You know that yucky feeling you have after a hard workout, or an afternoon of yard work out in the heat and dust. Your body is sticky and stinky with sweat and all you want is to feel clean again. You head straight for the bath or shower and turn the water on, grab your favorite soap and lather up to remove the dirt and sweat left by the day’s efforts. Ahh…… clean again.
There’s been a surge in recent years in the homemade soap industry. Many interesting scents and colors are available from local artisans or you can make your own. Here’s a link to an article entitled 10 Amazing Homemade Soap Recipes if you’d like to try your hand at making soap.
Psalm 51:7 NIV
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Astounding how so much significance can be packed into such a small sentence. To truly understand this verse, you need to read the entire psalm and 2 Samuel chapters 11 & 12.
Note that David says to wash me with hyssop. Hyssop is an ancient Mediterranean plant that was used to make soap, perfume, essential oils, and teas. The oil from the plant also has many medicinal uses including treatment of chronic cough, asthma, flu, and bronchitis. It is mentioned in several prominent locations in the Old Testament, specifically as the plant used to spread the lamb’s blood over the door post when the angel of death passed over the Hebrews in Exodus 12. It is also mentioned as an ingredient in “cleansing water” found in Numbers 19.
In an article entitled God’s Soap Recipe the author writes about the “cleansing water” in Numbers 19:
“At first glance, the water of purification sounds like a hodge-podge of superstitious potion-making that included the ashes of a red heifer, hyssop, cedar wood, and scarlet wool. But this formula was the farthest thing from a symbolic potion intended to “ward off evil spirits.” On the contrary, the recipe for the water of purification stands today as a wonderful example of God’s brilliance, since the recipe is nothing less than a procedure to produce an antibacterial soap.”
Back to the verse ……
King David committed a great sin; he had murdered a man in order to take the man’s wife. After he had committed the crime, he was truly convicted of his sin and all he wanted was to be clean ……….. spiritually clean. In other words, he knew by his foolish actions that he had damaged his relationship with God. He no longer felt close like he had before and wanted that closeness back.
How could he be restored? How could he be made clean again? Only by being washed……….
David was a prophet. He knew by God’s Spirit moving in him that there would someday be a method of fully removing all of the grime of sin. Permanently.
Psalm 51:10-12 NIV
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
David understood that God was the only one who could give him a new, pure, clean heart. Through his own efforts, he would never be able to wash and scrub hard and deep enough to remove the stains of guilt that he felt from his sins. That would require a special washing from God.
Titus 3:4-7 NIV
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Let’s make a pot of something hot and stimulating! Here’s to a fresh, clean heart!