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THOUGHTS THAT DIVIDE AND DISTRACT: A Biblical View of Anxiety

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My mother’s favorite Psalm was Psalm 139. She especially loved the last two verses, 23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” She also loved the hymn we sang with these words put to an old tune. As I grew, I came to love this Psalm and make it my own and it became my favorite Psalm, too. It’s interesting that the New King James Version uses the word anxieties where the KJV uses thoughts. The Hebrew word is saraph and means “disquieting thoughts, thoughts.” This word is found also, in Psalm 94:19: “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” The root word for saraph is caiph and means “ambivalence, division, divided opinion.” Strong’s Definition says “divided (in mind), i.e. (abstractly) a sentiment: —opinion. In other words, these are thoughts that divide and distract, thoughts that cause us to be anxious because they bring doubt and