What would it be like to count every single grain of sand on earth? A few things that come to mind for me when I imagine it are overwhelming, pointless, intriguing, impossible, exciting, incredible. Quite the mixed bag of emotions. It’d be a never-ending endeavor. Literally. We’d never reach the finish, because there is an unfathomable amount of sand, and we are extremely unequipped for the task in just about every way.
“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.” Psalm 139: 1-18
Notice the similarity?
According to King David, God’s thoughts are as vast as the sand— even more than the sand, actually. Now from one angle, this seems pretty defeating. When you realize that while you’re on this earth, you’ll never fully understand everything about Him, that you’ll never be able to gain every grain of knowledge of God’s mind, of God’s works, of God’s ways, of God’s plans, it’s easy to become quickly intimidated and discouraged. Because nope, we never will fully get Him or know everything about who He is and what He’s done and what He’s doing.
But that’s not what David’s focusing on. That’s not what his point is in this prayer. In fact, what he’s getting at is much less depressing, and much more comforting.
God’s mind and His ways are so grand, unfathomable, and good that it should make our hearts melt with praise, ease, and trust. Read why below.
The Lord has been so merciful to us, to grant us all the knowledge we need to be confident about four crucial, unchanging facts about His character: He is omnipotent, He is good, He loves us, and He is faithful. Knowing just these four wonderful, ridiculous things (although there are many more wonderful things He’s taught us) should spark within us a myriad of emotions: comfort, thankfulness, joy, trust, peace, hope, encouragement, confidence, and the list goes on. Not quite the same as the feelings listed above.
What’s happening in David’s mind and heart in these two verses? He realizes what we just realized, and is rejoicing and praising God for it. Remember the context of these lines. From the beginning of this chapter until this spot, David has been reminding himself that there’s no place that God cannot reach Him or where He isn’t present, and that God is sovereign and all-knowing, as He’s planned all things according to His will—even our lives. As you’ll see in the next couple of verses, David’s also in a bit of trouble lately, and I think it’s safe to say that he’s a little on edge about it all. At this point in his life, he was in present danger, and probably had been for a while. He didn’t know what would happen, or what God’s plan was. But still, in light of all of this, he’s recklessly rejoicing in the Creator God. Why?
Because all he really needs to know is that His God is omnipotent, that He’s good, that He loves David, and that He’s faithful.
He knew that God was omnipotent because of all His incredible works in both his life and in the lives of others. He knew that God was good because of all that He’d done for David and others, and because of all of His promises and works of mercy and grace in his life and in the lives of others. He knew that God loved him because of all of the ways that He’d had mercy on him, forgiven him, provided for him, and because of the covenant that He made with him. He knew that God was faithful, because of all the times that He’d delivered him and others as well.
Don’t we know these things about God even more?
We know that God is omnipotent because His Word tells us of it and we see it in our lives and in the lives of others. We know that God is good because His Word tells us of it and we see it in our lives and in the lives of others. We know that God loves us because His Word tells us of it, we see it in our lives and in the lives of others, and He sent the promised Savior while we were still in our own sin, uninterested in Him. We know that He is faithful because His Word tells us of it, we see it in our lives and in the lives of others, and He has never left one promise—not even the smallest of promises—unfulfilled. Ever.
LISTEN guys: there is comfort and joy to be found in accepting that God’s mind is too big to migrate. There is comfort and joy in realizing that His works and His thoughts are too many for us to count, too much for us to understand. It should cause us to gladly, recklessly, joyfully surrender all anxiety, fear, doubt about anything because we know the character of the One who knows.
The thoughts of His that He has given us the mercy to know, understand, and believe should be precious to us as they were to David. We should love them, cherish them, even crave them with passion. We should not take them for granted.
We needn’t know it all. We only need to trust in Him who does. That’s a relief.