[Today’s devotion about anger is a part of the Weekend Word devotional series. Come back every Saturday for fresh insights from God’s Word, or follow my blog via email or WordPress to get my content sent straight to your inbox (Link in the sidebar, or scroll down on mobile).]
Read: Jonah 4
Today’s Scripture: 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
I’ve recently been learning how to make a hat by using a loom. I spent a few days following the pattern, wrapping yarn around and around the loom’s pegs.
The other day, I looked at my work and was happy with its length. I was finally ready to take it off. But I didn’t know how to do it.
When I asked for help, the woman leading the knitting group came over to show me what to do next. As she demonstrated how to take the hat off the loom, there was one thing she told me NOT to do.
“Understand?” she said.
I, not really listening, automatically responded, “Yes.” However, I missed what she said to me.
As she was explaining the steps, my mind had wandered off. I started focusing on something else that had happened the other day, running through that event in my head.
After she walked away, I realized I had missed her instructions. I know there was something I was NOT supposed to do, but I had no idea what it was.
I’m learning to speak up when I miss something, so I sheepishly said, “Um, there was something you said NOT to do. I said that I understood but I wasn’t actually listening.”
Thankfully, she was understanding and we all got a good laugh out of it. She came over and showed me again, and I finished my hat soon after.
The thing is, I was so focused on something else that I missed what she wanted me to do.
Jonah missed what God wanted to do, too. He was extremely displeased that God had spared Nineveh (Jonah 3:10-4:1), a city that he wasn’t too fond of. Ninevah was the capital of Assyria, the Gentile nation that would one day capture Israel (2 Kings 18:9-12). Jonah’s anger came out in full force when he realized that God, as gracious and compassionate as He is, would spare the city (Jonah 4:2-3).
Jonah was so focused on his anger that, even though he knew God would spare Ninevah, he STILL left the city to watch what would happen to it (v. 5).
It took a plant and scorching heat for God to get Jonah’s attention. As Jonah was angry about the plant, God revealed his intentions for Ninevah: Just as Jonah cared about the plant that he didn’t grow himself, God cared even more for the people of Ninevah whom He had also created (v. 11).
Jonah’s anger and resentment towards Ninevah caused him to miss God’s plan.
Likewise, when we put all our energy into maintaining our anger towards a situation or another individual, we miss what God wants to do through that tough situation.
While experiencing anger is normal — even God gets angry — it’s holding on to that anger that gives the devil the opportunity to speak into our lives (Ephesians 4:26-27). If we want to be able to see God’s plan, we need to give that anger to Him.
Thankfully, God still got His message across to Ninevah despite Jonah’s reluctance. If you’ve let anger sit too long, there’s still time to work through it and give it to God to see what He’ll do.
Today’s Thoughts: Have you been holding onto anger and resentment? How would it feel to finally work through it? What might God show you if you let that anger go?