How high are the heavens?May 18, 2020 3 Comments
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him — Psalm 103:11
Since January, our community group has been watching and discussing a video series called “The Attributes of God,” which covers characteristics God tells us about himself in the Scriptures. This discussion has naturally led me to thinking about the extent of God. He is all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present, and he defines holiness, goodness, wisdom, and truth.
It stretches the mind, the heart, and the understanding to consider the vastness of God. Suffice it to say that the finite person, made from dust and dead without the life of God breathed into him, cannot fully comprehend the infinite being of God in all his glory.
He can make stones cry out with praise for himself or fashion them into sons of Abraham (Matthew 3:9; Luke 19:40). He can plant a mulberry tree in the sea if he wishes (Luke 17:6). He is high and mighty, stretching out the heavens like a mere tent or curtain (Isaiah 40:22). He placed and named every star of heaven (Isaiah 40:26). Indeed, the heavens are merely his throne (Isaiah 66:1). He is incomparable to anyone or anything (Exodus 8:10; Isaiah 40:18, 25).
In the midst of this study about the attributes of God, my mother happened to send me this YouTube video showing in context how large the universe is. It's a 3-minute visual (not specifically Christian oriented) of the exceedingly incomprehensible largeness of the universe. I immediately connected the video message with our Scripture study of God's attributes. As the Lord said, he simply stretched out as a curtain, or as a tent, all the vastness of the heavens pictured in the video. It is merely his throne (Isaiah 66:1).
Just weeks ago, I was texting a CPC member that God is mindful that we are but dust. After I typed out the words from memory, I decided to remind myself of the actual Scripture: Psalm 103:14. In rereading this Psalm, my attention was caught by verse 11: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.
Now I ask you, how high are the heavens? Did you watch the video linked above?
Since I had been thinking for some time already about the vastness of God and the expansiveness of heaven, I was immediately struck by how far that distance was. My heart was instantly warmed as I thought about how far the distance to the heights of heaven is and that God loves us who fear him as greatly as that distance is far.
I don't know about you, but I am sometimes challenged by questions about how the holy, sinless, righteous, perfect God would have anything to do with me — an unreliable, neurotic sinner. And in reading verse 11, the Lord immediately pushed away these doubts with his gentle, assuring hand of infinite love. At the same moment, I recalled a verse mentioned in Brandon Flynn’s devotional “Instead, seek his kingdom”: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). The New American Standard Bible translation says, He has chosen gladly to give [us] the kingdom (emphasis mine)!
The Apostle Paul seems to have understood all this when he wrote that he was convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38, 39).
So be encouraged, and in your moments of darkness, foreboding, and fearfulness, remember Psalm 103:11 and sing it out in your hearts: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward [all of us] who fear him! And be freed by this assurance to do good — either spiritually or physically — to others whenever you can.
- Note Psalm 103:12. Ask yourself, how far is the east from the west?
- Recall the blood of the Passover lamb spread on the lintel and doorposts of the homes of God's people in Egypt (Exodus 12:7, 22) and remember that Jesus’s blood has been sprinkled in our hearts (Hebrews 9:14; 10:22). Hear with your heart that the Word of God testifies that God's wrath and retribution for sin will pass over us who are covered with the blood of Christ, just as God passed over those in Egypt who had the blood of the lamb spread on their doors.
- When doubts come, as they inevitably will, recall the Scriptural pictures of assurance that God himself has gladly given us, and sing them out from your heart. Let the great light of God shine away the darkness of doubts and doubting.