Faith & Anger

Would God rather us be angry with Him or have a lack of faith in Him? 

– 2 Kings 6 – Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. 25There was a great famine in the city… 26As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!” 27The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you?… 28Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?” She answered, … we cooked my son and ate him… 30When the king heard the woman’s words… 31He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”.. 33The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

… 2 Kings 7:1-2,20 – Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” 2The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”… 20And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.

Cannibalism is a weighty subject, and probably got your attention more so than what I wanted to talk about. I hope to say more about it, and leadership, in the coming days. Today, however let’s touch on the topics of faith and anger in this passage.

The king was waiting for God’s to deliver them from the siege and famine, but when he heard that the people were starting to eat each other, he became angry. He started to lose his faith in God and he lashed out at God by threatening to kill Elisha, whom God often spoke through. Elisha responded 1) with force by barricading the door to protect himself, and 2) by telling the king to wait on the Lord one more day. Perhaps God didn’t respond as fast as the king would like, because the king was not acting the way he should.

  1. He should have been in sackcloth, asking for God’s help, while searching himself for any wrongdoing. Instead, he tried to hide his sackcloth under his royal clothes.
  2. He also could’ve sought God out beforehand, instead of waiting until the last second to see what God had to say about the siege. Seeking God should come first.

Nonetheless, there is an interesting principle in this story:

The king expressed anger by asking Elisha, ‘Why should I wait on the Lord any longer?’  Though he went with the intention to kill Elisha, he still listened to Elisha’s response and waited on the Lord one more day. The officer, however, expressed disbelief in God’s ability, and died because of it.

So anger is better than unbelief? Yes.
It is better to have faith in God, and get mad at Him when it doesn’t look like He is coming through for you, than it is to express disbelief in what God says He is going to do.

The king tried to wait on God, and tried to repent by wearing sackcloth. He didn’t do either of them perfectly, but he tried and God honored that. He intended to sin in his anger, but he ended up changing his mind and doing what was right. The officer, who did not believe God could help them, was not honored.

There is a situation in my life in which I have faith, and am waiting, though I may have times of anger or questioning. It’s nice to know that God is okay with that, and can put people in my life to renew my faith. It’s nice to know that there is grace, and that he honors a slip in faith as long as there is an effort of faith. I hope that encourages you as well. Faith is hard, and faith is necessary, but God gives us grace when we try.

Matt. 21: 28-32 – There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”“The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

There is a way to be angry and not sin, but that wasn’t what the king had in mind. Nonetheless, the king turned away from the sin in his heart and chose not to kill Elisha. He came to God in anger, and God helped him because he was willing to listen. It’s better to go to the person you have a problem with, before it turns into wrath, but God has nothing to fear. The correct response for us is to set a boundary, and get help, like Elisha did by gathering elders to barricade the door. God however, just wants you to come to Him for help. If getting to a breaking point, or a rage, is the only way you’ll come to Him for help, then He accepts that. Job expressed his anger to God, and God helped him see how things really were.


Heb. 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.


God asks us to have faith in Him, and to even put His words, ways, principles to the test. If we test Him, in our faith, He will reward us:

Mal. 3:10 – … Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

When the Bible says that testing God is wrong, it is referring to testing God in lack of faith. Testing God is nether right, nor wrong in itself; it simply depends on your heart.

Jer. 17:10 – I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.

Deut. 6:16 – Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah.

Ex. 17:7 – And he called the place Massah (testing) and Meribah (quarreling) because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

James 1:6-8 – But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Ps. 94:18 – When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.

Mark 9:21-24 – Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

Help my unbelief. That is a prayer that God honors. He loves truth; even when the truth is that you are angry, He honors it. Seek Him first, ask Him to help your unbelief, and just choose to be real with Him today.

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Empty

‘Bottomless pit’ and ‘well’, in the following verses, are the same word in the Greek language: phrear. This is one of several word denoted as ‘Hell’ in the Greek language. Hell, then, can be a state of the heart…

– Rev. 9:2 – He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.

– John 4:11-12 – “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?

In context with the rest of the story, the woman at the well was basically saying, ‘I am an empty, bottomless pit’. I have a hole that I can’t fill. I cannot get enough husbands, or boyfriends, to fill this hole in me. How then can I draw water up to quench my thirst?

– Eccl. 12:8 (MSG) – It’s all smoke, nothing but smoke.

Smoke chokes you out and burns your eyes. It dulls the senses. It wants you to flee in discomfort instead of putting out the fire at its source. It doesn’t want you to have an endless source of water to squelch its flames.

The smoke isn’t the fire; it’s only what the fire produced. I lot of times we try to treat symptoms instead of curing the illness. God is the healer. This woman’s symptom was that she felt like she had to have a man in her life. The root issue was something else. It might have been that she had not received love from her father, or that she never finished grieving over the loss of her first husband. Whatever the case, Satan loves to throw up the smoke screen and try to confuse us. He knows that if we can’t see to put out the fire, that he can continue to burn us out till there is nothing left.

– John 4:25-26 – The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

She had heard of Jesus, but now she’s met Jesus. Jesus turns your bottomless pit into a spring of water. He doesn’t just give you one drink in your need, but provides a lifetime of provision for you. He is the living water and the only way to put out the flame at its source. If you have a bottomless pit that you can’t fill, ask Jesus to come meet with you and give you a spring of water, welling up to eternal life.

