As far as the east is from the west ∙
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. – Psalm 103:12
1 Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things. my youth is renewed like the eagles!
6 The LORD gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
7 He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.
8 The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9 He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.
10 He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
13 The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
What is the distance from the South Pole to the North Pole? Although planet Earth appears to be a perfect sphere, it is not. The earth is a bit wider than it is tall.
The circumference from the South Pole to the North Pole is 24,859 miles. While the circumference taken at the equator is a bit larger, 24,902 miles. As a result of modern science and mathematics, we can calculate these measurements. If someone were to travel North, eventually they would arrive at the North Pole. If they proceeded further, they would no longer be going North but South.
What is the distance from the “East Pole” to the “West Pole?” In that neither of these poles exists, this question is a non sequitur. If you were at the equator and headed east, you would never reach the “West Pole.” You would just travel indefinitely in an eastward direction. The same is true if you headed west, you would never reach the “East Pole.” Travel in either direction, as no terminus.
How far is the East from the West? It simply cannot be measured. It is an immeasurable distance. We can travel East or West indefinitely.
That is the point!
How far has the Father removed our sins from us? A vast distance with no end in sight. When the Father removes our transgressions from us, the separation is permanent, never to be revisited.
Of course, our understanding of the shape of the earth and its circumference is the result of modern science. How could David understand about the East and the West before there was modern science? This is one of those remarkable instances where the Bible speaks truly, long before mankind had the technology to discover that it was scientifically accurate.
REFLECT & PRAY
The Father’s love and forgiveness are infinite and complete. The Father has freed every child of the King from the haunting power of past failures, wrongdoings, and sins. He has forgiven us all of our trespasses.
Father thank You that because of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, all of my sins have been removed and that my conscience can be truly cleansed.
Psalms 103:12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.
At the time when David wrote this Psalm, modern science was unknown. So what exactly was he trying to say? “God did not say he forgives our sins as far as the North is from the South but as far as the East is from the West, namely infinitely” (Constable). Our sins have been removed from us and placed an infinite distance away!
The Father takes our “sins and placing them as far away as possible. The Hebrew uses the word “distance” as a noun and as a verb, as follows: ‘As is the distance from the east to the west, so he distances our sins from us’. . .. He frees his people from the power and consequences of their sins by granting them full pardon. [The sense is that] ‘God removes our sins from us as far as the place where the sun rises is from the place where the sun sets’” (UBS).
Three major words used in the Old Testament to describe the full gamut of breaking the law of God are found in Psalms 103:10,12.
They are sin – falling short of the mark, iniquity – an act which is wrong and of itself, and transgressions – crossing a boundary, breaking a rule.
A similar thought idea is found in Micah.
Micah 7:19 Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!
If this is so, why do they seem to linger around? Could it be because we are simply unaware of what the Father has marvelously accomplished for us? The Scriptures always speak the truth. Therefore our sins are indeed gone for good. They are no longer a factor in our eternal relationship with the Father God. It is incumbent upon us to simply grasp this fact and believe that it is true. But perhaps there is another step that we must practice?
We must apply what we know. The enemy keeps bringing up our past regrets. He relentlessly reminds us of our past sins. Rather than focusing on the past, we must resist it. It is not simply a once and for all act, but a process. The Father has given us a fantastic promise. He not only forgives our sins, but He will also purge and cleanse our conscience. Our conscious awareness of them will simply fade away in time.
13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity.
14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God.
Take the time and commit Hebrews 9:14 to memory. Consciously recite it when past sins come to mind. Eventually, the memories will fade, and your consciences will be cleansed.
Psalm 103 reveals the heart of the Father God and His loving and gracious attitude towards children of the King. It describes our relationship with the Father through the use of word pictures and spatial terms.
Our heavenly Father is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry, and filled with unfailing love. He does not accuse us nor does He punish us. He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. His unfailing love for us is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins from us as far as the East is from the West. He frees them from the power and consequences of their sin. He grants every child of the King a full pardon.
He is tender and approachable. He is indeed not only like a father; He is the Father of every child of the King.
“How does a father ‘pity’ His children? He considers their weakness, immaturity, and ignorance, and so does not require of them more than they can handle. Our Father does the same with us (1 Corinthians 10:13)” (Stanley).
© Dr. H 2022