Your Love Reaches to the Heavens

One of my goals for 2017 was to read through Psalms and Proverbs each morning, something I accomplish by listening to the audio tracks on my Youversion Bible app while I get ready for the day. After spending years on reading plans that take me through all 66 books of the Bible, I’m enjoying the change of pace and the poetic beauty of these ancient recordings.

The two verses quoted below are familiar to many Christians. The characterizations of God are simple but profound. Although varieties of the same phrases appear elsewhere in the Psalms, these verses are taken from Psalm 36.

5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.

Steadfast love. Faithfulness. Righteousness. Judgments. Salvation.

These two verses capture the intersection of the essential qualities of God. On the one hand, we consider the incomprehensible magnitude of his great righteousness and pure judgments; on the other, we see his limitless love, his constant faithfulness, his perfect salvation.

The psalmist uses beautiful imagery to cast a spectacular backdrop for these traits, part of the reason these verses have become favourites for many.

Heavens. Clouds. Mountains. Oceans.

Growing up in Manitoba, I saw a lot of the heavens and clouds, but it was left to my imagination to conjure up visions of mountains and oceans. This year marks ten years since I moved to BC, and as a relative newcomer I still feel a kind of childlike amazement when I experience the natural wonders of the Pacific coast in all their glory. I can clearly recall telling colleagues, shortly after moving to Vancouver in August of 2007, how incredible it was to see the gorgeous mountain skyline each day. (Of course, I had yet to experience our long, grey winters.)

These two verses from Psalm 36 also trigger memories of a song now 18 years old. Released in 1999 by Third Day, Your Love Oh Lord became a classic favourite for many evangelical Christians. Though I stopped listening to this band long ago, the song has never left me. It sometimes comes to mind when I’m hiking, swimming, driving the Sea to Sky Highway, or otherwise experiencing the natural wonders of BC.

Your Love Oh Lord has been around so long and has become so familiar that perhaps in some respects it has become little more an evangelical cliche. But as you listen again, try to push aside those old associations of college get-togethers, youth retreats, or worship conferences. Try to hear the song again for the first time, and simply savour the profound significance of the character of our God as described in Psalm 36.

Third Day: Your Love Oh Lord

Your love, oh Lord
Reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness stretches to the sky
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains
Your justice flows like the ocean’s tide

I will lift my voice
To worship You, my King
I will find my strength
In the shadow on Your wings

*Suggestion for computer users: For an improved worship experience, try playing this commercial from Destination BC (on mute) in a separate window while the Third Day song plays in the background. With due respect to Third Day, I think it makes the point a little better.

Steadfast love. Faithfulness. Righteousness. Judgments. Salvation.

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One thought on “Your Love Reaches to the Heavens

  1. nancylcavey

    Yes, I can see why you would choose a different visual, but the song is a beautiful, descriptive, familiar classic! Wonderful truths.

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