God's Thoughts of Us
Psalm 40:17
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks on me: you are my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.


1. Some are poor and needy through ignorance. We cannot understand —

(1)  Ourselves.

(2)  Others.

(3)  God. His providences are an unceasing mystery.

2. Some are poor and needy through guilt. Human sinfulness is like a cheque on the bank; it may go far and remain in circulation long; but it will come eventually and be presented for immediate payment. Duke Albert of Polanda, so runs the old story, bore on his armour the emblem of entire trust: just the hull of a ship, having only the main-mast and its top-piece, without any tackling or canvas whatever. But there was this motto underneath: Deus dabit vela: "God will furnish the sails." Thus he claimed that heavenly forces would be supplied with Divine instrumentality when need should arrive.


1. God thinks about us. Simpler minds than ours are often more truly devotional: the Savoyards have the beautiful name for one of their finest mountain flowers, "pain du bon Dieu," the bread of the good God; for they say that by its white and delicate blossoms it reminds them of the manna, feeding Israel in the wilderness.

2. God thinks a great deal about us. His thoughts are so many, that they "cannot be reckoned up in order" (Psalm 139:17, 18).

3. God thinks about us always very kindly. Promises are just God's thoughts stored up for men.


1. Some say that God is too far away to think of us here. Once, when a sailor had come in, saved from shipwreck, he said to those, who asked him about his days and nights out on the waters of the lonely ocean, that his greatest alarm was that God could not be made to hear up so high in the sky, beyond even the stars. Now, it is of no use to reason about this. We must just let the Lord tell us the truth in the matter; He knows, and He says that "the Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him," etc.

2. Some say that God is too great to think of us here on His footstool. It might do, perhaps, in the case of a kingdom going to pieces, or a ship driving on the rocks, or a dynasty breaking; but not in our vexations and daily disquiets. This is no way to argue. God is great; indeed, He is so great that He can look placidly down upon each one of us, as we keep coming to Him, ever kindly bidding us a morning or evening welcome; no more forgetful, no more impatient, no more worried than we are when our own boys approach us with their difficulties.

3. Some say that God is too holy to think of us here. When we think of Him as residing in the shadowless purity of heaven itself, we are hardly willing to believe He cherishes any thought for rebels like men. But then we certainly know that He hates sin; that is one point gained, at all events; for if we are sinners, God cannot possibly be indifferent to us. He cannot bear to have one speck of moral defilement anywhere within the borders of His realm. So He is gently and tenderly on the side of every man who wishes to be pure.

4. Some say that God is too happy to think of us here. He does not need us. Why should He bestir Himself or disturb Himself in any way in our behalf? Such a question shows how poorly we reason. It is true that God is happy; but something makes Him happy. His enjoyment has an intelligent basis; it has a society of companions to share it, and contribute to it. And because He desires it to continue and to increase, He is always beneficent and active, making Himself happy, everywhere sowing sunlight that He may harvest gladness from each field of the wide universe.

IV. A PRAYER FOR A FAITH OF APPROPRIATION IN OURSELVES. If God really wishes to help us, and we wish to be helped, why should there be any delay on either side?

1. Why should God tarry in taking away our daily harassments? He has told us that we are to have "no thought for the morrow," because He has all the "thoughts" that belong to it in our behalf. We have only to ask Him, and then trust Him.

2. Why should God tarry in banishing our unnecessary apprehensions? What has rendered the world more unhappy than anything else has always been some great worry anticipated, which never happened after all.

3. Why should God tarry in relieving our doubts? It is said that Shakespeare once thought himself no poet, and Paphael's heart grew silent and discouraged, so that he was overheard to say he should never be a successful painter. He who has an all-powerful helper needs only to look to Him to keep His promises.

4. Why should God tarry in removing our disciplines? One day, when the young lad Goethe came from church, where he had listened to a sermon in which an attempt was made to justify the Divine goodness, his father asked him what he thought of the explanation. "Why," said this extraordinary youth, "the matter may be much simpler than the clergyman thinks; God knows very well that an immortal soul can never receive any injury from a mortal accident." Why not trust Him with our whole souls, then?

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

WEB: But I am poor and needy. May the Lord think about me. You are my help and my deliverer. Don't delay, my God. For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David.

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