Psalm 94:11
The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Clearly the reference is not a general one, to the common and usual thoughts of men, but a special one to the particular thoughts about the delay of God's vindication of the oppressed, which was at the time distressing the psalmist (see ver. 7). The idea that God does not regard the suffering of his people, and will not intervene in their behalf, is characterized as "vanity," a foolish, baseless, and altogether unsound notion. This idea concerning God is sometimes the doubt of the pious soul, as in Isaiah 40:27; here it is the reproach of the ungodly. The doubt of the pious soul is properly met by Divine comfortings and assurances; the reproach of the ungodly is properly met by scornful and withering reproof. "So far from 'not seeing,' 'not regarding,' as these brutish persons fondly imagine, Jehovah reads their inmost thoughts and devices, as he reads the hearts of all men, even though for a time they are unpunished" (see 1 Corinthians 3:20).

I. SUCH THOUGHTS ARE VANITY BECAUSE THEY ARE UNTRUE. They do not answer to the facts. If God be God, he must know what is going on; he must be controlling everything; he must be working toward the blessing of the good. Such thoughts are untrue if tested

(1) by right knowledge of God;

(2) by the assurances and promises of God;

(3) by the history of his dealings with men;

(4) by the personal experiences of believers.

II. SUCH THOUGHTS ARE VANITY BECAUSE THEY ARE UNWORTHY. The men who encourage them are not in a right state of mind. Men ought to trust God, not doubt him. Men ought to be quick to observe everything that can nourish confidence. If God's ways ever seem perplexing, our assumption should always be in favour of their wisdom and loving kindness. It is unworthy of men to doubt God in one thing, seeing he gives them such abundant reason for trusting him in a thousand things. He is "too good to be unkind."

III. SUCH THOUGHTS ARE VANITY BECAUSE THEY ARE UNSTABLE. They are but the feelings of the hour; they are based on no careful considerations. Men take them up when they are vexed at not getting what they wish, or not having things according to their minds. The moods of the hour may well be called "vanity." - R.T.

The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
In treatises on morals and in manuals of religion, much has been said about controlling one's thoughts. This is a difficult task to perform.

I. GOD IN THE TEXT BRINGS A SEVERE CHARGE AGAINST OUR THOUGHTS. We are taught that only the blood of the Lord Jesus can cleanse them.

1. Consider what thought is, and how far and swiftly it can go. It allies us to the spirits above. It can go so far that the bounds of the infinite alone can check it; so swiftly, that it can distance an archangel in his most rapid flight. Think of its achievements!

2. This thought, so marvellous in its capacity, God charges with vanity. It is a heavy indictment.


1. This vanity appears in man's persistent seeking to pry into the mysteries of God.

2. It is seen in this, that when man cannot see, he proceeds to conjecture; when he cannot know then he guesses.

3. It is seen in the many ways the thoughts of men lead them into arrant, nonsense. — Self-importance. Pleasures of sense, and appetite, etc.

4. It. appears by a review of our past. In manhood, how foolish the thoughts of our childhood appears! We have then put away childish things. So the past period of our lives appears to us at every succeeding stage.


1. Purification of our thoughts.

2. Regulation of our thoughts, by —




(M. Dix, D.D.)

Suppose a man should find a great basket by the wayside carefully packed, and, on opening it, he should find it filled with human thoughts, all the thoughts which had passed through one single brain in one year, or five years, what a medley they would make! How many would be wild and foolish, how many weak and contemptible, how many mean and vile, how many so contradictory and crooked, that they could hardly lie still in the basket! And suppose he should be told that these were all his own thoughts, children of his own brain, how amazed would he be, how little prepared to see himself as revealed in these thoughts! And how would he want to run away and hide, if all the world were to see the basket, opened and see his thoughts!

(J. Todd, D.D.)

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