He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. Psalm 103:10-13
Funny how some things stay with you. My daughter recently asked me what my favorite Bible verse is. It’s Psalm 103:10, and it’s due to content as well as personal context.
I heard a man preach on Psalm 103 several years ago. I don’t remember his name, but I can still hear his voice. He hooked me from the beginning because, in a very humble and servant-like manner, he stood before the congregation of well over five hundred people and quoted that Psalm from memory. In its entirety. Without stumbling.
But his sermon sank in deep as he pulled that lovely song apart, and my heart latched on to verse ten–He has not dealt with us as our sin deserve, or punished us according to our iniquities (I know–it’s a different version from above. I’ve switched Bibles since memorizing it). Powerful words of mercy. And this preacher painted an image I have not forgotten.
A Shepherd will intercede for an orphaned lamb. It’s best if the orphan can be matched with a ewe whose baby did not make it. But there’s a problem; ewes know which baby is theirs by smell, and they’ll reject a lamb who is not their own. The solution is rather gruesome. The shepherd will skin the dead lamb and cover the orphaned baby with the hide, allowing the hungry, motherless baby life by way of adoption.
Wow. I am hidden in Christ, adopted because of His sacrifice. When God looks at me, when He does not punish me as my sins deserve, it’s because I am wearing Christ–covered by the Lamb of God.
An image, I pray, that I’ll never forget.