8 Minute Read
To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.
Today’s Bible Reading:
Listen to the Lord
Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.
Proverbs 30:33 (NLT): “As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels.”
Reflections from Scripture:
In Proverbs 30:33, we see the beauty of the book of Proverbs. To share a nugget of wisdom, the truth that Solomon is trying to get across is compared to other things that would have been familiar to his readers.
“As the beating of cream yields butter
and striking the nose causes bleeding,
so stirring up anger causes quarrels.”
Proverbs 30:33 (NLT)
While many English translations use different words for each phrase, the words translated “beating,” “striking,” and “stirring” in the New Living Translation are all the same word in the Hebrew text.
“As the beating of cream yields butter…”
My grandma had a butter churn that she obtained from her mom. My great-grandma used that churn to make cream and butter. She would put milk into it and then thrust the plunger up and down. As she continually pressed and agitated that milk (along with some additives), it would have thickened. The “beating” caused the milk’s qualities to change.
“… striking the nose causes bleeding…”
I’ve never had the desire to press my nose to produce blood. However, my nose has been hit and bumped a few times. On occasion, that’s all it took for me to get a nosebleed. The “striking” caused my nose to do something undesirable.
With these two word pictures in mind, Solomon now makes his ultimate point:
“…so stirring up anger causes quarrels.”
We all know what it’s like to be wronged. We know what it’s like for someone to say something unkind to us or to do something utterly inappropriate. We also know how easy it is to get a little upset after such a scenario.
But, Proverbs 30:33 paints a picture of someone who “stirs up anger.” They stoke the fires. They feed that anger until it grows and grows. Just like milk and a nose will produce something very different when pressed, so does anger. It produces strife. It creates rifts in relationships. It may even bring a relationship to an end. And all of this occurs because anger was allowed to be “stirred up.”
Don’t do it! Don’t “stir up your anger.” Instead, do what Jesus has called us to do – love and forgive others. His message was consistent with the cry of the Old Testament…
Proverbs 10:12 (NLT): “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.”
So, what happens when love is “stirred up?” It produces noble character. It works to mend relationships. It forgives and overlooks offenses. It brings joy and happiness to the heart. It pleases God. On and on, the benefits go.
So, don’t let your anger fester. Ask God to enable you to love those who have mistreated you. Read 1 Corinthians 13 to understand what your love should look like. And then, after putting it into action, enjoy the benefits of following God’s wonderful commands.
Spend Time in Prayer
Lord Jesus, obeying You can be challenging at times. In fact, it can sometimes seem impossible. That’s why I need You to enable me to obey You. But I also realize that obedience leads to a blessed life. I want that kind of life, so help me be even more diligent about obeying You, particularly when it relates to refusing to stir up anger. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.
Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on Facebook.