1 Samuel 11:6
“Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused.”
Saul heard news that the Ammonites had surrounded Jabesh Gilead and were threatening the lives of the people. His reaction to the news was that his anger was aroused. Rather than this being rebuked we are told that his emotional state was a result of the moving of the Spirit. We do not usually associate anger with the leading of the Spirit. Most often when I am angry I am asking the Holy Spirit to help me calm down, but in this case anger was the only proper reaction.
There are things that should produce in us a godly rage. When we hear of innocent lives being taken at the hands of self willed men, or believers being beheaded or children being indoctrinated by terrorist organizations or anti-God programs being instituted within our our own government we should be angry. In these cases we might expect the Spirit of God to arouse our anger. The important thing to keep in mind is that we cannot let our anger influence us to misbehave or to fight the wrong battles. Not long ago I heard a well intentioned preacher declare that the greatest enemies of the church were Islamic extremists and liberal fascists. As his message continued he made the unbelieving world look more like the enemy of the church than its mission field.
Years later the apostle Paul had an experience similar to that of king Saul. As he entered into the city of Athens we read;
Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.
Paul saw the spiritual condition in Athens and his spirit was provoked (this is a word that can mean to have anger aroused within). His response was not to look upon the Athenians as the enemy but more like prisoners of war who were held captive by their faulty views of God. As a result Paul began to meet the people where they lived and share the truth of Christ with them.
When the Spirit of God provokes anger within us let’s be sure to act appropriately by looking for ways to bring the gospel to the world around us.