a day at the seaside!
As Moses descended the mountain holding the precious tablets on which God had carved out the Ten Commandments, a sound alerted him that all was not right. Joshua placed it as the sound of war, but Moses, warned by God, knew it was something even worse. Two sights assailed his eyes as he entered the camp – the dancing, and the calf – and inflamed him to white hot anger. Dashing the tablets to the ground, he swiftly destroyed the golden calf the people had foolishly worshipped, and began to take back order in the camp (Exodus 32:15-20).
We were determined that none of our children should take the blame for the disaster that took months to clear up. We never asked who did it, and made sure they knew it was just a mistake; we were not cross with them – as parents we were responsible if anyone was.
Moses, on the other hand, was dealing with adults who knew better. They had witnessed miracle after miracle, and knew what was going on with Moses. There was no excuse. Moses was right to be furious.
There are terrible atrocities going on in our world today. We sit on comfortable sofas and watch the news. ‘How awful!’ we say, then sleep peacefully at night.
There is a time for righteous anger, and there is plenty to be incandescent about. Too easily it washes over us, perhaps over-faced by the volume of atrocities. What can I do anyway? Pray this if you dare.
Dear Lord, inflame me to righteous anger over the issues that you want me to get involved in; give me courage and wisdom to make my action effective; and give me tenacity to keep going until it’s resolved. Amen