While reading this morning, I looked up Psalm 139 in eSword. Normally, I read the ESV version but mistakenly clicked on the ERV (Easy to Read Version). What I read there moved me deeply:
“You formed the way I think and feel.” (Psalms 139:13a ERV)
Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, the message I received from the world is that being different, specifically being emotional, gentle, compassionate and artistic, etc., was contrary to expectations for a boy. To make sure I got the message, there were any number of emotional and physical bullies who seemed intent on beating the gentility out of me, one way or another, in order to “make a man out of me”. I hadn’t realized until this morning, just how much that has affected me, even now as an older man.
Most translations render the passage “For thou hast possessed my reins” or “For you formed my inward parts” which often I’ve taken to mean God made my internal organs, etc.
That God formed the way I think and feel is revelational for me, even liberating.
A primitive root; to erect, that is, create; by extension to procure, especially by purchase (causatively sell); by implication to own: – attain, buy (-er), teach to keep cattle, get, provoke to jealousy, possess (-or), purchase, recover, redeem, X surely, X verily.
Feminine of H3627 (only in the plural); a kidney (as an essential organ); figuratively the mind (as the interior self): – kidneys, reins.
In fact, I’m blown away by the words “possessed” and “reins” and how they relate to the ERV’s translation “formed the way I think and feel”. To “possess” my “reins” suggests to me that the way I “think and feel” is the means by which the Lord has bridled me and guides me along the path He has chosen.
God made me deeply emotional and a person of conscience, which compels me to examine myself and to work through conflict and seek reconciliation. He has also made me observant and inquisitive, which motivate me to search for truth. Thus the way I think and feel helps to form the character and person God wants me to become.
His word has reduced me to tears this morning, over the number of times I’ve gone to Him in prayer and asked forgiveness, for the way I think and feel together with begging Him to change me. For me to have prayed so, was to ask Him to conform me to the demands of the world, rather than be conformed to the will of God for me.
And so today, through accidentally clicking on a translation I rarely ever read, He has freed me to give thanks for how He has made me and I can stop beating myself up over it. Though I may not be the man the world expects, I am the man God has made.
So thank you Lord, for making me as I am. I shall never again despise that which you have formed in me.