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So great! So far!

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for 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).

From the point where you’re currently sitting, how far would you have to travel before you could say, “I believe I’ve reached the east?” Hmm. Wouldn’t the east still be beyond the horizon? Or if you headed the other direction, how far would you have to go before you could say, “I’ve actually reached the west”? Hmm. Wouldn’t the west stretch still farther west? And as for the distance between those two unlimited distances, is anyone actually capable of arriving at a fixed number of miles for it?

With the Spirit of the Lord on his tongue, King David compels us to imagine a limitless distance that’s beyond our imagination. “As far as the east is from the west,” he says, “so far has [the Lord] removed our transgressions from us.” Have you failed to love the Lord as you must? Or misused his holy name? Or despised his Word? Have you always honored the government he’s put in place over you? If you’re married, are you content with the spouse God has given you? If you are single, have you struggled against lust? Have you been stingy? Have you been greedy? Do you protect other people’s reputations even if those people aren’t always so kind to you?

Turn to your God and take heart! Your God has removed all those sins so far away and he will never reinsert them into your record. He’s cast them away from his mind. He will never bring them back up. For now and forever, your transgressions are “as far as the east is from the west.”

NASA launched Voyager 1 back in 1977. Traveling at a speed of 38,610 miles per hour, the space probe is currently more than 13.5 billion miles from earth. Is that how high the heavens are above the earth? The most distant galaxy, scientists speculate, is billions of light-years away. Not miles. Light-years. Is that how high the heavens are above the earth?

Once again, the psalmist has us trying to imagine an unimaginable distance. “As high as the heavens are above the earth,” he sings, “so great is [the Lord’s] love for those who fear him.” It’s so great that he came from his heavenly throne to be conceived of a woman, cradled in poverty, raised in obscurity, rejected by his own people, despised by earthly authorities, arrested, accused, condemned, “pierced for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5), and “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). It’s so great that he “bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).

As you go through the day today, try to imagine once again how far your transgressions have been removed. The distance from the east to the west. Ponder the height of his love. Like the heavens are above the earth. Impossible to grasp fully? Of course, it is. Nevertheless, its comfort is without scope or limit. His glory is beyond measure.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, your love for me is higher than the heavens above and deeper than the depths of sea. Receive my praise for removing my sins as far as the east is from the west. Amen.  

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This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series lent 2023

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