A Penny for Your Thoughts, Lord?
Today I was thinking about what the Lord has on His mind… “A penny for your thoughts, Lord?”
The saying “a penny for your thoughts” is an old English idiom. The usage of this phrase dates as far back as the Middle Ages as a regular part of English conversation. It is used for politely asking a quiet and contemplative person who appears deep in thought to volunteer what is on their mind at that moment. I know that my wife and I have used this expression with each other on many occasions. It is only natural to want to know what is on the mind of someone you love. God designed us this way. It is just what love does. How much more should we want to know what is on God’s mind because His thoughts are “very deep”!
Psalm 92:5 O Lord, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep.
Throughout the Bible, God unfolds His mind for us “here a little and there a little” (Isa 28:10). God passionately wants us to know Him, and for that reason, He designed man with “eternity in his heart” (Eccl 3:14) so that we could never be totally satisfied without knowing Him more and more.
In all the Bible, there is no other portion of Scripture like Psalms. It is a magnificent songbook of prayer, praise, and worship in which we can discover in wonderful ways what is on God’s mind. Though penned by David, the “sweet Psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam 23:1-2), and a few other men, Psalms is entirely authored by the Holy Spirit (as is all of God’s Word – 2 Pet 1:20-21):
2 Samuel 23:1-2 Now these are the last words of David. Thus says David the son of Jesse; Thus says the man raised up on high, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel: “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, And His Word was on my tongue.”
Now throughout the Old Testament, we see the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, during Creation (Gen 1:1), and moving upon different ones of God’s people. However, on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was sent for a very specific purpose: to prepare a Bride (the Church) for Jesus Christ. It is the Spirit’s urgent mission to lead us “into all truth” and unveil more and more of who Jesus is, what He did, what He is doing, and what is on His mind:
John 16:13-14 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth… He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare [“reveal (AMP) reveal, disclose, transmit” –Amplified Bible] it to you.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But GOD HAS REVEALED THEM TO US through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the DEEP THINGS of God.
In Psalms, the Holy Spirit was quite pleased to unveil many of God’s most intimate thoughts toward those who seek Him. A “penny” for God’s thoughts goes a long way in this precious book placed right in the center of the Bible.
Never Any Fickleness!
The word for “thought” in Hebrew can also be translated as “intention, purpose, aim, plans.” Most of us have experienced the frustration of someone making elaborate and even costly plans with us, only to change their mind at the last minute. We would usually call such a person “fickle.”
One thing is absolutely certain for all time and eternity: God is not fickle-minded! He does not feel one way on Monday and another way on Friday! He never makes a plan or a promise that He does not keep. God is omnipotent and He can do what He pleases, but there is one thing that is absolutely impossible for God:
Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life which God, WHO CANNOT LIE, promised before time began.
In the Scriptures, there are two aspects of God’s character revealed which help us understand that He does not flip-flop in His thinking:
(1) His Immutability
First of all, Scripture declares that God is immutable. God can change the heavens and the earth, but He Himself is not among the things which He changes:
Psalm 102:25-27 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, BUT YOU WILL ENDURE; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. BUT YOU ARE THE SAME, And Your years will have no end.
Malachi 3:6 (KJV) For I am the Lord, I CHANGE NOT.
If God was One given to changeability in any way, it would completely destabilize our ability to trust in Him and His promises. His faithfulness would be utterly compromised. For this reason, in James, we are urged not to err in our thinking concerning God’s goodness and His unchangeability:
James 1:16-17 (KJV) Do not err [“or be deceived” NKJV], my beloved brethren. Every GOOD GIFT and every perfect gift is from above, And cometh down from the Father of lights, With whom is NO VARIABLENESS, NEITHER SHADOW OF TURNING.
(2) His Omniscience
Secondly, the Scriptures reveal that God is omniscient.
Humanly speaking, one’s change of mind is always due to obtaining new knowledge. However, our God is “perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16), and He “knows ALL things” (1 John 3:20). Therefore, He will never discover any extra knowledge that would alter His way of thinking:
Acts 15:18 Known to God from eternity are ALL His works.
Some have tried explaining the Gospel by declaring that since Plan A did not work with Adam and Eve, God switched to “Plan B” and sent His only Son to die for humankind. However, this would be a misrepresentation of God’s character. God did not change His mind. God has always been and always will be on “Plan A.” In God’s foreknowledge, Jesus is the “Lamb slain before the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8), as Peter also confirms:
1 Peter 1:18-20
Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…
But with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
He indeed was foreordained BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you.
Omniscience can neither be augmented nor diminished. Therefore, God’s Omniscience rules out the idea that He could ever change His mind.
Psalm 33:11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans [thoughts, intention, purpose, aim] of His heart to all generations.
