Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and glad-ness …
Tamila, a woman from the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan, shared her pain and agony with us. She had had an abortion. Now she was going through tremendous emotional and spiritual anguish. She wrote that she couldn’t imagine God ever forgiving her.
As we honestly look at ourselves against the background of God’s righteousness, we sometimes feel like Tamila. Our sins might be different, but the pain can be just as intense.
Psalm 51 gives us guidance and hope when we struggle with our sinfulness. The psalmist turns to God with a prayer for forgiveness and restoration. In poetic language he asks the Lord to cleanse him with an herb used in ancient Israel after being healed of a “defiling skin disease” (Leviticus 14:2-4), such as leprosy. And the psalmist is not simply wishful in his request. He is assured that the merciful Lord will cleanse him so well that he will be “whiter than snow.”
Picture for a moment a fresh snowfall so bright that people have to wear sunglasses. God is able to make even the darkest pages of our lives much brighter than that snow—if we genuinely repent and ask for forgiveness in Jesus’ name.
God forgives us; he cancels the debt of our sin. He restores our relationship with him and graciously grants us the inner peace and joy of his salvation.
Father, cleanse us of all our sins. Create in us a pure heart. Let us be glad and rejoice in your salvation. In Je-sus, Amen.
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