The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
or as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
What I find interesting about the above section of scripture is the reference to “As far as the east is from the west”, written a few thousand years ago and revealing something about the extent of God’s mercy in specific geographical terms, the full significance of which could not have been known by the writer of the Psalm.
Consider the difference in meaning if he’d written “as far as the north is from the south”.
The distance between north and south is a finite, fixed distance. Travelling in a straight line from north to south, we’d eventually reach the south pole. Any further travelling along that straight line and we’d be heading north again. There is a strict limit to how far south, or north, we can go.
In contrast, if we travel east in a straight line we will continue east and never reach “west”. There is no finite distance between east and west.
THAT is the extent that God will “remove our transgressions from us”.
Doesn’t that say something extraordinary about God’s mercy?