Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hand Washing and Heart Cleansing



She was four decades my junior and, in many ways, just finding her way, but, for a brief time, we were prayer partners. We longed to see God move, to see Him change hearts and lives in tangible ways, so we agreed to meet before worship services and pray. 

I, who have spoken about prayer and fasting numerous times, expected to teach her about prayer. Instead, she taught me a very important lesson.

The first time we met, she washed her hands before we prayed.

Her hands had not become soiled between her house and the church. The hand washing had nothing to do with dirty hands. It was about a dirty heart. Her symbolic cleansing made sense to me. I washed my hands, too, and, as we washed, we asked God to cleanse our hearts.

It's a principle as old as the tabernacle. God instructed Moses to put the bronze laver, filled with water, between the tent of meeting and the altar. Moses, Aaron, and Aaron's sons were to wash their hands and their feet before they approached the altar as a symbol of man's need for cleansing before God.

Soap and water will never remove the stain of our sin, of course. Only the blood of Jesus can cleanse me of sin. I know that. 

The symbolic hand washing is a reminder that I go before God with no righteousness of my own. My life is stained by sin and only God can remove it. As I wash my hands, I ask Him to do just that. Cleanse and purify.

King David knew the power of God's cleansing. After his terrible debacle with Bathsheba, his sin haunted him night and day. That's what sin does. Its relentless clamor and accusations leave us exhausted and hopeless. 

David wanted peace, and he knew where to find it. He went before the Lord and begged for cleansing. 

"Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin..." 
Psalm 51:1 nasb

David knew what he wanted and he knew there was only one way to get it. God's cleansing and forgiveness.

Clean heart. Right spirit. 

When we allow God to cleanse us from our sin and wash us white as snow, we get a bonus of peace and joy.

Are we burden by the choices we've made? The sin in our lives? Do we desire peace? Allow God to create a clean heart, clean mind in us. When we do, we'll find that He has restored our joy as well.

"Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit." 
Psalm 51:12 nasb
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photo courtesy of freeimages.com

In case you missed one of the past week's posts, here are the links:  Leaving a Legacy: Choices That Last for GenerationsJumping to Conclusions: The Terrorists That Were NotNothing is Impossible: Ayman al-Zawahiri,  Morning Quiet Time: Who Speaks FirstChanging the World: What One Man (Or Woman) Can do, When Hard Times Come: Pressing On, and Friday Night with Friends: Sara Foust.

#chronologicalBible, cleansing #cleanheart #forgiveness #disciple #JesusChrist