How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You. (Psalm 139:17–18—NKJV)

“Thinking of you” is a common class of greeting card designed to show that you care. It is appropriate to send when distance separates two people, when a person is going through sickness or some particularly challenging things in life, and when it has been a while since there has been a communication between two people. Sometimes you will use the phrase to let people know you will be in prayer for them. You will find yourself saying the words when you want to let our kids know that they are “in your thoughts” as they set out in life.

The sentiment means to communicate that you are never as far away from someone as the physical distance between you feels. But the problem is that as sincere as your heart means to be, the distance is still a factor; other obligations have taken priority, and your help may be slow in coming. Not so with God.

David, as he pens Psalm 139, is reflecting on the superlative nature, abilities, and quality of God. God’s omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience and His holiness captivate his thoughts as David speaks of God’s thorough and intimate knowledge of his heart. Only an infinite God can have such expansive thoughts.

There are four phrases in these two verses. Each phrase frames something infinite about the thoughts of God towards His loved ones. They can be outlined as follows: 1) How Precious! 2) How Great! 3) How Numberless! 4) How Certain!

How Precious! The word means weighty in quality and quantity. You know the age-old sense that what is heavier is stronger built and therefore more valuable and endurable. Who is it that is thinking of you? The very source of the thoughts sets the value of those thoughts apart from any similar sentiment of human origin. Jeremiah 29:11 reads, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” The infinite God is easily capable of total cognition of your finite life and the finite lives of all those who are His. His thoughts are not just kindly and fond; His thoughts are all encompassing, establishing a plan concerning you that knows all the chess moves of your life from eternity past to eternity future. Now those are the kind of thoughts worthy of God and worthy of eternal praise.

How Great! Literally, “how strong are the heads of them.” “Heads” would be the headings, subjects, topics of God’s many thoughts about you. God is not just occupied with “thinking of you;” He is occupied with a vast sum of topics of great importance to your welfare, your salvation, your development, your growth, your interest, your durability, your defense, your victory. Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His Own Son…how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

How Numberless! The sand on the seashore is beyond number in its apparent infinity—only God is capable of that kind of thought life. When He thinks it is done. Psalm 40:5 explains, “Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”

How Certain! Even when we forget Him, He cannot forget His own (Hebrews 13:5). Every single believer is ever under His watchful eye, in His mighty hand, and on His infinite mind. How undeserving we are! How blessed!

Now you are equipped to understand David’s final words in the psalm, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Trust and obey.