– 1 Cor. 3:20 – The Master sees through the smoke screens

– Rom. 8:27 (MSG) – He knows us far better than we know ourselves

– Rom. 8:1 – there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

When you can’t see through all the smoke, ask Him to show you and snuff out the flame. Notice that Jesus didn’t condemn this woman. The woman didn’t lie to Him about her sin. God honors your honesty, even when you know that you are doing something wrong. He won’t condemn you for being honest and asking for His help. He came to explain everything to us. He wants you to know your own heart and understand what it is you really need.

James 1:5 – But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him.

Jesus isn’t just a well of water. Jesus is a spring of water welling up.  You don’t have to do the work of drawing up the water for yourself when you have Jesus. Just get in His presence.

Listen to this worship song on the subject: Jeremy Camp “Empty Me”

Shame & Beauty

If you could change something about your body would you? Which part(s)?

If you said yes, are you driven by shame? Think about each part you said yes to changing and recall the times someone shamed you for that part.

Do you want shame to win or you? Jesus loves us as we are. We need to work on seeing ourselves the same way He does. His love is never conditional to our ability to change. He died for us before we ever accepted His love. Love, however, is a powerful force that causes change. Its not by forcing/controlling us. Love changes us because love makes us want to be able to connect even more to the one we love. We want more connection not because they want/require change, and not to earn more love, but because we want to be as connected to them as possible.

So don’t give into shame, which says you have to change to be loved. Give into love. Accept yourself. Cut down the enemies lies and start to see yourself the way God sees you.

We might say:
Sos 1:6 – Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!

But He says:
Sos 4:1 – Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!

So we lean on Him:
Sos 8:5,10 – Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?… then I was in his eyes as one who finds peace

Go back to the situations that brought you shame and choose to believe Gods words instead of the enemies slanders. If your enemy called you ugly, find out what God says. Don’t we typically care more about what our friends say about us than the people who hardly know, or don’t know, us at all? Believe God’s word, then you will have peace and you will not feel like you need to change to get love, because God’s love will replace the pain.

Sos. 7:10 – I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me

Flesh vs. Fruit

It’s been 16 years since I made a commitment to Christ; a road of many lessons, and yet I’m now praying that God teach me how to pray, how to love, and how to trust Him. Lessons that should’ve long been learned, but that he wasted no time in starting. This is where He has been leading me…


Galatians 5:19-23 details two things:

1. Acts of the flesh: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and like things

2. Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control


A Closer Look:
Here is a list of definitions for ‘acts of the flesh’ terms. These are the things that God asks us to avoid/refuse in our lives.

  • an excessive favor toward self
  • feelings of hostility
  • a hostile state; opposition/resistance
  • quarrel, competition, rivalry
  • jealousy; trying to maintain or guard something; resentment against the success or advantage of others
  • mental uneasiness from suspicion
  • fits of anger; fits sprouting, from displeasure, from a wrongdoing
  • discord, disagreement, division
  • upset over, or desire/envy for, others success/advantages/possessions
  • intoxication or marked by intoxication; tipsy
  • sensuality, obscene, indecent, or lust; unrestrained or excessive indulgence of sexual desire, or intense desire
  • sexual obscenity, indecency, or defilement; indecent talk or writing
  • art, practice, or spells to exercise supernatural power through evil spirits
  • rowdy parties, wild festivity, or unbridled indulgences of any evil act

After doing this research I had to reevaluate some of my actions for sure. I’m not perfect.

– 2 Cor. 12:9 – My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.


Learning First Hand:

– James 1:2-3 – Count it all joy… for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

The same day, that I did this study, I was tested. It’s thirty minutes before the weekend starts, and I’ve spent the day pondering a certain subject. I ask a friend a simple question and receive a response that cuts at my person. Furthermore, I couldn’t question the intention of this cut, because it was thrown as they shut the door behind them; leaving me to fester. I tried to brush it off telling myself they had a rough day, but the more I thought about it, the angrier I became. By the time I got home, the weekend had started and I thought I would never calm down, so I decided to pray. “God, be with so and so, de-stress them, and continue to teach them.” Not so bad a prayer, but it just made me madder. So, I prayed for myself next, “God, I forgive so and so; help me learn to turn my anger into love.” Not so bad either, but I was extremely mad by this point. Then this verse popped into my head: “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” – Luke 6:28. So that sparked a new prayer. “Lord, bless so and so,” and as the words left my lips the anger lifted! The weekend was saved! Satan, the reminder, tried to bring it back to mind here and there, but part of forgiving is forgetting. I chose to forget each time. I thought I had done it right! But a few days later when I saw them again, I realized I was giving them the cold shoulder. They quickly diffused it with fun and games, but that was enough to expose the stench of my flesh. Obviously there is a underlying issue at play in me. Upon evaluation this is what I found…

Renewal of the Mind:

  • God honors a prayer based out of the ‘fruits of the spirit’, not out of the ‘acts of the flesh’. God honored my prayer of blessing, not my prayer of vengefulness.
  • I can trust God’s word to be true and healthy. By blessing my enemy, my anger left.
  • “Vengeance is not mine but the Lords” – Romans 12:19. God’s only command is to love.
  • Avoiding someone is not love.

It’s baby steps, but He is definitely showing me how to pray, how to love, and how to trust Him. Soon enough we’ll be running the race!