We looked at this Psalm yesterday, but it’s so packed full of meaning that I had to spend another day on it. Like I mentioned before, God’s goodness to us drips off every line, so I wanted to spend a day focusing on that. Let’s take a moment to see some of the ways that the Psalmist describes it.
First, the author brings us back to the days of Moses, when the Lord first revealed his name to us. When Israel completely fell into rebellion, idolatry, and sexual immorality, Moses pled for mercy for them. God appeared to the prophet and called himself “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” That’s a recurring theme several places in Scripture, and David reminds us of it.
Second, we have here what just might be the greatest understatement ever uttered by human lips: “he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” No joke!!! When I look at my life and you look at yours in an honest light, you know that he certainly doesn’t.
Third, while we’re on the subject of sin and grace, we have two beautiful images of his forgiveness in vss. 11-12. Please note that the verses don’t say that he throws our sins as far away as the north is from the south. No, that’s a finite distance. But you can go in an easterly direction and never run out of space. It’s the same as how high his love is towards us, as high as the heaven are above the earth.
Fourth, we see how far back and far forward is his love towards us in vs. 17. In eternity past, before the stars had been ignited, before the planets had been placed into their orbits, he set his love on you. He knew your name, and chose to shower you with his goodness. And in eternity future, once the stars we see up in the sky have all grown cold, he'll still not be done in displaying his love towards you.
On a final note I’d like to observe where all this leads. I find it interesting that this focus on his love and goodness—in this passage—doesn’t lead to thanksgiving. It certainly should, but in this instance it should lead to praise. In light of what he’s done for us, the author calls the angels to praise the Lord Almighty. We think of them praising him for his mighty acts of power, or his wisdom in creation, and his righteous judgment. But our salvation—and all that entails—leads them to praise, because that’s probably the most wonder and awe-inducing thing he’s ever done.
He then repeats his call for the heavenly host to join in the praise. And then his call extends to us. All of us are his “works” and are in his dominion. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are his workmanship, his art-piece. That should inspire thankfulness, certainly, but it should also work within us a sense of praise. And this should work itself out in our lips and into our lives.
Father, this psalm is so full of wonderful words which describe how wonderful you are, but even they aren’t enough. You have thrown my sins away as far as the east is from the west. From everlasting to everlasting, you have loved me. By your grace, I’d like to praise you better that I have been. Please.