For part two of my exploration of what the Bible reveals about the human heart we will be looking at Exodus 28. This passage takes place just after God's covenant with The Israelites is confirmed, and an order and means of worship were being established, including the priestly garments that Aaron and his sons would wear. There is definitely something worth noting when we get to the breast-piece of decisions. Two very specific things went over the heart of the priest when making choices.
The first thing was the names of the twelve sons of Israel, AKA Jacob. (Verse 29) The twelve tribes of the nation of Israel were named after Jacob's sons. So it was not just a nod to where they came from, but who they were as a people.
The second thing was the Urim and the Thummim. (Verse 30) Which were objects used in casting lots. A systematic practice used to discern the will of God.
So what is the takeaway from all this? What significance can we glean from what the priests were meant to keep near their hearts.
- Where our heart is at is important in making Godly decisions.
- Choices are for the benefit of all the community of believers, not just self. Those whose hearts are inclined to evil will surely be tempted to be more focused on self than community. A Godly heart is interested in the common good. Nor does it assume that what is good for self is by default good for everyone; unlike the self-centered.
- The practice of casting lots would eliminate emotions, and self out of their decisions. Re-enforcing the idea that our western notions about the heart are not 100% accurate. (Remember last time we established that the Hebrew word for heart was not associated with emotions as it is the English word.)
You've probably heard the phrase "think with your heart" while there may be some truth in the sentiment; unfortunately, it has become a truth distorted in western culture. All because we assume that means we should let our emotions decide for us. Let's face it, emotionally charged decisions can often be very bad and misguided choices. They are often motivated by self and pay little regard for others, which has a habit of coming back to haunt us. A very unchristian way of approaching life that hinders our path to holiness, and discipleship greatly. So clearly we need to rethink our relationship with our emotions.
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? -Mark 2:8