For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. Psalm 103:11
How great is His lovingkindness (mercy)? For as high as the heavens are above the earth. This shows how lofty His nature, and how low He will stoop for us to receive His mercy.
So, how much higher are the heavens—the dwelling place of God—above the earth? Imagine if we were to progress even beyond Star Trek levels, and could travel to the ends of the universe. Still, no amount of time, no traversing of any distance, will get us to the heavenly realms. They are completely beyond our access and capability. And this is the extreme from which His great mercy is measured.
Even though David is using distance as a metaphor, this is not just a matter of navigation. This also reveals the vast and impassable chasm between creation and Creator. Indeed there is nothing we can mount, build or design to cross this great expanse. But His mercy crossed it.
It also illustrates the contrasts in nature—one being the natural, the other being the supernatural. One is God’s dwelling place, the other is ours. And in keeping with the previous point, God is the One Who must cross, if we are to receive His mercy.
There’s not enough room in all of heaven for you, Lord God. How could you possibly live on earth in this temple I have built? But I ask you to answer my prayer. This is the temple where you have chosen to be worshiped. Please watch over it day and night and listen when I turn toward it and pray. (1 Kings 8:27-30)
God has crossed the great divide, for He has chosen a place for to be worshipped.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. (Isaiah 55:9-11)
God did indeed cross the uncrossable. He sent forth His Word. And this does not mean only His Holy Scriptures which He gave to us, but more critically it means He gave us the Incarnate Word, His One and Only Son.
This is how great His mercy, or lovingkindness, is. He gave us His Son. And perhaps this metaphor really isn’t one; for Christ literally dwelt with the Father in Heaven, and He loved us enough to go to the extreme, and come down to us.
Perhaps now we understand how great His lovingkindness is toward us.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. ( 1 John 1:3)