God never has and never will have the need to change His mind. There is absolutely nothing “fickle” about our God. We can trust Him forever! Hallelujah!
Tuning Our Thoughts to His Thoughts
Evidence that our understanding of God’s thoughts is maturing is that we’ll experience a growing willingness to surrender our thoughts and abandon our lives in love unto Him “who first loves us.” After David describes all of God’s many precious thoughts (Psalm 139:17-18), he then opens up His thoughts and heart to God:
Psalms 139:23-24 (KJV) Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Other Scriptures also tell us the importance of surrendering our thoughts to God.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.
2 Corinthians 10:5 …bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Psalm 119:113 (KJV) I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.
Psalm 119:59 (KJV) I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
God literally invites us to think like He thinks:
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 2:16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
The First and Great Commandment – to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind – is so much easier to obey when we discover in the Word that God first loved us with all His heart, all His soul, and ALL His mind (Deu 6:5; Mat 22:37-38; 1 John 4:19). And everything God does for us is with His ALL:
Jeremiah 32:40-41 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them… Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, And I will assuredly plant them in this land, with ALL My heart and with ALL My soul.
Adam and Eve were originally created and skillfully designed to grow and mature into thinking as God thinks. Sadly, their disobedience and sin in the Garden of Eden corrupted that design in mankind. But, oh, how God loves us! The plentiful redemption that God purchased on the Cross through His Son, Jesus Christ, is all we need to be restored. Once a person has been born again, baptized in water, and baptized with the Holy Spirit, God begins to transform us by the renewing our minds:
Colossians 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.
Colossians 3:1-2 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Romans 8:5-6 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be SPIRITUALLY MINDED is LIFE and PEACE.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the RENEWING of your MIND, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Fretting Fades Away
Another benefit of studying Scripture to learn what is on God’s mind is that doubt, anxiety, and worry all begin to fade away like shadows when the morning sun begins to shine:
Psalm 94:18-19 (KJV) When I said, My foot slippeth; Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts [“anxieties” – NKJV] within me Thy comforts delight my soul.
Keeping our mind “stayed” on God’s thoughts as found in His Word will cultivate a trust and assurance in God which will keep us in “perfect peace”:
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
And that “peace that passes all understanding” will, in turn, preserve our hearts and minds in Christ:
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
God NEVER Daydreams
There is nothing vain or empty about God’s thoughts. No one has ever caught Him daydreaming! Every single thought of His results in action. God thinks. God speaks what He thinks. And what God thinks and speaks will come to pass!
Isaiah 14:24 The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, And as I have purposed, so it shall stand.”
Isaiah 55:8-11 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
God’s Thoughts are Toward Us
Over our past 34 years of marriage, I remember precious times when I would catch my wonderful wife staring blankly with a quiet, sweet state of reflection upon her face. Not wanting to startle her, I would gently whisper in her ear, “Hey, Tica, whatcha thinking about?” Oh, how it thrilled my heart when she would turn, look directly at me with her big, brown, Spanish eyes, and say, “You, David! I am thinking about You!” Wow! Whatever else may have been going on that day in my life immediately slipped out the back door! What beautiful, restful assurance her words would flood my heart and mind.
Should it be any different between us and our Beloved Bridegroom, Jesus? Just ask Him and find out:
“Dear Jesus, whatcha thinking about? What’s on Your mind right now?”
And Jesus turns and looks at us with His fiery eyes of love and says quietly, yet passionately, “You! You are on my mind.” Hallelujah!
Well, it seems that Psalmist David also took time to ask, “A penny for Your thoughts, Lord?” And look what he discovered:
Psalm 40:17 But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me.
Psalm 8:4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
Job dives in even deeper. He declares that the trials through which he found himself are proof that God sets His heart upon mankind:
Job 7:17-18 What is man, that You should exalt him, That You should set Your heart on him, That You should visit him every morning, And test him every moment?
Yet another penny for God’s thoughts reveals He has an innumerable multitude of thoughts toward us, and every one of those thoughts is precious:
Psalms 40:5 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 *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.
In Hebrew, the word “precious” literally means “to be weighty.” It can also be translated as “to esteem, to be prized, to be valuable, to be costly.” What an excellent way to describe God’s thoughts toward us.
In Jeremiah, we discover even more about the precious thoughts of God’s marvelous mind toward us:
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts [intention, purpose, aim, plans], that I think toward you, says the Lord, Thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
When God says, “I know the thoughts I think toward you,” it reveals that His thought processes are not random. Instead, they are wholly purposeful, sincerely strategic, and deeply intentional. Furthermore, they are thoughts for our peace [“shalom”] and a bright, hopeful future.
What a wonderful God! And what beautiful thoughts run through His marvelous mind!
What’s on Your mind today, dear Lord?
Another penny for Your thoughts?