"But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” Numbers 20:12
Have you ever been angry? Of course you have. Have you ever done something you should not have done and later seriously regretted due to anger? Probably.
At a certain point in his life, Moses had really been through the ringer at the hands of the people of Israel. They constantly whined, complained, challenged his authority, fashioned and worshiped other gods and threatened to go back to the slavery of Egypt from which he had lead them. The people were too obstinate and faithless to go into the Promised Land which God had provided and were now, as a result, in the midst of a 40 year period of wandering in the wilderness. To top it off, his sister had just died and now the people were again complaining that they had no water while pointing out that there was plenty of food and water back in Egypt.
Moses was despondent and fell on his face before God. Fortunately for him, God was attentive to his and the people's need and, as He had always done, made provision for them by instructing Moses to speak to a rock and that from it, enough water would flow to quench man and beast alike. Unfortunately, Moses was angry and instead, the following ensued: "And he said to them, 'Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?' Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank," Numbers 20:10-11.
The mistake here was two fold. It was not that Moses had become angry (as indicated by referring to the people as rebels and striking the rock). This was quite understandable under the circumstances. The problems were that he violated the specific command of God to speak to the rock and that he did not give God the glory for providing the water but instead said, "shall we bring forth water."
Beloved, anger is a normal human emotion. Even Jesus was once famously angry at the money changers working around the temple. Anger is blamed for causing us to do a lot of unfortunate things. Scripture warns us that it is okay to become angry but it is not okay to let that anger lead you to sin (Ephesians 4:26). Anger unchecked and uncontrolled can have disastrous results for us and others. The dangers of road rage or the speaking of ill thought out but extremely hurtful words come to mind.
When we become angry, let us be sure to remember who God is, who we are and who we are in God. We have an example to follow in Jesus regarding how to handle anger and even, broadly, what we should be angry about. Moses' anger cost him the ability to lead his people into the Promised Land. Be careful what you allow anger to cost you.