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In Acts 12:20, Herod's rage is not specifically defined as being good or bad. Could there be a situation in which rage/wrath were NOT wrong? In the study on "anger," we discovered that certain types of anger could be legitimate. But here, there is no direct statement claiming that human rage/wrath is good.
In the Old Testament, the wrath of God is mentioned many times (perhaps 150 times), as a righteous and holy expression of God's character and God's justice (against sin). In most instances, the wrath of men is condemned either directly or by implication. However, there are at least five instances in which we seem to find exceptions to this rule. Three proverbs (Proverbs 16:14; 19:12; and 20:2) refer to a king's wrath, but do not state that the wrath is wrong. There is also a verse in which the prophet Jeremiah claims to be "full of the wrath of the Lord" (Jeremiah 6:11). Finally, King Saul was condemned because he did not obey the Lord, to "carry out his [the Lord's] fierce wrath against the Amalekites" (1 Samuel 28:18). As we look at these possible "exceptions," we note that all involve the actions of a leader - either king or prophet. Two of these involve an expression or display of the Lord's wrath.
Conclusions? Perhaps there may be times in which a high authority might have a right to display rage/wrath - especially when that wrath is an expression of God's wrath against sin (perhaps ONLY then). But for the rest of us, it does not seem that rage/wrath is ever an option.
The wrath of God at the day of judgment / justice - Romans 2:8; Revelation
14:10, 19; 15:1,15:7; 16:1, 19; 19:15.
The devil - filled with "fury" because his time is coming
to an end - Revelation 12:12.
The adulteries of "Babylon the great" described as "maddening" wine - Revelation 14:8; 18:3.
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Do you ever become enraged? Why? [If your answer is "yes," the following instructions are for you:]
Focus on what the Bible says about rage. Begin to build (or reinforce) your relationship with God. Through Bible study and meditation on the Word, along with prayer and trust in the God who can use these things to change you, change can come. If the Spirit is in you, you have what is necessary to combat this sin. Remember that one of the fruits of the Spirit's presence is self-control.
You may wish to study what the Bible says about "SELF-CONTROL." You may find such a study helpful for building-up a more Christ-like lifestyle.
It may take time; it will take effort. You will need to increase in your trust and reliance on God. You may fail at times, but do not give-up in despair. If you have spent many years reinforcing this sinful habit, changing may be difficult. BUT IT CAN BE DONE!
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Dennis Hinks © 1996