The One who examines the thoughts and emotions is a righteous God.Ps 7:9
This is an interesting translation – by the way, it is the HCSB. Translated word by word, it is hearts and kidneys instead of thoughts and emotions. The CJB says
… since you, righteous God, test hearts and minds.Ps 7:10 CJB
In our western world, we would translate heart into emotions, all right, but kidneys? And when we look closely, it’s the heart that is translated thoughts in the HCSB, and the kidneys stand for emotions, while the CJB likens the kidneys to the seat of the mind.
Ok, we can dissect this for ages and not get a grip on the Jewish mind – because we approach it in a typically Greek manner. We want to divide and conquer. Emotions have to be different and therefore have different origin than thoughts. We divide a human being into body, soul, and spirit. And then we divide the soul into will, mind and emotions.
At least we think in threes just like God. But then again, there is but one God. Three in one. I know that the trinity is hard to understand and very controversial as it is an extra-biblical concept. That means, it is not taught or named in the bible, only hinted at. Like at the baptism of Jesus, where we find Jesus bodily on earth, the Spirit coming unto him just like a dove, and the Father speaking from heaven: this is my son in whom I am well pleased – listen to him. But the bible also tells us that there is only one God.
For me that means that even though it is beneficial to understand certain things, and it is deeply true that God is three, he is in essence one.
It is equally true that we live in a body, have a soul, and are a spirit. It is also true that we think, feel, and will. But we are one. A whole – at least now, after we accepted the work of Jesus at the cross to reunite us with the Father, with himself, and to revive our spirit to reality, the reality of the kingdom.
I am – as you might have guessed if you read this blog regularly – more of a thinker than a feeler (I just made up that word, I think. It is obvious what I mean by it). When I worship, I do not feel anything. I do not feel the groove or the rhythm. I love music for the great truths in lyrics. I decide to focus on God, and blinding out whatever I was thinking about before, it helps me to receive during preaching and teaching. This is where I get tickled, this is where I get changed.
And for years I faded out emotions. Some of this is my make, the model God used when he made me. Some is historically understandable and a reaction to hurt. And some was just pure convenience. It is so much easier to think about things than to feel them.
Don’t understand me wrong. I do have and always had feelings. Anger, sadness, discouragement. But I was strangely detached from them. Either I was not aware of them while I experienced them, or I kind of watched myself from the outside. And it usually only took a decision to stop them.
I do not want to tell you that I was mad or insane. I just allowed myself to look at me as a divided individual and to blind out the parts that were kind of problematic.
The two words in Hebrew for heart and kidney mean exactly that – but not only. They both mean organ, inner most being, and everything that flows from the inner being by implication: thoughts, emotions, will. One means wisdom, understanding, courage, the other even sacrificial animal.
This last meaning lets me think of the lamb at Pessach. It had to be examined and found faultless to be worthy for selection as a redeemer from death. This is also true for Jesus – only in his sinlessness could he carry the sin of the world and redeem us from sin.
Let me work out some principle then:
We are to give our lives as a living sacrifice. Not like Jesus as a redeemer of the world. That was his and only his assignment, and none of us could have done it. But now, through his work, we are the righteousness of God. We are without spot or wrinkle. Thus, when God examines us, we are found without evil, perfect, mature. Our assignment: to lay down our lives for other, because their is no greater love.
Let me give you my own, unofficial translation of our verse, looking at it through the cross – something David could not do.
Let the evil of the wicked come to an end,Ps 7:9 CJB
and establish the righteous;
since you, righteous God,
test hearts and minds.
will then become
You ended the evil of the wicked one at the cross,
and established us, the righteous;
You, righteous God,
examined us as a whole, just like a living sacrifice.
Two consequences flow from this for me:
First, I want to see myself as a whole as well. And then, I rejoice in the fact that I was found worthy.
How about you?