What to Do When You're Angry (and Other Lessons from Numbers 16:12-21)
In just a minute, I'll show you a tip in verse 16 on how to deal with anger. But first let's look at verses 12 and 13 for a couple other good practical mini-lessons.
Numbers 16:12 (NIV)
12 Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, "We will not come!
On verse 12: What's an obvious sign that a person is not ready to be promoted? They ignore, cold shoulder, or outright disobey the leaders God has placed over them.
Numbers 16:13 (NIV)
13 Isn't it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert? And now you also want to lord it over us?
On verse 13: Notice what Dathan and Abiram called Egypt, the place where they had been bitterly treated as slaves. Egypt was a land of misery for the Israelites, yet now they were calling it "a land flowing with milk and honey" (v13). That is what happens when we have a complaining spirit -- we talk as if the grass is greener on the other side and we worship the past, as if yesterday was so much better than today, forgetting all the misery that we experienced yesterday.
In talking this way to Moses, Dathan and Abiram were showing not only that they didn't trust Moses, but that they didn't trust God and His plan.
When angry, don't fall victim to a complaining spirit. Instead, look to God for insight and perspective on your situation.
Numbers 16:15-16 (NIV)
15 Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, "Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them."
16 Moses said to Korah, "You and all your followers are to appear before the LORD tomorrow--you and they and Aaron.
On verses 15-16: Moses did a very wise thing. When he was angry at Korah, Dathan and Abiram, Moses did not lash out or lose his temper. Rather, the first thing he did was go to God. Then he spoke to Korah with a proposal.
In the same way, when people anger and upset you, don't let your first reaction be to lash out at those people and retaliate in anger; rather, go to God first and look to Him for wisdom, insight and help to know how best to deal with the situation. Just as the Lord helped Moses, He will help you to if you seek Him first.