August 06, 2015

Wash Your Hands

Psalm 24

Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart...

—  Psalm 24:3-4

In ancient times a bowl of ­water was placed at the entrance of the place of worship so that everyone who came to worship the Lord could wash their hands before coming inside. It offered everyone an opportunity to reflect about who God is in comparison to us, and to be reminded to humble oneself in God’s presence.

Psalm 24 asks, “Who is worthy to stand in the holy presence of God?” The answer: Only those who have “clean hands and a pure heart.” What does the psalmist mean by that?

Such people do not “trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” Being dishonest or deceitful is something God hates. Perhaps that’s because God knows how easily we can deceive ourselves about what we truly worship or about where we actually place our trust.

What dirty objects are we clasping in our hands, holding onto for dear life, as if they have the power to be our God?

Jesus knew the cleansing power of water. He showed his skill with a bowl of water and a towel as he washed his disciples’ dirty feet (John 13). Being willing to acknowledge the dirt on our hands and feet is the first step in becoming his disciples.

When was the last time you checked to see if your hands were clean?

“Clean hands and a pure heart,” Lord—that is what we pray for today. Your grace and love are the soap we need. Thank you. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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