Barry Newman's Blog

March 7, 2010

“The Heart” in the Old Testament (part VI)

Filed under: The Heart — barrynewman @ 11:16 pm

The Heart of Humans (cont.)

The Heart that can be Known

What is in the heart can be searched.  It can be known.  God knows what is in the heart and he can test what the heart is like.  Humans may try to keep what is in their heart from being known or alternatively may decide to open up their hearts so that what was unknown is then known.  The heart may know what it itself is like.  Such an understanding of the heart entails the view that to some extent the thoughts, attitudes, interest and decisions of the mind are private at least with respect to other human beings.  This usage bespeaks of our individuality.

The Heart that has Within it or On it

Matters can be on or in the heart, received into the heart, taken to heart and kept in the heart. Some things are not taken to heart.  Such situations will affect the bearer of the heart.  The matters are very much to the fore of their mind.

The Unrighteous Heart and the Heart not Set Towards God

The heart is evil or set to do evil and it knows evil.  The heart is wicked, perverse, crooked or speaks perverse things.  It is ungodly, not upright, deceitful, or divided.  People tempt God in their heart or err in their heart. There is a heart that is far from God, has hateful things within, works iniquity, goes after idols or other abominations, is adulterous or needs to be washed from wickedness.  A heart can be destroyed by its taking a bribe or it can destroy others.  It can be a hardened, stubborn or stony heart.  The heart may be proud, not humbled or lifted up.  The heart may need correction, or need to be kept in line or guarded.  There is a heart that envies, that is deep (cunning?), weak-willed or double (deceptive) by nature.  The category of the unrighteous heart is one of the largest.  The evil of our minds, as we might put it, is a fundamental problem.  It is not our bodies that are evil.  Our brains are not evil.  However, not every aspect of our minds is evil, for example our emotional states. When people rightly see themselves as evil they are reflecting on certain of their attitudes, interests, dispositions and decisions.   Of course, for the Israelite, neither unrighteousness nor righteousness is regarded as a state dissociated from one’s relationship with God.  It is his world. People do not serve God with all their heart nor do they seek him with a whole heart.  The heart is not set towards seeking him or giving him glory.

The Righteous Heart and the Heart Set Towards God

A heart can be one of integrity, upright, clean or cleansed, blameless, not regarding evil, humble or humbled, not proud, one that speaks the truth or one that is not double (deceptive) by nature.  The heart may seek God, be faithful before God, know God and may be single-minded in seeking, loving, serving God and keeping his commandments.  A person may seek God with a perfect, whole or undivided heart.  The heart may set itself to seek God.  God may set a person’s heart towards him.  A person is under obligation to seek, love, serve, keep the commandments of, and walk before God, trusting him with all one’s heart. 

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