BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#3 - "East To West" by Casting Crowns
NRT columnist Kevin Davis explores the story and scripture behind the latest hit by Casting Crowns.
 


I LOVE this song "East to West" by Casting Crowns from The Altar and The Door. God's forgiveness is an amazing gift. The problem is that our logic gets in the way. This song is based on many different passages from The Bible, but the chorus and title come specifically from target="_blank">Psalm 103, verses 8-12.

Take some time to pray and reflect on these verses.

Psalm 103:8-12 (New International Version)

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Mark Hall had this to say about the song: "We have a hard time with the concept of forgiveness. We cut ourselves and it heals, but the scar remains. Sometimes we think God treats sin like we would if we were God, and that he handles forgiveness like we would. We know he forgives, but we can't accept that God chooses to forget and relinquishes his right to avenge. That's what we're singing about in 'East To West'".

Excerpt from "East to West" by Casting Crowns

I know You've cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
And I stand before You now as though I've never sinned
But today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way

Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
'Cause I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'Cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other


In studying this passage, I happened to be doing a daily devotional based on The Message translation of Psalm 103. My pastor, J.R. Briggs wrote a daily devotional based on this passage in the book Solo by Eugene Peterson.

On Day 89 of the book, there is a great suggestion based on the concept of "blessing God." The literal meaning of the Hebrew word bless is "to kneel." So when we bless God, our souls kneel to Him in worship or gratitude. Check out this translation:

Psalm 103 (The Message)

God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, He's rich in love.
He doesn't endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear Him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
God feels for those who fear Him.


I love how the translation from The Message includes contemporary language about how "God doesn't nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever". As a father of 3 daughters, I can really relate to how I feel for my daughters when they do wrong. I don't want to condemn them because I love them so much and yet my Father in Heaven loves them and me even more than I do. The imagery of "God feels for those who fear Him" is very powerful and a strong reminder that we are called to bless God and kneel before Him to show our fear and adoration.

Try meditating on this very powerful song and passage with your heart "kneeling" before God. Personally I can't help but just sing these words at the top of my lungs to Jesus in thankfulness of His grace and mercy.

God Bless!

Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music as well as, movies, TV shows and multiple PodCasts. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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