Friday, May 3, 2013

Psalm 103 - As far as the east is from the west


autumn leaves


The Lord executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
He revealed His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love.
He will not always accuse us or be angry forever.
He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

––Psalm 103:6-12
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Previously we decided that this is a beautiful psalm of praise. This psalm begins and ends with  Bless the Lord.  In the first two verses the phrase "Bless the Lord,"  appears three times.  Bless appear a total of seven times in this psalm of twenty-two verses.  This is the first of four psalms that are connected in reflecting on God's people from creation to exile.  (Psalm 103 - 106)  The first five verses of psalm 103, which we looked at previously, reflected a personal praise to God.

Starting with verse 6, this psalm changes from a personal praise to a corporate praise. This section begins with: The Lord executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He revealed His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel.  Psalm 103:6  This is a call for praise for all who are oppressed.  David now focuses on God’s character in verses 6 through 10.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. He will not always accuse us or be angry forever.  Psalm 103: 8-9  God does not always accuse, but He will hold us responsible for our sins. As Christians we are to confess our sins, and they will be forgiven. There will be a final day of accountability, at death and at the Great White Throne.

He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him.  Psalm 103:10   Because of the loving nature of God, He acted on behalf His chosen people. God is merciful, and therefore He cared for Israel.  God blessed them with their Exodus from Egypt, their wanderings in the wilderness and their entrance into the Promised Land. Today, God still acts with love and mercy to those whom He has called. Christians can celebrate how the biblical story has developed to include them in the goodness and kindness of God. God is merciful and He is just.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. Psalm 103: 10-11  These words are some of the most comforting words in the Bible for Believers.  God faithful love toward His children is as high as the heavens are above the earth. This is an unmeasurable love. Our sins have been removed from us as far as the east is from the west. The east and west will never meet. One can travel west forever.  If you keep going west it will remain west.  West never turns into east.  East will never turn into west. One can travel north and it will eventually turn to south. East and west however, are totally separated. The sins of the believer are forever removed from us. We and our sins will never meet again. Charles Spurgeon said, "O glorious verse, no word even upon the inspired page can excel it!  Sin is removed from us by the miracle of love! What a load to move, and yet it is removed so far that the distance is incalculable."

The sins and the sinner are forever separated by the work of Christ. It was His work, not ours. God separated our sins from us by placing them on His own Son. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.  This illustration is given by Captain Reginald Wallis, of Dublin Ireland.

It seems that a minister was boarding at a certain farmhouse.  Early one morning the farmer beckoned the minister to follow him to the chicken-coop. There on the nest sat a hen with a brood of chicks peeking out from under her wings.  "Touch her," said the farmer. As he did so he found that the hen was cold. "Look at the wound on her head," continued the farmer, "a weasel has sucked all her blood from her and yet she never moved, for fear that the weasel would get her peeps."  that is exactly what the Lord did. He paid the penalty of sin.  He gave His blood in order that we might be spared the judgement due for our sin.  This is a picture of our Lord Jesus.

If we were given what we justly deserve, all people would be in hell forever. There will come a day of accountability.  For the unbelievers this will come at death, Luke16: 19-31 and at the  Great White Throne.  Revelation 20:11-15   God’s mercy is demonstrated in that He does not give His children what they deserve. The penalty of our sins was paid by Jesus at the cross of Calvary. When we trust the Savior, God can righteously pardon us. And there can be no double jeopardy; Christ has paid the debt once for all, and so we will never be required to pay it.  This is guaranteed to all Christians.  It has been signed, sealed and delivered through the redemptive work of Christ, for those who belong to Him.


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