Today? Tuesday. Tuesday is Poetry day.I flipped to Ecclesiastes to continue where I left off last Tuesday.
As I read, I got to the 10th chapter, and in verse 2 something caught my eye:
“A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but a fool’s heart at his left.”
This caught my attention. I read through the rest of the book, gathering encouragement, wondering at God’s love for us, and amazed at His majesty showing so plainly through the writings of Solomon - the Preacher. But in the end my mind was still going back to that verse.
Let’s break it down:
There are two characters - The Wise Man, and the Fool
There are two common factors - both have hearts
Heart - Hebrew Word ‘leb’ (לֵב)
- definition: as seat of emotions and passions
There are two uses for the same heart (leb)
First, we see the wise man
The wise man does not shun his heart=emotions
The wise man embraces them
Second, The Fool
He also embraces them
It actually appears that the wisdom has nothing to do with being stoic - in fact quiet the opposite because how does it say the wise man uses his emotions?
“(his) heart is at his right hand”
What does that mean?
Well it’s interesting because the term ‘right-hand’ in the Bible is always referring to ‘strength’. So now that we know a few things, lets read it again
“a wis man’s emotion is his strength”
Let’s look at the fool
“But a fool’s heart at his left”
What we’ve learned from the wise man applies to the fool, except in that the ‘left’ hand is a declaration of 'weakness'. So let’s re-read this section as well
“But a fool’s emotion is his weakness”
This struck me so hard this morning as I lay - depression just on the outskirts of my consciousness, waring against me to come in and conquer. It struck me that my emotions are a very good thing. In fact, they’re are God given - and in my emotion I find that truly I am built in God’s image.
God shows anger: Isaiah 28:21
God shows sadness: Luke 19:41
God knows what regret feels like: 1 Samuel 15:11
God knows what it’s like to be hard to relate to: Matthew 8:20
And many more examples of both God and His men and women in the Bible that prove God is VERY in touch with our emotions, and can relate to them.
However, this verse makes an interesting point. Since we got our emotions from God they should be viewed as strengths - not weakness.
The wise man is not one who ‘is wise’, no one ‘is’ of themselves - only God can declare, “I AM, THAT I AM”. We are becoming wise. A mark of the wise is that they are continually becoming more wise. It’s a long process that takes a lifetime to complete. What we learn from the wise man in Ecclesiastes 10:2 is simply this:
To be wise, we must make emotion our strength. To be foolish, we make it our weakness.
As I lay in bed pondering this, it became apparent to me that to act on the depression, the feelings that assail all of us (and some of us more then other’s, albeit) regularly, to act on those feelings - would be foolish. I’d be taking my God given emotions and making them my weakness.
But! (as in: however)
To take the encouragement I found in His word, acknowledge my lack of wisdom in this area and ask for it (James 1:5), and act on that emotion - there was my strength! There was my one-more-step-towards-wisdom!
So as I thought about this, about how much God has given me and the blessings that I have to live a godly life (Ephesians 1:3), I couldn’t help but understand that it is my duty as a human to harvest ‘good’ emotions - and to make those emotions my strength. Even in a time (like this morning) when I lacked those emotion, to go to God’s Word and ask for them. To realize that to let myself act out on anything based in depression, anxiety, anger, strife or envy was wrong. To rather NOT act until God answered me - then TO act and act wrongly (an excruciatingly patient thing to do, btw).
My prayer has become simply this:
“Lord, give me strength over my emotions to make them my strength and not my weakness."
Emotions are good: use them the way they were meant to be used.