How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Friday, October 26, 2012

How Precious Are Your Thoughts, Pt. 2

Here’s the continuation of Tuesday’s post:

Word number six in Psalm 139:17 is another mah, meaning how, only pronounced a little differently: meh. Remember, this refers to something that is unknown, something that might have an unlimited volume. This time it goes with ats’mu. The root atsam means abundance, so the translation of “vast” really hits the mark! The Hebrew words for bone and strength come from that same root, by the way, so obviously the type of abundance we’re thinking about is one that brings strength. There’s strength in numbers. So, since it’s Yahweh’s thoughts that are being described, we see through this word that they’re numerous and empowering. If we would just embrace all of them, there would be no room in our lives for sin - and just think how strong we would be with our hearts and actions completely taken up with His ways! The very last word completes the second phrase of the verse, showing the parallelism that defines Hebrew poetry. Rasheyhem is translated “the sum of them,” referring, of course, to Yahweh’s thoughts. The root is rosh and means “head.” I asked myself, “How do you get head to mean sum here?” and the answer, I think, is in the wording of the command in Exodus to take a census of the Israelites. Exodus 30:12 - “When you take a census of the sons of Israel” is literally “when you lift up the head,” a Hebrew idiom. So now that makes sense! David, the Psalmist of 139, “took a census” of Yahweh’s precious thoughts and found them beyond number.

My mom, when she’s done studying a verse, likes to translate it as an Amplified Bible might, so I’ll try my hand at it: “To me, how desirable and costly are Your profoundest thoughts, God! How abundant and strong is their sum total!” And how hard it is to fathom them, Lord, for You are more than we can fathom.

“How great You are, how small I am.

How awesome is Your mighty hand,

And I am captured by the wonder of it all.

And I will offer all my praise

With all my heart, for all my days.

How great You are, how great You are, how great You are!”

- chorus toHow Great You Are" by Phillips, Craig, and Dean

Even though God’s ways are unsearchable - our deepest digging only scratches the surface - we should still be occupied with trying. We should be so in love with Yahweh that we never cease striving to know Him more and more. And with true knowledge comes changed lives.

Writing is one of the best ways for me to seek after Yahweh. It’s how I process things. When I sit down to write, the responsibility is before me to convey the world how Yahweh sees it. I doubt I would ponder it as much as I should if I didn’t write.

I believe that is one of the deepest reasons why I write.

And that is why Psalm 139:17 is at the top of my blog.


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