MAR 6God's Detergent

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin . . Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean. . . (Ps. 51:2, 7)

Beginning in May 2009, there was much talk about hand-washing because of the continuous news reports of swine flu outbreaks throughout America. Even President Obama went on national television to tell people to wash their hands. Our mothers told us that. And we are appalled when food handlers are caught on tape doing things with unwashed hands. If we pay that much attention to the external, what more should we do for the internal?

Verse 2 says, "[C]leanse me from my sin." Tide, the laundry detergent, has a new cleaning pen that has the solution inside of it to clean fabric without water, which is a new kind of clean. Likewise, God can cleanse you in such a way that even when you start looking for sin, there is no evidence of it. People will often look at you and say that you do not look like what you have been through. That is because God cleanses at a much deeper level.

In verse 7, the psalmist pleads with God to "purge [him] with hyssop." That is the gospel. The concept of purging echoes what will happen in the New Testament. "Purge" has direct reference to the blood of Jesus Christ. In Psalm 51, this word refers to the previous sacrificial atonements: the killing of animals and the splattering of their blood to cover someone's sin. But annually, this process had to be repeated.

One thousand years from Psalm 51, walking on the banks of the Jordan, John the Baptist said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). Isaiah saw a little deeper into it even than that: "He was wounded for my transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities" (Isa. 53:5). This was centuries before Calvary and the empty tomb.

Lord God, as a nation, we have become obsessed with washing our hands to prevent the spread of bacteria. What we should be more concerned about, however, are the germs of sin that have infiltrated our souls. Unlike our hands, though, we cannot wash the sin away from our hearts. We need You to purge us and cleanse us from our sins. Amen.