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The Wrath Of Man

When sin entered into the world through the transgression of Adam, it became permanently resident in mankind producing the evils described in Gal. 5:19-21. These works of the flesh and mind characterize the natural man whose manner of life is according to the "course of this world" in which we all once lived being "children of wrath, even as the rest" (Eph. 2:3).

Wrath and jealousy were among the first of the works of the flesh to be manifest. When Cain and his younger brother Abel brought their offering to the Lard we are told that the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering, a firstling of the flock, "But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wrath, and his countenance fell" (Gen. 4:5). Thus in the heat of anger and jealousy the first man to be barn into the world rose up against his brother and slew him. The sad consequences of his crime are summed up in Cain's admission to the Lard, "My punishment is greater than I can bear". Surely such a confession is a severe warning to us all of the deadly evil inherent in human nature. How often the wrath of man has brought upon him mare than he could bear!

Among those whose wrath brought a curse upon themselves are Simeon and Levi, when in bitter haste they revoked their awn pledge and slew Hamar and Shechem and all the males of their city with the edge of the sword. They thus brought trouble upon Jacob their father and made his name to "stink among the inhabitants of the land" (Gen. 34:30). Jacob never forgot the shame that his awn sans had brought upon him. Ta the day of his death this cowardly and merciless deed was before his mind and when he gathered his sans together to tell them what should befall them in the latter days, he said of Simeon and Levi, "Weapons of violence are their swords ... cursed be their anger, far it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel" (Gen. 49:5-7).

The fierce anger and wrath of men have often left deep and grievous scars upon godly testimony. Dawn through the ages irreparable damage has been done by the cruelty of professing Christians who should have displayed the "meekness and gentleness of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:1). Indeed the "folly of a hasty spirit" has often outweighed the wisdom and honour of great men. This is evident in the case of Moses, who was the meekest man in all the earth. Yet he stands out as the victim of his awn anger. The people of Israel, sorely tried far lack of water, strove with Moses and Aaron. The two leaders fell upon their faces at the door of the tent of meeting, and there the Lard spake unto them saying, "Take the rod ... and speak ye unto the rock ... that it give forth its water" (Num. 20:8). But angered by this rebellious people (Psa. 106:32,33), instead of speaking to the rock, as God told him, Moses lifted up his hand and smote the rock with his rod twice. The sad consequence of this hasty action was that Moses and Aaron were not allowed to enter the land of promise, and although Moses besought the Lord to let him go over Jordan, he was not allowed to do so. How fitting to this great man's experience are the wards of the Preacher, "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before Gad" (Eccles. 5:2).

Rash and hasty wards of sincere believers have often besmirched their testimony and incurred reproach from the world. We should remember that we fallow the meek and lowly One who has left us an example, "who when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not".

Anger and wrath have no part in the testimony of sanctified believers far they belong to the flesh which cannot please Gad and are expressive of the old man who was crucified with Christ "that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin" (Rom. 6:6). These should be put away from the life of the believer (Col. 3:8), as belonging to the old nature. He should "put an the new man, which is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of Him that created him" (Col. 3:10). "A heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering" and above all "put an love".

It is particularly required of an overseer in a church of Gad that as God's steward he be "not self-willed, not soon angry, no brawler, no striker" (Titus 1:7), but temperate, soberminded, gentle, ... not contentious" (1 Tim. 3:2,3). May God grant us grace that "every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; far the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" (James 1:19,20).