“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7
Hand sanitizer is like the peel-and-stick postage stamp…a relatively recent, benevolent addition to everyday life that we now take for granted. How did we survive so long without this commonplace little joy? It’s cheap, readily available in a lot of places (like medical buildings), and quick to give you germ-free peace of mind.
No water? No problem. Wash your hands with one quick squirt of bubble-laden goo, available in practically every fragrance imaginable. Grabbing fast food? Grab the pump, and everyone has sterilized hands before dining à la car. Hiking? No need to risk giardia-laden streams for cleaning as long as you remembered to pack your tiny bottle.
Ah, clean hands…one of my fondest privileges. I admit to being a compulsive handwasher…my fingerprints, required in the past for some international paperwork, were rejected three times by the FBI because I’ve scrubbed the tiny ridges into a wrinkle-etched landscape on each finger. (Anyone need me for the witness protection program??)
But all of this is just superficial cleansing. As a Christian, I know I can never ever get myself clean enough. No amount of showering, scrubbing, washing, rinsing, or hand-sanitizing will ever rid me of the stains my poor soul has acquired.
King David knew that dilemma. After letting his integrity sink into the filthiest of quagmires—laziness in leadership, adultery despite a plethora of women available to him, and indirect murder—David was shown his true condition by his personal prophet, Nathan. David found himself hopelessly besmirched, tainted, fouled. He knew he had royally messed up.
In one of the most honest personal assessments found in Scripture, David pours out his soul in Psalm 51 to ask God for a good cleaning-up. He knows he can’t do it himself. Only God can truly make him spotless again. (Read that chapter when you’re feeling uncleanable.)
The problem, though, of being a totally depraved human being is that we’ll never completely escape our fallen nature while on earth. We can start each day fresh, new, and unspoiled—and within a microsecond of opening our eyes, we’re already sliding down that slippery slope called sin. Repentance becomes a daily Christian discipline in prayer and decision-making…asking God for forgiveness and making constant, conscious decisions to turn away from wrongdoing, fixing our eyes on Him instead.
May Jesus Christ be praised for giving us the ultimate, once-and-for-all cleansing we so desperately need! His death on the cross gave us an “eternal shower,” a thorough cleaning that we would never engineer on our own.
Here’s more of that song from the depths of David’s heart (vs. 10-17):“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence,and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.”
Yes indeed, I’m grateful for what the 99.99 percent effective hand sanitizer can do. But I’m eternally grateful for what only Jesus Christ can do—allowing me to approach His Father’s throne through His 100 percent cleansing sacrifice on the cross. I hope you have that same assurance…look to Jesus for His overwhelming fountain of love and life.
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