“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7 NIV)
Back in the day, a housewife doing her weekly laundry the good old-fashioned way knew when her clothes were clean. Through various iterations of laundry methods — from washing clothes on the riverbank, to using a washtub and scrub board, or using a wringer washer requiring a tub for rinsing clothes after the wash cycle — clear water would have been evidence that clothes were clean. Today’s Cadillac-version washing machines are so automated that dirt is magically whisked away with no reminder of the dirt that had been present. Dirty clothes are put into the washing machine and come out spotless.
I once had the use of a small, portable-sized washing machine that emphasized this point. Rolling the small appliance up to the kitchen sink, I hooked it up to the faucet and draped the drain hose into the sink. As the load of laundry churned away, the dirty water draining away in the spin cycle was proof positive that soil that might not have even been visible to the eye was indeed there. Clothes that seemed superficially “clean” actually contained hidden dirt that clearly came out in the wash.
So it is with our lives. On the surface, we may appear to be moral, ethical, upstanding citizens. Others may see a smiling face and kind actions. God, however, knows the deep secrets of our hearts — secrets that we may be successful in hiding even from ourselves.
King David learned this lesson the hard way. He thought that he had hidden his sin of adultery with Bathsheba from the world, but God used the prophet Nathan to reveal to David that his sin was no secret from God. David’s prayer of repentance shows us that he was truly broken and contrite, not just sorry that he’d been found out: “Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires.” (Psalm 51:10 TLB) It was only then that God could do His work of cleaning up the mess. God’s loving praise of David is validation that David had made true peace with God.
“I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart.” (Acts 13:22b NIV)
May we also be open and honest before God, asking Him to search out the deepest crevices of our heart and to clean them thoroughly. Only then can we know peace and total communion with Him.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV)
Prayer: Dear loving Father, You know our hearts far better than we do, and You see sin that we might try to hide from others — as well as ourselves. Convict us, and draw us back into fellowship with You as we confess and repent of our sin. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Portland, Oregon, USA
Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission