“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:11-12 (NASB)
If we travel East, do we actually distance ourselves from the West? The moment we stop and turnabout, we find ourselves face to face with the West. We can measure the distance from sea level to the various named levels of our atmosphere, but the true expanse of the heavens is infinite⸺so is God’s love. We’ve considered how God promised to wipe our transgressions from his memory. Today we read how He removes them an immeasurable distance from us. He completely separates sins from sinners by forgiving them. How are we to comprehend how this is possible? When God declares the separation of our sins from their existence it’s not a matter of hyperbole. It is a result of God’s steadfast love for us. Verse 10 explains, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” What we deserve is removed from our account by Jesus Christ. Better than clemency or pardon which forgives guilt but the record remains, it’s divine expungement of all that is on our record. Wiped clear, scrubbed clean, and never brought back up to accuse us, this is what salvation in Christ means to us.
“If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.” – Psalm 139:9-10 (NASB)
Just as it is impossible to hide any thought or deed from our omniscience God, it is impossible to find a place to hide ourselves from Him. There is nowhere our omnipresent God is not. We wish to be totally alone sometimes and we can do that for a season but not from God. Even those who live a self-sufficient life eventually have contact with others. But, if our desire is to be apart from God, that will not happen. Wherever we go, God is there, His presence is in every place we can possibly go. The highest heavens above or the depths of the realm of the dead below, are used as extreme contrasts of locations from one another in this psalm. If we could ride the ‘chariot of the breaking light of dawn,’ which comes rabidly from the utmost reaches of the seas’ eastern horizons, even then we will cannot escape the presence of our Lord God Almighty. Perhaps, it’s good to know that those who reject the work of Christ for salvation through their life and death will live in total darkness and separation from all others and without God for God will accommodate them afterlife.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:11-12 (ESV)
If you followed current events in July 2021 you know that two very wealthy men have successfully left Earth’s gravity and reach Zero-G space. Each for only a very short time but they did it on their own dime. Zero-G is found more than 60 miles straight up. That is quite a distance. Yesterday we considered how God’s ways are higher than our ways and Isaiah compared that with how the heavens are higher than the earth. The heavens in these verses from yesterday and today is much more than simply reaching Zero-G. The heavens are everything from there to the unknown end of the universe. David, like Isaiah, uses such immeasurable distances to demonstrate how much God loves those who fear him. He adds another comparison – the distance between east and west. That is also an immeasurable distance. By going westward from anywhere, we never actually find where east begins. If we travel eastward, we will circumnavigate the globe without reaching west because it will always be behind us. God has removed our transgressions from us to a point that cannot be found. This is a promise for all who in faith believe in Jesus.
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.” – Psalm 19:1-2 (NASB)
Today we consider a promise for us from God’s Word that He is here. With an objective look at the world around us and especially, as in today’s verse, looking up to the sky day and night, we see the evidence that God exists. He has given us a testimony in the heavens and their expanse; both are vital elements of God’s work in creation. Observing we know without hearing a voice because creation itself is telling and declaring this truth; both emphasize the permanence of these corresponding revelations. The psalmist, who is David the King, uses an anthropomorphism (ascription of human attributes to God) to illustrate God’s great power in creation of the universe. God has placed these evidences of His existence and work so that we can know without excuse that He exists (Romans 1:18-20). God has done this for our benefit and for His glory. He is perfect in every way, powerful without any weakness and worthy of honor and praise from us; we are His creatures made for this purpose. This is the sense and urgency behind David’s words in this Psalm. Today, let us see God in His creation and rejoice with thanksgiving.
“Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” – Jeremiah 32:17 (ESV)
Our verse comes from the story in the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah. The prophet purchased a plot of land from his cousin even though the Babylonians were nearly at the gate of the city. The anticipation was that soon Jerusalem and all in the Kingdom of Judah would be conquered and taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. This truly did come to pass so Jeremiah’s real estate purchase seemed fool’s errand. But it wasn’t foolish, because God had directed him to purchase this piece of land. Thinking through the wisdom of his legal transaction bewildered Jeremiah and he goes to God in prayer. Notice how he first extols the sovereignty of God. “Nothing is too hard for you,” is what Jeremiah says. He acknowledges God’s directions in buying the field even “though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans.” The promise that nothing is too hard for God is a promise we take to heart today. Whatever God leads us to do, if we know God is indeed giving us that direction, we can know its outcome will be what God intends it to be. Let’s trust God no matter what He has given us to do.
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (ESV)
Let’s take a look at a promise we find in a Scripture verse that has been quoted, sung and used in many ways. Most times it is used like a call for HELP! From folks in our country. When circumstances are not the best this verse is turned to as if it is a direct promise to all who call on God. It can be but it also might not apply. The context is Israel at the time of the dedication of the Temple built by Solomon. God give a prophetic warning because He knows His people will fall into disobedience to His Word. “Then,” says God, “I’ll stop the rain and send spoil your crops.” But for them and for us God gave a recourse, five steps to the blessing. First our standing – “called by my name.” Second, our posture – “humbled.” Third our action – “pray”. Fourth next action – “seek God’s face.” Fifth another action – “turn (repent) of our wickedness.” If we claim to have no wickedness, we lie. (1 John 1:6) When we want to use this promise as a means to restore our nations, we are obligated to first to the Five Steps.