14th July 2013

East From West 

“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 (NIV UK) 

God tells us that, through Jesus, he has removed the penalty of sin. But we find this hard to accept at face value. We hear that our sins are forgiven, but we feel the need to add a conditional ‘if’. We also understand that God’s love for us is unconditional, and yet we still think there is a ‘but’. For some reason unconditional love and forgiveness seem “too good to be true.” 

Even in Old Testament times, some were able to glimpse into the fulness of God’s desire to forgive and forget. At the time when David wrote Psalm 103 (quoted above), most people never travelled far from home. They thought of the heavens as an inverted bowl in which the sun, moon and stars somehow moved. Within their limited grasp of the cosmos, far East and West could have been just over the horizon, and “as high as heaven” somewhere above the clouds. 

Nowadays, when we can fly far above the clouds to travel long distances, David’s analogy may seem less impressive, but it shouldn’t. Recently, we had a reminder of how far beyond our human grasp the cosmos really is. 

Voyager 1, the unmanned spacecraft originally launched September 1977, has been back in the news. It was launched on a trajectory that took it past Jupiter and Saturn. Voyager fulfilled its mission brilliantly, sending back stunning pictures of these two giant planets. But then, it kept on going—and it is still going, still beaming back information after 35 years. 

Voyager has travelled farther “from East to West” than any other manmade object. It is now over 11 billion miles away, close to the point where it will leave our solar system altogether and head off into interstellar space. It will eventually come under the influence of another star, but not for another 40,000 years!

Perhaps if David was writing Psalm 103 today he might say something like this: “For as far as interstellar space reaches away from earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the Voyager spacecraft has travelled from east to west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” 

The point is, God’s love for us, and his desire to remove the guilt and stain of our sins, is still greater than anything we human beings can imagine, and it always will be. 

Prayer
Great Father, even as we marvel and fail to comprehend the extent of the universe, so we equally fail to grasp your love for us. Bless us, Holy Father, with insight and, if not comprehension, awe and gratitude for your great mercy towards us. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen
 

Study by Joseph Tkach

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joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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