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Psalm 103:11-12

Psalm 103:11-12
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Psalm 103:11-12, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.”

I recently found out that caterpillers and butterflies have to eat different food… The caterpillar eats leaves etc. while the butterfly can only “eat” things that dissolve in water, most especially nectar.

I was thinking how this might work as a parable of the Christian’s spiritual diet. Before regeneration we could “feed” ourselves on general spiritual ideas, or on thoughts of virtue or morality or generic “God” talk….but having once seen the glory of the Only True God in the face of the crucified and risen Christ, we can no longer eat those things–at least, not without tracing them to their source.

Our only spiritual food now must come to us through and in Christ. We are not satisfied with spiritual ideas or concepts of God (the “leaves”) until we have seen–until we have tasted–the slain and risen one in them (the “nectar”)….and this is simply because we have come alive to the reality that we know the Only True God in no other way than the  Son. If we are to know the Father, we will know Him only in the Son–who is the light of His glory falling on the eyes of our heart–by the revelatory work of the Spirit.

So, as I read the Old Testament, I’m always asking myself, “where is the pulse of the the divine heart revealed in Jesus?” “Where is the YHWH whose Name has been declared on Calvary?” ” Where is my Lord and my God?”

In the passage quoted above, I think we see the cross-declared character of God through what I–perhaps erroneously–call a “gravity shadow.”

I get the term from how astronomers look for “invisible” planets far out in space. Rather than seeing the actual planet, they often look for the effect (or shadow) of that planets’ gravity on the star that it orbits. In a similar way, although we might not see Christ explicitly in a passage like Psalm 103:11-12, we can see the effect of His cross–His “gravity shadow”–on the Psalmist.

How is it that the all Holy God can simply “not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (v.10)? The Psalmist anchors His hope for this grace in the character (Name) of YHWH. This character is expounded in the following verses:

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.

David considers the character that YHWH has displayed in His dealing with his people thus far in redemptive history, and–on the basis of that character–confesses that the Lord will not deal with him according to his sins, but that his surpassing love for His own will move Him to remove their sins to an infinite distance from them…..This character, this hope, this confession of faith are all “gravity shadows” of the character of YHWH that would be supremely declared at the cross….

When the beloved Son–the humbler of Seraphim and the eternally begotten of the Father–is lifted up from the earth to hang, as it were, in the desolate heavens over Jerusalem, then the heights and depths of His steadfast love are made known to creation……and when the infinite one stretches out finite hands on the tree, then we see the imagination-surpassing goodness that removes our sins from us.

David’s hope–like ours–is in the Only True God who is known in the Risen Crucified One, and He–like us–will spend eternity pressing further up and further in to the beautiful one revealed in the act that removed our transgressions from us.