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What is the significance that God knows our anxious thoughts (Psalm 139:23)?

God knows our anxious thoughts

The omniscience of God means He knows us better than we know ourselves. In Psalm 139:23–24, David prayed for God to examine his heart and mind to peel back any layers of self-deception. Only then would David fully recognize the offenses he should confess and the burdens he needed to hand over to God: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:23–24, NLT).

David possibly had these words from Jeremiah 17:9–10 in mind as he prayed: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve” (NLT). David frequently asked God to know his anxious thoughts so that He could make them known to David (see Psalm 26:2; 7:9; 17:3).

“Test me,” David asked. Behind the word test in Psalm 139:23 is a Hebrew verb that means “to put to the test in order to ascertain the nature of something, including imperfections, faults, or other qualities.” As a skilled refiner might test the quality of metal to discover its impurities and deficiencies, God could test David. David wanted his offensive thoughts and ways brought to the surface so they could be dealt with, repented of, and purified from him.

Our anxious thoughts offend God because they are rooted in a lack of trust in Him and His purposes. Anxious thoughts are any thoughts that cause a person to be troubled, disturbed, or disquieted. Anxious thoughts show that we are too focused on ourselves and the cares of this world. Jesus told His disciples, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25; see also Matthew 6:34). Instead, Christ counseled them to focus on God and “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to [them] as well” (Matthew 6:33).

Jesus invited believers to trust Him with their problems and worries: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NLT). The disciple Peter echoed, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). “The Lord is near,” encouraged the apostle Paul. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5–7). This sentiment circles back to David in Psalm 55:22: “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

God knows that our anxious thoughts weigh us down and lead us away from Him (Psalm 37:8; Proverbs 12:25; Matthew 13:22; Luke 10:40–42). But those who trust in Him and fix their thoughts on Him are kept in His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). The prophet affirms, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7–8).

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What is the significance that God knows our anxious thoughts (Psalm 139:23)?
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This page last updated: June 10, 2024