Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
    and their fury, so cruel!

Genesis 49:7

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.

11 12.

They say when you’re angry you should count to ten. Today I’m counting to 12.

Not because I’m that angry. I’m not off the charts angry. But I am, you know, angry.

The reason I’m counting to 12 is for Jacob’s sons. He had 12 of them. They become the 12 tribes of Israel, and in Genesis 49, Jacob sits them down and offers his blessing. Well, not all of them get blessed.

In verse 28, it says: “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.” He says some nice things about his sons, except for two of them: Levi and Simeon.

“Simeon and Levi are brothers—
    their swords are weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council,
    let me not join their assembly,

Genesis 49:5

These two sons are so consumed by anger that, essentially, they have no place in Israel’s plans. Anger has consumed them, and there’s nothing much left they can offer.

Which brings me back to me, today. I got angry about something that, in the scheme of things, was pretty small. But I had to just sit here, in my office, unable to function for a few minutes. I had to cool down and clear my head, because my reptile brain was screaming at me to “fight! fight! fight!”.

It’s not easy to keep from letting anger consume you. In the case of Simeon and Levi, it appears to have gotten the best of them. Remember Jesus saying, “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword”? Well, these two guys are a perfect example of this.

Now most of us don’t go around wielding swords, but we can wield words and actions to great effect. We can do violence in our interactions with others, reacting without care, lashing out and hurting whoever might be in the way. I don’t know what may have ticked you off this week — hey, it might have been justified — but when we let anger get the better of us, we risk disqualifying ourselves from the greater plans God may have in store for us.

It’s not that humans are forbidden to be angry. Certainly there are some times when righteous anger can even help fuel justice in this world. But to lead with anger as a way of life is to make of it an idol, worshiping it like our own personal God, meting out revenge and violence.

“Geeze”, you might be saying, “sometimes I just get a little worked up. Is that so wrong?” I say no. But what is wrong is letting it eat you up inside or turning it on the people around you. So what is there to do with anger?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. Count to 10. Give it a few minutes. Calm yourself. Take a walk. Take a break. Say a prayer.

Write a devotion.

Have a great week,