“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”
In this prayer, David uses his relationship with God to settle his soul. This is the practice of prayer and one of its great values. David was a man who went through many trials. From being a fugitive from justice, to betraying his friend Uriah, to being betrayed by his own son, David had a number of painful and troublesome life experiences. But through them all David used his relationship with God to settle his soul. In the end David could say, “No matter what happens, no matter how I am startled from without and within, God is still with me and I am still with Him.”
To understand these verses you need to start with the last phrase, “when I awake, I am still with thee.” The word “awake” comes from a Hebrew word that means to be abruptly wakened or startled. What David is saying becomes clear when you understand this. David says “I am always with God and God is always with me no matter what my condition.”
Life is full of surprises. Other people can surprise you, circumstances can startle you, and even your own behavior can shock you. What can we hold to in a changing world and a constantly shifting life? The answer is to be found in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In these verses the Bible teaches that God Himself, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, thinks of you. He cares about you and He is working in your life. The idea that God focuses His attention on you ought to, among many things, give you great joy and confidence.
I want to invite you to look closely at these verses with me. They teach us that God’s thoughts toward us are both “precious” and “great.” This means that God’s thoughts toward you are valuable, powerful, and numerous. God thinks about you constantly. The number of his thoughts toward you is infinite. I know there are some who would say it is obnoxious for someone to say, “God spends His time thinking about me,” but this is what the Bible teaches! It is black print on white page. Though it is overwhelming (and it certainly is!) it is nonetheless true.
But this is not just anybody who thinks about you, this is God who is thinking of you! That means that His thoughts are powerful! The God who created everything from nothing by His Word is thinking of you right now. There is nothing that He can’t do and He is thinking of you. Does that not excite you and encourage you?
Therefore, God’s thoughts toward us are valuable. They are precious to us. There is actually a play on words here. David says that God’s thoughts toward him are “precious” which literally in the original means “rare” and they are “great” which literally in the original means “numerous.” God’s thoughts toward His people are infinite and yet rare. And God’s thoughts toward us are what should give us strength, confidence, and stability.
Now one final thing before we go, I know there are some people who would respond: “Yes God’s thoughts were toward David because he was a great man and the mighty king of Israel! But I am a nobody and these verses don’t apply to me.” There are two answers to that objection. Number one, you aren’t thinking rightly about David. Yes he was the king of Israel, God’s anointed, but he was a person with the same kind of problems that you have. There was nothing special about David that made God love Him. God loved David because God is special not because David was special. David was “a man after God’s own heart” but not because David was after God. David was “a man after God’s own heart” because God was after David.
And number two, you aren’t thinking rightly about yourself. You aren’t a nobody. You are important to God. Would you like to know how important? God loves you so much that He was willing to part with His Son to have you. God tells you how much He loves you by the work of Jesus Christ. This is the thought I frequently use on my own heart: In the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus prayed to His Father to “let the cup pass from Him,” God said no to His own Son so that He could have you. If that’s not important then I don’t know what is.