By Julian Wells
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:17 NIV)
I am a big fan of the Psalms. I read through them at least twice each year, turn to them often when the inevitable trials of life strike, and reference them frequently in my writings.
I am especially fond of the psalms of David. And of those, Psalm 139 is certainly one of my favorites. David, a man after God’s own heart, pours out his heart to God in Psalm 139 with refreshing honesty and passion – qualities that I continually strive to attain in my own writing.
David’s words convey genuine amazement and wonder toward the God he loves and knows personally and unquestioning acceptance of the divine mysteries he is unable to comprehend.
“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. … Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely O Lord. … Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (Psalm 139:1-2, 4, 6 NIV)
As I encountered Psalm 139 again recently in my morning devotions, the verse that heads this post resonated in my heart quite like never before. It kept echoing in my mind until I sat down to begin drafting this post.
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
As you read through the account of David’s life in 1 & 2 Samuel and digest all the psalms that he wrote, you quickly get the sense that time alone with God was a passion and a priority for David. God’s thoughts were precious to him. They were his lifeblood.
And the same should be true for us if we wish to live a life that is truly pleasing to God and that serves God’s purpose in our own generation as David did in his. (Acts 13:36) The enemy will work tirelessly to prevent that from happening. And in today’s digital environment, he has many tools at his disposal.
That is why for many years I have made it a daily practice to schedule time alone with God first thing every morning – even if that meant getting up at 4:30 a.m. before my daily commute into Washington, DC. I believe that was David’s practice as well.
“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” (Psalm 5:3 NIV)
It was also the example our Lord modeled when he made his dwelling among us:
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35 NIV)
In the morning I’m best able to guard that time alone with God from distraction or interference. Like David, I need that daily divine connection like I need oxygen.
I need it to ground myself in God’s truth before I am bombarded with the world’s lies. I need it for divine direction in a world that seems to have lost its way. I need it to find hope in the face of the world’s desperation. I need it to experience God’s perfect peace in the midst of the world’s chaos.
But mostly, I need it because God’s thoughts are precious to me. And the closer I grow to him, the clearer I hear his still small voice amidst all the surrounding noise.
” Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV)