Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51 is David’s great psalm of confession after committing adultery with Bathsheba and arranging the murder of her husband (see 2 Samuel 11-12). It’s a model psalm showing us how to confess our own sins to God. Its cries for mercy, honest acknowledgement of sin, and statements of renewed commitment to God are great examples for us to use in our own prayers.
Where did David find hope as he confessed? He wrote, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Hyssop was a small, brush-like plant in Israel. It’s mentioned in connection with the Passover; the Israelites used it to spread blood on the doorframes of their homes (Exodus 12:21-22). Later it was used to sprinkle blood on the tabernacle to dedicate it to God and on people with skin diseases so that they would be cleansed. Hyssop, blood, cleansing, and forgiveness all go together in the Bible, and David’s plea to be cleansed with hyssop was like saying, “Wash me with blood, and I will be forgiven.”
The blood of Jesus is our hope of forgiveness. When we confess our sins and are washed in the blood of Jesus, we are made clean. No sin sticks to people who trust in Christ. Confess your sins and believe in him today.
Lord God, thank you that there is complete cleansing for us in the blood of Jesus. We confess our need for forgiveness, and we trust in the finished work of Christ. Amen.
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