How Anger Was Moses’ Weakness And Elisha’s Strength

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Human beings have weaknesses and strengths, which either affected them positively or negatively depending on which one is more dominant in their lives, and the inability to deal with their weaknesses and masters their strengths go a long way to defining what happens to them or what their life will become, since human beings are a product of their choices, one of the human emotions that influence choices when not kept in a check is anger.

Anger is an intense emotional state which involves a strong, uncomfortable, and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, hurt, or threat. It varies in intensity and is also known as wrath or rage. It can be a weakness for anyone who cannot control it, and it can also be a strength for anyone who can master it and make good use of it. And in order to have a deeper understanding of anger, its positive and negative implications that we can learn from, we shall look at how anger was a weakness and strength in the lives of two Biblical characters which in one way or the other, have manifested anger as a weakness and also as a strength, and these are Moses and Elisha.

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He was called by God as a prophet whose mandate was to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt to the land God had promised their ancestors—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was indeed anointed by God and privileged to speak with him face to-face and hear him audibly, although he never saw the form of God or what he looked like. The record in the Bible has it that he was the meekest man in his time, and great signs and wonders were done by God through him, from all the wonders he performed in Egypt to the parting of the Red Sea, and every miraculous provision performed by God through him, and also the law of God, which contains the ten commandments, was handed over to him by God for his people. However, with all the graces, privileges, anointing, and powers bestowed on him, and also his virtues of meekness, love, faith, and perseverance, Moses still had a weakness, and it was anger.

According to Numbers 20, the children of Israel needed water, and they complained to Moses who in turn asked the Lord what to do. Given the necessary directives which are to go with his rod and in the company of Aaron, and the elders of Israel and the entire congregation, he should speak to the rock in front of the people, and water will come out. However, Moses did not completely follow the directives of God, because the children of Israel complained and said words that got Moses angry, and he spoke angrily at them in a way that made him sin against God. Instead of speaking to the rock, he hit the rock with the rod in his hand, and water came out as God promised.

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Numbers 20:10 ” Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels! Must we bring water out of this rock for you?” God’s reply to Moses and Aaron for what he did. As a result, Moses’s weakness was exposed because he couldn’t control his anger. Ecclesiastes 7:9 counseled as follows: “Be not hasty in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.” Proverbs also describes the person who cannot control his spirit from being taken over by anger in this way: “He that hath no rule over his spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28).

For his lack of self-control over his anger, and for doing contrary to God’s command, God replied to Moses and Aaron as follows: But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “You did not trust me enough to honor me and show the people that I am holy. You did not show the Israelites that the power to make the water came from me. So you will not lead the people into the land that I have given them.” Anger played out in Moses as a weakness which eventually made him sin against God because, by anger, he did things that didn’t bring honor to God.


Elisha was called by God as a prophet and chosen as the successor of Elijah with the blessing of a double portion. He performed his first miracle by dividing the Jordan River as his master did. He healed the waters of Jericho and was regarded by the sons of the prophets in the city of Jericho as “Father”, meaning he is their spiritual father because he stands in the office and operates in the power of Elijah. However, on his way to Bethel, some children came out to mock him, calling him a bald head, and he looked at them and cursed them in the name of the Lord, and two female bears came out from the woods and killed forty-two of them. This was done in anger, but as a strength and not a weakness.

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Like Phineas did in anger when he rose and killed both the Israelite and the Midianitish woman when they came into the camp during the time that the whole congregation was weeping for the sin that they had committed with the Midianites, and according to the Judgement given by God to the children of Israel through Moses to kill the men who joined themselves to Baal-Peor, Phineas killed both of them with a javelin. So, his anger was a strength to do justice so that God could withdraw his wrath from them.

Children must be taught to respect and honor elders, and not to mock or disrespect them, and this shows that these children lack proper training and were not taught in the way of the Lord. Proverbs 22:6 clearly instructs that parents should “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Elisha’s anger was directed towards the disobedient children because they break the law of God, and although he was angry, cursing them in the name of the Lord shows that he acted by the Spirit of God upon him. Prophets of God know the name of the Lord and spiritually discern things to know God’s mind on what to do. Why was he never held guilty of it? It’s because he did the right thing as led by the Spirit of God upon him.

Another case was that of Gehazi, who went after Namaan the Syrian in 2Kings 5:20-2, to collect the gifts that his master, Elisha, refused, and when he returned and was asked where he went, he lied, and the prophet let him know that his spirit went with him, and he saw everything Gehazi did, and so in anger, he cursed him. Curses always come from someone who has been offended and is angry, and in this case, God was offended by Gehazi’s greed, and the Spirit of God showed Elisha everything so that he could pass the right judgement against him. This teaches us to be contented with whatever we have in our relationship with God, because godliness with contentment is a great gain, and lack of it can breed greed in us to do what will offend God and attract his curse, as in the case of Gehazi. In this case, again, anger was a strength Elisha utilized to pass God’s judgement upon Gehazi to his fourth generation. In the law of Moses, God states that he is a God who visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation (Exodus 34:7).

The last example to look at here in the demonstration of anger in Elisha as a strength and not a weakness, is in 2Kings 13, the kings of Israel upon hearing about Elisha’s sickness came to visit him, and Elisha gave him prophetic instruction as led by the Spirit of God to open the window and shoot arrows in the east direction, and also asked him to strike the ground with arrows, but when the king strike three times and stopped, Elisha was angry with him, this is because the king did not understand the command of God, and so Elisha had to decree the judgement of God concerning the folly of the king.

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2Kings 13:18-19 ” And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground, and he smote thrice and stayed, and the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou should have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.”

Anger should be a strength and not a weakness, it should be mastered and controlled and not the opposite, as one of human emotions, it is a gift from God not to sin and dishonor him, but to use as strength to do what is right in the sight of God as justice to bring honor to God. Psalm 76:10 says that ” Even human anger can bring you honor when you use it to punish your enemies.” And Ephesians 4:26 addressed it better in this way, ” Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath”. We can be angry, but we should not sin by it, we can use it as a strength to work righteousness, to do what pleases God, and bring honor to him….See More

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