It is something everyone that holds the human condition must learn to control. And the human condition is something every one of us will have until we breathe our very last breath.
If you look into the Webster online dictionary, anger, as a noun, is defined as “a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism. A threatening or violent appearance or state.” An extended definition includes the word rage.
A strong feeling of displeasure. Rage is added as an extension of but not the definition of anger. Rage is anger out of control.
Anger is a word often used to describe God. Scripture uses the word anger for God’s reaction to sin and disobedience. So, is God having a strong feeling of displeasure or is God extending into rage – out of control?
One of my devotional verses, today, comes from Exodus 34:6-7 (NIV), “6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
The Hebrew people have a song they sing over and over that recites these words from the LORD God found in this Exodus text. The text that is translated as “slow to anger” is erech apaim in Hebrew which translates to “[He} has a long nose.”
Consider that in the text for a moment. “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, who has a long nose, abounding in love and faithfulness . . .” What in the world could that mean?
Think about it this way, when you see someone that is angry and have extended into a rage, their nose widens as their nostrils flare and their facial expression changes. So, to say someone has a “long nose” is to say they are in control, calm, and not angry.
What a great visual way to explain that The LORD is not angry with you but looks on you with compassion. The English versions/translations that state The LORD is slow to anger get it right.
To know God is to find Him as a compassionate Creator. Even in the text from Exodus as Moses sees The LORD pass by in all His glory, we can glimpse the amazing grace given by Christ on the cross.
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, talks about being included in the fullness of God’s mercy through the work of Jesus on the Cross. Romans 11:12 says, “12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!”
Full inclusion, not meant the way society wants us to think of it today . . . full inclusion speaks to all of God’s mercy, all of God’s grace, all of God’s redemption. There is nothing partial about God. When you give your life over to the saving grace, you receive full inclusion into the promises of eternity. Abounding in love. Abounding in grace. Abounding in mercy. There is nothing simple or “almost” about the word abounding. That is full inclusion.
And this full inclusion is fulfilled through the Messiah, the Christ, Himself. This is verified in John 1:14, “14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Did you see it? Did you see the connection from John 1:14 to Exodus 34:6-7?
John writes the “ . . . glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Full. The word is full. Abounding. Full inclusion.
So, the nose knows, after all. Seek His face. Feel His look of compassion and grace. But be ready – be ready for full inclusion.
That is the truth of the promise today. Full inclusion.