*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Psalm 139:17-18 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Psalm 139:17
  • Psalm 139:18

God’s thoughts are innumerable and valuable. It is impossible to know or understand them all. However, they do not prevent Him from always being with David.

With everything that God knows about us (see previous commentary on v. 13-16 ), David marvels at how precious God’s thoughts are. God’s thoughts have immense value and their mere existence is worth revering. Everything that exists began in the thoughts of God, so that it is hard to understand how vast is the sum of them. The things that God knows are so numerous that if we should count them, they would outnumber the sand.

How do we know God’s thoughts? By listening to Him. God speaks to us in many ways. His creation speaks to us, if we have the ears to hear (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:19-20). His written word speaks to us, if we have ears to hear (James 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16; Revelation 3:19-20).

David is emphasizing two things: first, that God’s thoughts ought to be of great value to us and worthy of our contemplation; and second, that God’s thoughts are too numerous for us to know, let alone for us to try and understand them all. Yet, when we listen to God, we gain immense benefit.

With all that God knows and all that He is, He does not forget us. David knows that he can fall asleep every night with confidence, saying that when I awake, I am still with You. God does not take His relationship with us lightly. Since He exists outside of the confines of space and time, He is there when we go to bed and when we wake up, not neglecting us for other things.

Biblical Text

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

Check out our other commentaries:

  • James 2:14–17 meaning

    Faith Without Works is Unhelpful. James illustrates how it is not useful to have faith but to fail to take action. If someone is suffering,......
  • Matthew 11:25-27 meaning

    Jesus prays to His Father in Heaven, revealing His relationship to God as His Son. And as the Son’s identity is revealed by the Father......
  • 1 Samuel 8:19-22 meaning

    Despite God’s warnings to the Israelites that a king will oppress them, they refuse to listen, and finalize their request for a human monarch. They......
  • Galatians 4:17-20 meaning

    Paul tells the Galatians that the false teachers are leading them astray. These teachers are excluding them in order to get them to want to......
  • Exodus 30:22-33 meaning

    This passage concerns the oil used for anointing. Following the introduction, the LORD specifies how to make the anointing oil. ......