Psalms 139:17 “How precious also are your thoughts unto me, O God, how great is the sum of them.”
Today I was researching my book A Hebrew Teachers Explores God’s Heart in the Marriage Relationship.Listening to a story of a relationship where one’s love was betrayed, I could not help but think that no matter how close we may be to someone, a parent or a spouse, we can never really know for certain what their thoughts really are. Divorce courts are full of people who wish they could have known the real thoughts of their spouses or ex-spouses.
Yet, here we have David speaking of God and saying: how precious also are your thoughts unto me. Did David really know the thoughts of God? Can we really be certain of God’s thoughts for us? Is it possible we can know the thoughts of God when we cannot even be certain of the thoughts of someone that is very close to us? Perhaps this word in the Hebrew rendered as thoughts suggest something else, maybe something even more profound? The word for thoughts that is used here in the Hebrew is a strange word to be used in this context. It is the wordra’ah. This ra’ah is spelled Resh Ayin Hei. There is another ra’ah which means to see which is spelled Resh Aleph Hei. That ra’ah would make more sense than this ra’ah. At least I can stretch that ra’ah with the Aleph to suggest that thoughts are seeing of the mind or something like that. But this ra’ah is a common word for evil.Obviously David was not referring to an evil nature of God that was precious to him. This word ra’ah is rendered as an evil in the sense that you have a consuming passion for something that causes you to forget everything else such as family, friends, job etc. In the application to God in this passage what David is saying is that he is the object of God’s all consuming passion. I don’t see much evil in that.
You know I learned from my research today that if you really love someone and share your heart with them, they do not need to read your thoughts, you will tell them your thoughts. If God has a consuming passion for us then we do not need to read the thoughts of God, He will share them with us, if we listen close enough and listen with your heart.
If we are a consuming passion for God it stands to reason that He not only shares his thoughts with us but Hewants to share His thoughts with us, He longs to let us know what is in His heart and to keep us out of trouble. The only thing blocking us from hearing His thoughts is that He has given us a free will. God delivered Israel from the Egyptians, He provided for them, parted the Red Sea for them and just a few days later when their water ran out they began to complain talking like God did not care. We say this murmuring made God angry, yet if we really look at from the standpoint of this consuming passion, I would say they broke God’s heart. Once you trust someone enough to share your heart and that person betrays your trust, you are not too anxious to share your thoughts with that person again.
David is saying that this consuming passion of God is precious him. The word in Hebrew for precious is yakar which means priceless. There is an old saying: “Every man has his price.” If you had your choice of winning a billion dollar lottery and becoming a billionaire or being the object of God’s consuming passion, which would you take? I am sure for a Christian the answer is obvious, yet we live as if we do not possess something more than the sum of all the treasuries of this world.
There is something even more important than the fact that we have a Heavenly Father who will share His heart or thoughts with us. It is that He wants and longs to share His heart with us. The next time we face a Red Sea on one side and the Egyptians bearing down on us on the other side, rather than sit and complain, fret or worry perhaps we should consider God’s heart and say: “God, you long to watch over me to share your heart with me so now here’s your chance.”
That last phrase, how great is the sum of them, is literally translated as how strong are the heads of them. That could mean many things. However, in context of my rendering of thoughts as passions I would suggest what David is saying is that God has numerous desires or passions for us. His desires or passions for us are so numerous, it is like the sand of the sea but for him the chief passion is the strongest or greatest. The following verses suggest that the greatest passion of God is to share His thoughts with us, thoughts meant to protect us and save us from our enemies, so He can have us all to Himself. Of course the greatest enemy is Satan. It cost Jesus his life to protect us from that enemy, and his primary thought of protection should be quite obvious to any of us who has accepted Him into our lives and have grown to love Him.