DayBreaks for 9/09/16 – Cleanse Me With Hyssop
NOTE: I have been moving this week, so I apologize for the intermittent DayBreaks. Hopefully the internet will be on at home soon! From the DayBreaks archive, September 2006:
Psalms 51:7 (NIV) – Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
There is no greater Psalm of contrition, confession and repentance than Psalm 51. The Psalm is David’s prayer to the Lord after he was confronted by the prophet, Nathan, about his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. A thorough reading of the Psalm shows how deeply David felt his guilt: he describes it as a stain more than once, like indelible ink spilled on a white garment. He describes his bones as having been crushed by God, and his longing to once again find the joy of his salvation. He has hope because of God’s unfailing love and compassion.
Yet verse 7 contains a detail that is easy to pass over. David asks to be cleansed with hyssop. Hyssop was a plant that was used for several things in the Old Testament in relation to sacrifice and blood. In particular, it seems that it gets its symbolic start with the Passover. After the Passover was over, the people were to clean the blood of the lamb off the doorposts and lintel of their homes with hyssop. That prompted several thoughts:
FIRST: David may be thinking of his blood-guilt for the death of Uriah, and he may be asking for the blood of Uriah to be wiped off of his heart and conscience so that he is haunted by it no more. In this case, instead of the doorposts, David needs the blood removed off his guilty conscience;
SECOND: It could be a picture of how the blood of Christ cleans us, wipes our hearts and minds and consciences clean once again from the guilt of all we have done, or failed to do.
Our plea, like David’s, should be for God’s cleansing. If you are having trouble confessing your sin to God, pray your way through Psalm 51. Or, if your guilt is so great that you can’t bear it – again, pray Psalm 51. David did. And he was restored.
PRAYER: We confess to you that there is nothing good within us, nothing to commend us to you, nothing to cause you to look with favor on us. We are sinful and desperately in need of your forgiveness. Please grant us your forgiveness, cleanse us with hyssop, and we will once again be clean and whiter than snow. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.