Psalm 139:17-18 - The Verses Project

Bible Psalm 139:17-18

Posted June 16, 2014

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

We’re currently on our eighth week memorizing Psalm 139! This week’s verses build on last week’s foundation in verses 15 and 16 which remind us our God is the frame and future forming God. These particular verses shed light for us on the psalmist’s reaction to God’s prior action and providential work in his life.


Whereas early on in this chapter, the psalmist largely reflected on God’s knowledge of His thoughts, he now turns his attention to his knowledge of God’s thoughts. In particular, the psalmist says that God’s thoughts are precious to him. While we might think of God’s thoughts as true, oh, that we would think of them as precious! Would they be valuable treasures to us, that we search for, take hold of, meditate on, and then share joyfully with others. Charles Spurgeon reflected, “It is a joy worth worlds that the Lord should think upon us who are so poor and needy: it is a joy which fills our whole nature to think upon God; returning love for love, thought for thought, after our poor fashion. How great is the sum of them! When we remember that God thought upon us from old eternity, continues to think upon us every moment, and will think of us when time shall be no more, we may well exclaim, ‘How great is the sum!’ Thoughts such as are natural to the Creator, the Preserver, the Redeemer, the Father, the Friend, are evermore flowing from the heart of the Lord. Thoughts of our pardon, renewal, upholding, supplying, educating, perfecting, and a thousand more kinds perpetually well up in the mind of the Most High. It should fill us with adoring wonder and reverent surprise that the infinite mind of God should turn so many thoughts towards us who are so insignificant and so unworthy!”

Vast & Innumerable

Not only are God’s thoughts precious to the psalmist, but they are also vast and innumerable! While human thoughts are finite and searchable by God, God’s thoughts are infinite and unsearchable by mankind. Imagine a child attempting to count the grains of sand at the beach! However, just because we can’t count them or know all them doesn’t mean we can’t know some of them. God, in His great mercy, has made Himself known in Scripture, through His Son, and by His Spirit. JI Packer commented that while we can’t know God fully, we can know Him truly. May this truth both humble us, but also lead us to press on to know this God who’s made and makes Himself known!


As the psalmist meditates on the precious truth of God’s presence, he is led to a place of intimacy with God as he thinks on His nearness to him at all times. Bruce Walke commented, “‘With you’ connotes presence and community. Lovitt says: ‘it connotes a mutuality based on participation in an inclusive reality or relationship.’” Be it lying on our physical beds, or on our death beds, God’s faithful presence with us can’t help but bring great hope to the Christian who’s found a home in Christ through faith in Him. May the thought of His presence be precious to us.


Song by Ryan Delmore.
Recorded and produced by Drew Barefoot.
Artwork by Chris Wright.