What does Psalm 103:11 mean?
ESV: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
NIV: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
NASB: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.
CSB: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his faithful love toward those who fear him.
NLT: For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
KJV: For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
NKJV: For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
Verse Commentary:
David describes the Lord's unfailing love for those who reverence Him. This is an example of how Scripture uses the concept of "fear" somewhat differently from the modern world. This is not an abject terror, or a panic-inducing dread. Rather, this is the healthy and humble respect that comes with recognizing that God is God, and we are not.

Scripture says the Lord's love is as high as the heavens are above the earth. It was common for David to gaze up at the heavens and marvel at the Lord's creative power (Psalm 8:3–4; 19:1). He spent much of his life in the open outdoors, both as a shepherd caring for his father's sheep and as a fugitive from hateful Saul. David probably didn't understand the mind-boggling distance from earth to the stars, as we do today. Yet he recognized them as extremely distant from the earth, and knew God's love for His people stretched even further.

The death of Christ on the cross for us is the best measure of God's love for us. John 3:16 tells us God's love was potent enough that He gave His only Son. Furthermore, no power on earth can destroy His love for us. Tribulation, distress, persecution, nakedness, danger, and sword cannot divide us from God's infinite love (Romans 8:35–39). Those who accept Christ are saved (Acts 4:12), and those who reject Him are lost (John 3:18; 3:36).
Verse Context:
Psalm 103:6–19 reflects on the Lord's benefits to Israel. Deuteronomy 6:1–15 contains the Lord's promise to bless the people of Israel if they would obey him. Psalm 105 and 106 are companion psalms that stress the Lord's goodness to Israel.
Chapter Summary:
Psalm 103 praises God for what He has done. This includes celebration of His personal influence, as well as the way God has blessed the nation of Israel. David encourages praises from himself, from the people in general, and even from the angels and hosts of heaven.
Chapter Context:
Psalm 103 is one of four psalms which complete the fourth division of the book of Psalms (Psalms 90—106). These four psalms ascribe praise to the Lord. Psalm 103 was written by David and expresses his gratitude to the Lord for all His benefits. First Thessalonians 5:18 conveys the same theme of thanksgiving by exhorting believers to ''give thanks in all circumstances.''
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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