17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
I am nowhere near celebrating my birthday this year, and yet that is what was on my mind this morning. Not that I feel like I am getting old. Yes, the joints ache now and then in the morning, and my back isn’t what it used to be, but generally I don’t feel nearly as “old” as some people my age. No, today my contemplation of birthdays was spurred by something that the Lord said to Job:
1 “Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young?
Or can you mark when the deer gives birth?
2 “Can you number the months that they fulfill?
Or do you know the time when they bear young?”
Far and few are the times when a person is on hand to witness the birth of a wild animal. For all the work we give to veterinarians and farmers to help our livestock and pets give safe birth, there is no one to watch over the deer of the forest, the bison of the plains, the fish in the sea, or the birds singing outside my window. For all our human understanding of natural laws and biology and physiology and such, we must admit that we cannot mark every birth nor explain how one creature survives and another does not. Only God is there to oversee them all. Only He witnesses every birth. Only He marks every birthday.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
As David notes in today’s verses, God’s thoughts are numberless. The Lord is constantly aware of all that is going on in the world–the birth of the onager, the death of a sparrow, the secret way of a man with a woman, the bright recesses of a heart sold out to Christ. He knows all we are–our heights and depths, our light and darkness, our joys and sorrows, our fears and loves.
He knows our inmost being, and He knows when and how our hearts and minds wander from thoughts of Him. And yet His thoughts never wander from us.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
Even as we sleep, the Lord our God does not, and when we awake, His thoughts are ever toward us–ever loving, ever merciful. He marks every moment of our lives and even knows them beforehand, and He keeps thinking of us, placing us first in His list of priorities.
29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
30 “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
And so, of course, the Psalmist exclaims “How precious are Your thoughts to me, O God!” How could we not love a God who considers us so intensely and unceasingly? How could we not look to Him even as He looks to us? How could we ignore the God whose handiwork is written across the heavens?
And yet we DO ignore Him, and we DO forget Him, and we DO turn away from Him even as He does not turn away from us. Our thoughts wander from His laws and His will. Our dreams of the future often do not include Him. Our desires for fleshly, worldly things drive all thought of our Creator from our minds. And yet nothing can drive us from His mind!
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
And nothing can separate us from His love!
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Yes, how precious are His thoughts because His thoughts are of US!
Today, as we go out into the world and think your own thoughts about anniversaries and birthdays and appointments and deadlines and all manner of things on our calendars, let us remember the Lord our God, whose thoughts are ever about us. Let us think of Him as we walk along the road, as we get up and as we lie down, as we teach our children and speak with our friends and coworkers. Let us always consider Him and seek His face. And even as we lie down tonight, may we always remember that when we wake in the morning, we are still with Him.
Heavenly Father, thank You for always considering me, and for giving me new mercies every morning. Thank You for the freshness of every day, so that I may start anew my search for Your will. Guide me, O Lord, and keep me on the path of the way everlasting. Amen.