As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12
Since 2006 a group of people have celebrated an unusual event around the New Year. It’s called Good Riddance Day. Based on a Latin American tradition, individuals write down unpleasant, embarrassing memories and bad issues from the past year and throw them into an industrial-strength shredder. Or some take a sledgehammer to their good riddance item.
The writer of Psalm 103 goes beyond suggesting that people say good riddance to unpleasant memories. He reminded us that God bids good riddance to our sins. In his attempt to express God’s vast love for His people, the psalmist used word pictures. He compared the vastness of God’s love to the distance between the heavens and the earth (v. 11). Then the psalmist talked about His forgiveness in spatial terms. As far as the place where the sun rises is from the place where the sun sets, so the Lord has removed His people’s sins from them (v. 12). The psalmist wanted God’s people to know that His love and forgiveness were infinite and complete. God freed His people from the power of their transgressions by fully pardoning them.
Good news! We don’t have to wait until the New Year to experience Good Riddance Day. Through our faith in Jesus, when we confess and turn from our sins, He bids good riddance to them and casts them into the depths of the sea. Today can be a Good Riddance Day!
Thank You, Father, for freedom from sin.
What sins do you need to say goodbye to? How does it make you feel knowing that God infinitely and completely forgets your sins?
Recognizing our propensity to be forgetful and unfaithful (Deuteronomy 6:10–12; Hosea 13:6), David wrote Psalm 103 as a thanksgiving song, calling us to praise God for who He is and what He has done. He reminds us not to forgot “all his benefits” (vv. 1–2). The psalmist describes the character of our redeeming Father. He is compassionate, slow to anger, loving, forgiving, and gracious (vv. 3–13). He “does not punish us for all our sins . . . [or] deal harshly with us, as we deserve” (v. 10 nlt). God has forgiven our sins completely (vv. 11–12). David recounts God’s character in the aftermath of Israel’s idolatrous sin (vv. 7–8; Exodus 32): Our God is “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exodus 34:6–7).