Have you heard the saying that you should HALT before making decisions? H.A.L.T. is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. If one or more of these are at play in your life, chances are high that you will make a decision you will later regret. Today Solomon warns of acting out of anger:
- “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly” (Proverbs 14:17)
- “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly” (Proverbs 14:29)
- “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness” (Proverbs 15:1-2)
- “A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention” (Proverbs 15:18)
Solomon goes on to say, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:32-33).
Solomon is telling us to be ruled by the Spirit and not by our own flesh; to commit our decisions to the Lord and let Him guide us. Solomon knows if we act out of our own fleshly desires and anger, it will lead to destruction. This is why Solomon says twice, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25).
Later in the Story, Paul will explain the difference between walking in the flesh verses walking in the Spirit – “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh…Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God….But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-25).
All actions begin with a thought. Therefore, Solomon tells us to “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established” (Proverbs 16:3). To commit our works to the Lord we must halt; make no rash decisions based on the flesh but slow down and intentionally seek the Lord through His Word and our time in prayer. When Jesus teaches us to pray he says, “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen ” (Matthew 6:8-13).
The Lord is Sovereign over all and He knows our needs before we ask. If we remind ourselves of this truth, we can avoid responding out of anger and run to the Lord with our hurt, pain, and disappointment, trusting that He will act on our behalf.